The Foreign Office front office has had some success over the past decade in advising the company on domestic and international scientific and technical issues. But it was very effective due to the constant turnover at every level and the lack of a firm strategy for the office.
Established in 2000, the Office of Scientific and Technical Advisor, or STAS, established the position of Scientific and Technical Advisor, or S&D Advisor, to the Secretary, who would provide guidance, context, and leadership to the Secretary. According to the agency’s Inspector General of Audits, “on policy implications of foreign policy on science, technology and research and development issues”.
Although the advisory is designed to provide the highest level of advice to State Department leadership, the office reports to the Under Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Environmental Development.
The Office’s Internal Strategic Document states two objectives for the project:
To develop the internal potential of the scientific community by harnessing the scientific and technical potential of the foreign sector.
Overall, the S&D advisor has become an asset to the state, filing reports to develop implementation plans and there’s continued business hindering those efforts.
OIG has found that STAS plays a key role in advancing the scientific and technological agenda of the US government through diplomatic engagement on a wide range of complex, rapidly changing issues, including AI, next-generation telecommunications, biotechnology and international data standards. Is. In particular, department officials praised the work of the S&T consultant, which works to improve AI policy coordination, including holding weekly AI small group meetings and defining responsibilities. Other operating offices. ”
The report highlights a number of significant successes, including “advancing US candidacy as the new host of the World Data Organization’s Office of International Programs” in conjunction with a number of federal and international initiatives.
But those efforts were not made within the scope of the implementation plan, without which the office could not accurately measure its effectiveness.
the report said. . “The lack of a framework for performance appraisal and analysis due to the frequent use of STAS staff [operational bureaucratic strategy] reduced the ability of STAS to monitor and regulate its core programs to advance the work of the science and technology sector.” have make.”
In the absence of a robust plan, it is difficult for the office to collaborate with other state programs such as the already established regional environment, science, technology and health officer programs.
Turnover is an important issue for a nine-year office.
“At the time of the investigation, only two STAS employees were in STAS for more than 18 months, and three out of nine STAS employees left office in February 2021,” the report said.
“The OIG reviewed the STAS leadership… However, the OIG’s assessment was limited as office leadership vacancies were not filled or returned during the inspection,” the report said.
The former S&D consultant had stepped down in December 2020 before the IG review began. Then, two months later, while serving in the role of deputy advisor, the officer left, leaving the newly appointed representative in an acting capacity.
“OIG has found that this type of leadership change is not unusual for STAS – this office has been led by four S&T consultants or active S&T consultants in the past four years – and poses leadership challenges, IG wrote. STAS include vague management roles and the lack of a fully implemented peer-to-peer employment opportunity plan for the office. ”
A lack of firm leadership infiltrated other organizations, including a lack of clarity about management roles.
The office has no primary employee duty, i.e. a representative of the contracting officer, to manage the acquisition.
IG made five recommendations to improve the program:
The office should communicate with employees by developing a plan to implement its operational bureaucratic strategy in line with departmental standards.
Creation, implementation and training of staff in coordination and approval processes in accordance with office guidelines.
The Office, in coordination with oceans and international environmental and scientific affairs, develops mechanisms that describe and change the roles and responsibilities of regional technical authorities and regional environmental, scientific, technical and health authorities. Of the department
The Office, in coordination with the Under Secretary of State for Economic Development, Energy and Environment and the Under Secretary of State for Management and Resources, will submit a report on policy areas of responsibility. With departmental quality.
This office must appoint a qualified contracting officer representative to the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Jefferson Science Fellowship.
Democrat lawmakers and the White House have agreed that federal public servants should receive an average 2.7% pay increase by 2022, but the plan is currently far from finalized.
In May, President Biden added an average wage increase of 2.7% for civilians and military service members as part of his fiscal plan for 2022. Despite calls from federal committee staff and some Democrats to donate more genes