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2 The Committee's Charge Over the past decade, U.S. embassy buildings throughout the world have increasingly become the target of terrorist acts, raising concerns about the safety of U.S. personnel and infor- mation abroad. In response to recent acts of violence, the U.S. Congress, by means of a supplemental appropriation, supported efforts launched by the State Department's Office of Foreign Build- ings Operations (FBO) to carry out an advanced physical and technical research program. The appropriation measure stated: The goal of this program is to design the model embassy that will meet security, operational and program requirements and will serve as the prototype for worldwide application. The emphasis will be on research and development that will establish a benchmark of minimum requirements which all future embassy designs will follow as well as setting forth criteria for site identification. To carry out this charge, the Assistant Secretary of State for Administration turned to the National Research CounciT's Build- ing Research Board (BRB). In an early planning meeting, he elab- orated on the State Department's need for a program that would involve a fundamental reconsideration of embassy design and con- struction, incorporating security requirements into all aspects of building design. Agreement was reached on the nature of this pro- gram, and FBO then requested, and subsequently contracted for, the advice and assistance of a BRB advisory committee. The BRB committee was to develop "a research and develop- ment program intended to . . . enable FBO to find the most e~ec- tive ways to assure that an embassy building and its immediate 11
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12 environment can support the performance of the post's represen- tational, operational en c! program functions in a secure manner." The contract that was drawn between the State Department and the National Research Council formalizes this charge and reads, in part: "The BRB committee will develop a research agenda to provide the knowledge base needed for design criteria, methods of testing, and prototype design for facilities that enable the Office of Foreign Buildings Operations to obtain an environment that will support the performance of program functions in a secure manner abroad." Although the original impetus for the committee's activities was terrorism and threats to the safety of Foreign Service person- nel, recent events have demonstrated that potential threats exist also to the vital information produced, handled, and stored within embassies. Consequently, the committee has included a wide range of potential security threats within its scope of concerns. Early in the course of its work, the committee concluded that it could best render advice and assistance to the State Department by providing recommendations for a new set of design guidelines, requirements, and criteria. The security implications of the fol- Towing elements of the building process were considered by the committee: selection of design professionals; building programming and space planning; site selection and site design; architectural and structural design; building service systems and fire safety design; and . building operation and maintenance. The design guidelines and criteria contained in this report and its appendixes are based on clearly defined performance objec- tives and on currently available scientific and technical knowledge. When adopted by FBO and integrated with its design criteria manuals, the committee believes these criteria and guidelines will, as requested by Congress, provide a basis for the development and evaluation of new embassy building prototypes. Such guidelines and criteria should also help to ensure that the prototypes will perform as intended but will remain open to the potential for design innovation.
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13 The committee interpreted its charge to include nearly all aspects of the security offuture U.S. embassy buildings.* It did not interpret its charge as including recommendations on the present or future composition of a U.S. Foreign Service mission; that is, which agencies of what size and function should or shouict not be housed in FBO-constructed facilities. The committee assumes that such determinations are a product of U.S. government policy and that all functions and personnel under the chief of mission will be considered equally from a security standpoint. Cost implications of the committee's recommendations have been addressed only in general terms, in part because accurate, reliable cost estunation data for building security are limited. In addition, some of the recommendations that have been developed represent new and innovative approaches for which costs may be difficult to estimate. The committee believes that the State Department ~ in the best position to make cost determinations and that methods can be devised to resolve the estimation problems noted above. Midway in the committee's work, in June 1985, the report of the Secretary of State's Advisory Pane! on Overseas Security was issued. (The pane} was chaired by Admiral Bobby R. Unman, USN [Ret.], and is hereinafter referred to as the Inman Panel.) The Inman Pane! recommended that a substantial building pro- gra~n be undertaken to Correct the security deficiencies of office buildings of the Department of State and the other foreign affairs agencies abroad. It also identified a total of 126 buildings that it considered to be in need of major security upgrading or total replacement. The urgency of these recommendations has moved the scope of the committee's work from the embassy of the dis- tant future to the embassy of the immediate future. In addition, the size of the building program proposed by the Inman Panel has led the committee, at the request of the State Department, to make organizational and procedural recommendations to help ensure that its other reconunendations can be Implemented in a la~g~scale special program, as well as in FBO's annual capital program. * For the purposes of its work and for this report, the committee's definition of cmbasey biding includes chanceries, consulates, and all other buildings (excluding residences) constructed by FBO or for which the State Department is responsible, regardless of the affiliation of the tenant. The term also includes the land on which these facilities are located and any factors or features external to the land or property that bear on the secure performance of the embassy's business.