The Government Accountability Office released a report in July of this year detailing the need for common alignment of world regions among certain U.S. federal agencies. The report, GAO-11-776R, came as a response to Section 1055 of the Ike Skelton National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011, which required an assessment of the need for common alignment of world regions in federal departments and agencies with international responsibilities, including the Department of Commerce, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, the Department of State, the Department of the Treasury, the United States Agency for International Development, and agencies within the intelligence community.
GAO-11-776R had three objectives: (1) to describe how federal departments and agencies are geographically organized to address their international responsibilities, whether they share a common geographic alignment, and their rationales for their alignments; (2) examine the agencies’ views on the advantages and disadvantages of a common geographic alignment, and whether there are obstacles to implementing a common alignment; and (3) assess challenges, if any, to interagency collaboration, including those related to different geographic alignments, and measures agencies have taken to overcome those challenges.
GAO-11-776R, suggests that while some departments and agencies (Commerce and Treasury, for example) primarily deal with domestic issues, common alignment of world regions better enables the departments and agencies (like State, DoD, USAID, and certain intelligence agencies) to address their international responsibilities. The report also states that common alignment of world regions is essential for the U.S. to carry out complex national security initiatives, such as combating illicit funding of terrorist activities and countering piracy off the Horn of Africa, and would enable agencies to develop strategies, share information, and meet common goals.
To learn more about GAO-11-776R, please follow the link below.
GAO-11-776R, Interagency Collaboration: Implications of a Common Alignment of World Regions among Select Federal Agencies