Legislation Aims to Streamline State Department Operations, Improve Embassy Security
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.), the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today applauded unanimous committee passage of the Fiscal Year 2016 Department of State Operations Authorization and Embassy Security Act.
The legislation initiates various reforms to diplomacy programs and core operations of the State Department. The bill also includes embassy security provisions to improve protection of U.S. diplomatic facilities and foreign service personnel. It has been five years since the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed a State Department Authorization bill and 13 years since one was enacted into law.
“Our committee has a responsibility to ensure limited federal resources for the State Department are used in a cost-effective manner to advance U.S. interests,” said Corker. “This effort takes a modest but important step toward reestablishing oversight of the State Department through an annual authorization, which hasn’t been enacted into law since 2002. In addition to prioritizing security upgrades for U.S. personnel at high threat posts, the legislation lays the groundwork to streamline State Department operations and make them more effective.”
"Diplomacy costs a fraction of the cost of military action but pays incredible dividends in peace and stability. This State Department authorization bill demonstrates that bipartisan cooperation does exist to support U.S. diplomats in their missions at home and overseas, working on behalf of the American people,” said Cardin. “State Department officers are the front lines of American diplomacy and increasingly serve in places of international conflict. Their responsibilities are immense, their burdens great, and they deserve our unwavering support. The State Department is facing a wide range of unprecedented challenges overseas. We in the Senate must fulfill our responsibilities and today’s vote is an important step in that direction. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has demonstrated that it can pass a State Authorization bill in a true spirit of compromise.”
Senators Corker and Cardin are offering the State Department Authorization bill as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which currently is on the Senate floor.