WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a new report requested by Senators Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI) and George V. Voinovich (R-OH) reviewing the State Department’s restructuring of its Nonproliferation, Arms Control, and Verification and Compliance bureaus.  GAO found that the State Department was unable to show that the restructuring met the Department’s objectives to increase focus on emerging challenges, decrease bureaucratic inefficiencies, reduce top heavy management, and eliminate overlap among the bureaus.  The report also found that the State Department failed to address, or only partially addressed, seven of the eight key practices GAO has identified as key to successful mergers and transformations. 

“I am pleased that the State Department has agreed to incorporate GAO’s latest recommendations into its standard procedures,” said Senator Akaka.  “We cannot expect the bureaus focused on the important areas of arms control and nonproliferation to function effectively and efficiently if their roles and responsibilities are unclear.  Following established best practices for reorganizations would also reduce the chances of damaging employees’ trust and reducing productivity.  This report should be required reading for federal departments and agencies considering reorganizations.” 

GAO made the following recommendations to the Secretary of State:

  • To clarify the roles and responsibilities of the two new bureaus created in the 2005-2006 restructuring; and
  • Direct that key transformation practices and processes should be incorporated into subsequent bureau reorganizations.

The State Department agreed with these recommendations.

The report is entitled “State Department:  Key Transformation Practices Could Have Helped In Restructuring Arms Control and Nonproliferation Bureaus” (GAO-09-738).  It is posted at: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d09738.pdf.

Senators Akaka and Voinovich are the Chairman and Ranking Member, respectively, of the Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia, in the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.  This subcommittee has responsibility for oversight of national security staffing and government management.