Congress appropriates foreign assistance funding in support of diverse U.S. policy objectives around the world, including security, public health, democracy and governance, humanitarian relief, and nonproliferation, among others. In FY 2015, Congress appropriated $32.6 billion in foreign assistance funds for the Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). In addition to the foreign assistance funds they manage, the Department and USAID can also transfer funding to other Federal agencies to implement programs on their behalf.1 The Department of Defense, Department of Justice, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are the primary recipients of such transferred funds from the Department. For the foreign assistance funds directly managed by the Department’s bureaus and offices, annual outlays increased from approximately $2.43 billion in FY 1998 to $4.70 billion in FY 2015—a 93 percent increase.2 The number of Department bureaus and offices responsible for managing foreign assistance resources increased from 15 to 22.
The Department cannot obtain timely and accurate data necessary to provide central oversight of foreign assistance activities and meet statutory and regulatory reporting requirements.4 For example, the Department cannot readily analyze its foreign assistance by country or programmatic sector or determine what particular funds remain unspent. This lack of data hinders Department leadership from strategically managing foreign assistance resources, identifying whether programs are achieving their objectives, and determining how well bureaus and offices implement foreign assistance programs.