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4 Forces that Will Shape Embassies of the Future During its studies, the committee identified several distinct factors that it believes will increasingly influence the physical set- tings within which the diplomatic, consular, and other public busi- ness of the United States abroad is conducted. All of the influences noted below (and cliscussed ~ more detail later in this chapter) are already being felt at State Department posts throughout the world: . the concentration and colocation of user agencies within embassy buildings and compounds; ~ the changing nature of the Foreign Service and the prolif- eration of classified and unclassified electronic information man- agement systems; ~ the growth in the scope and seriousness of terrorism, espi- onage, and sabotage; and ~ the need for appropriate architectural expressions of the U.S. government presence abroad. Despite an awareness of these factors, currently there is no unified view of or statement about the broader embassy design and construction context, of which the need for enhanced secu- rity forms only a part. Future embassy buildings must fit into this context, but although periodic updates and memoranda have been issued over the past year, the committee found little evidence of a formal reconsideration of design and construction context is- sues. In fact, the basic design guidelines and criteria now used by the Office of Foreign Buildings Operations (FBO) to instruct architects and engineers remain essentially unchanged from those 21
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22 in use eight years ago.* And these criteria and guidelines are of- ten deficient and unresponsive to technical developments in many areas of building design and construction, whether directly related to security or not. The State Department lacks and needs a clear, integrated, and well-coordinated sense of direction in response to the range of factors that wall shape its facilities in the future. There is not, to the committee's knowledge, a general statement about the requirements that future embassy buildings must satisfy. The need for a clear sense of direction in this area is particularly urgent in light of the large construction program that was recommended by the Inman Pane! and that is now being implemented by the (lepartment.t The conclusion that a clear sense of direction is lacking in the State Department's building efforts is further reinforced by an examination of the programs currently under way to upgrade various physical facilities within existing embassies, incorporate new equipment, and afford enhanced physical security. For ex- ample, there is a vigorous program within the State Department that is directed toward the unplementation of new generations of automated office equipment and electronic information handling systems; this effort is taking place, however, without sufficient re- gard for the ways in which buildings themselves could be altered to accommodate and ease the transition to such systems. Similarly, intensive efforts are being made to upgrade physical and electronic security but, understandably, without sufficient consideration of the ways in which such unprovements might relate to, support, or impede future building functional needs. There can be no doubt that conscientious efforts are being made by the State Department in these and other areas. It Is important and for to state, however, that such efforts to date are hugely ad hoc responses to the urgency of current situations and as such lack the coordinated guidance recommended above.t ~ Note added by the committee in September 1986: should read afour years agO.n ~ Note added by the committee to report in September 1986: In its final meeting of September 18, 1986, the committee recognized that substantial progress had been made in this area by the State Department.
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23 The work of this committee, although directed principally toward questions of security, has afforded it an opportunity to con- sider the broader context within which security must be provided and to develop a description of those factors that will combine to influence the shape of embassies of the future. These descriptions are presented in the sections that follow. Articulating the nature of these influences and considering how they relate to one another should, in turn, help to establish more coherent attitudes about the nature of the State Department's future buildings. By serving as the basis for a new set of security-conscious building design criteria, an understanding of these forces should help to ensure that future embassy buildings are responsive to new influences by design, rather than by coincidence or by change. TTIE CONCENTRATION AND COLOCATION OF USER AGENCIES WITHIN T H id' EMBASSY ~ CO~O~ For a variety of reasons and not least because of increasing threats worldwide to the security of official Americans abroad- there is increasing interest among government agencies that op- erate overseas in being physically a part of the embassy chancery or compound. There is a general sense that U.S. citizens working abroad on behalf of the federal government will be safer from the consequences of mob violence, terrorist attack, and other poten- tially harrnfu} events by being within the protective umbrella of the embassy compound. Some of these agencies have traditionally sought to be in loca- tions and facilities that were Extinct from consular and diplomatic buildings and sites, in part because they saw such separations as beneficial to the accomplishment of their missions. Today, how- ever, and for the foreseeable future, it is likely that pressures will mount on foreign sites and buildings operated by the State De- partment to house an ever greater number of diverse official U.S. functions, both sensitive and nonsensitive. As one consequence of these circumstances, there is likely to be a general increase in the size of the overseas facilities that fall under the State Depart- ment's stewardship. In Chapter 7, this report addresses changes that are needed in the means by which space requirements for new construction are developed and kept current.
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24 Moreover, because of the increase in the number of agencies housed on the embassy compound, it Is likely that there will also be an increase in the number of casual and scheduled visitors to embassy buildings. Many of these visitors will simply be requesting information or participating In recreational or public events and will not be conducting official business. (This is, in fact, already the case at many posts; a wide variety of informational and other essentially nondiplomatic functions are found at both large and small facilities.) These added burdens will continue to complicate and intensify the security challenges facing the State Department, especially if it assumes widened responsibility for the security of other official and nonofficial U.S. citizens overseas. Although some committee members have expressed concern over the possible negative security consequences of the apparent growth of the U.S. government presence abroad, this committee does not believe itself in a position to do more than note that the trend of such growth over the past decade seems destined to continue for the foreseeable future and that it will place ever greater demands on State Department buildings and grounds. Future facility plans should be developed with the expectation that they will need to accommodate more non-State Department user agencies and personnel, many of which will bring increased unofficial traffic into the area if only by increasing the size of the · · - mission community. In Chapter 6, this report recommends changes in the ap- proaches taken in planning the physical relationships among the various activities and functions that are likely to be a part of future embassy compounds. Although this committee did not consider in depth the possibility of including housing for Foreign Service personnel and dependents on future compounds, circumstances may dictate serious consideration by the State Department of in- cluding such housing wherever possible. The same Is likely to be true with respect to housing provided for Marine Security Guard detachments. Tli~ PROLIFERATION OF ELECTRONIC INFORMATION MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS Consistent with developments in practically ad aspects of gov- ernment, business, acadern~c, and professional life, the Foreign Ser- vice and the whole foreign policy apparatus of the United States
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25 is relying increasingly on electronic system for storage, analysis, and communication of all sorts of information and data. Analysts for economic, political, commercial, agricultural, military, and other affairs who operate within the embassy en- vironment already are beginning to rely on these systems and will continue to do so at a rapidly increasing pace. And the curric- ula being followed in universities by persons entering these fields are increasingly concerned with computer-based data processing. Aggressive programs are already in place within the State Depart- ment to provide suitable field opportunities for these individuals, and the Department is rapidly coming to depend on its telecom- munications capabilities to reach into the remotest regions of the world. In addition, the clerical and administrative aspects of the Foreign Service and overseas State Department operations, from personnel and budget management to consular affairs and word processing, involve the use of electronic equipment and systems that place new demands on and pose new security challenges for embassy buildings. Embassy buildings, then, share a common requirement with other types of buildings being constructed today: They are ex- pected to provide an infrastructure suitable for the support of currently available and rapidly changing automated office and telecommunications systems (as well as some that are on the near horizon). Thus, embassy buildings must be designed to accommo- date complicated and frequently changing networks of wires and cables to service work stations and other data processing facilities. In short, embassies must follow the already established pattern for what have been caned "intelligent" or "smart" buildings, which provide the means to accommodate expanding electronic require- ments. THE GROWTlI IN INCIDENTS OF TERRORISM, ESPIONAGE, AND SABOTAGE A significant portion of the committee's efforts has been di- rected toward identifying and understanding the dimensions of threats from terrorism, espionage, sabotage, and other sources of hostility in terms of their effects on buildings. The committee has not sought, nor have others tried on its behalf, to identify specific locations, times, or types of threats, or to engage the committee in activities that are properly within the domains of
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26 the intelligence community and law enforcement agencies. Yet the committee has had access to such information, both classified ant] unclassified, and to analytical material related to past incidents directed against the United States and allied interests. Its findings and recommendations, therefore, have been based on and reflect the seriousness of these data. Threats to the security of official U.S. personnel and infor- mation have increased. IN no area of the world are the interests of the United States and the safety of its citizens immune from the threats of terrorism, espionage, and other hostile acts. Every indication suggests that these threats will continue and probably increase and intensify in the years ahead. It is certain also that official U.S. government policy, developed at the highest levels, ~ committed to reducing as much as possible the threat of harm from terrorism and mob action to U.S. citizens abroad, and to minimizing the consequences of such attacks that do happen. Indeed, the charge to this committee grows directly out of this commitment. There is no question that the design of future U.S. embassy buildings wall be affected by both perceived and actual terrorist threats. Yet, granting and even underscoring the importance of taking such steps as are possible to prevent a recurrence of the tragic events at State Department posts in the 1970s and 1980s, three statements of fundamental importance must be made: 1. Diplomatic relations rest on the premise that the ultimate responsibility for the safety and well-being of Foreign Service per- sonne} lies with the host country and its military and law enforce- ment agencies. In the event of a breakdown of the host country's willingness or ability to adore such protection, the most that can be expected of a building and of the security personnel assigned to protect it is some delay in the capture of occupants and, therefore, more time to effect a resolution of the hostilities or, in the extreme case, rescue or evacuation. 2. Buildings that are designed for the conduct of official busi- ness and for the representation and support of the United States abroad are not and cannot be perceived as fortresses. Although they should afford as much protection from hostile attack as Is reasonably possible, they must still fulfill the basic functional and symbolic purposes for which they are intended. This entails ar- chitectural excellence and a measure of openness that cannot be
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27 compromised without a consequent loss in character and the pro- jection of an undesirable unage. 3. Terrorism is a dynamic phenomenon, and the means em- ployed by determined adversaries wall continue to shift and escalate in response to obstacles, resources, opportunities, and motives. No security provisions or systems and, especially as related to this re- port, no building can be expected to thwart every kind of attack. The most that can be expected is that aD reasonable steps will be taken to provide measures to counter and delay known and reasonably anticipated threats. Using historical records and other resources placed at its dis- posal, this committee has identified and detailed the characteristics of a broad spectrum of both known and potential security threats. Because embassies and the personnel charged with their protec- tion must respond to these threats (and probably to many that have yet to be identified), these characterizations have served as the basis for the committee's recommendations on security-related design criteria for future U.S. embassy buildings. APPROPRIATE ARCHITECTURAL EXPRESSIONS OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT PRESENCE ABROAD It is and wiD remain ~rnperative that embassy buildings play a major role in conveying to others an appropriate impression and image of the United States. The embassy assumes this importance because it is the first and at times the only official contact that foreign nationals have with the United States. In the past, U.S. architects and engineers have produced sev- eral generations of distinguished architecture in the nation's official buildings abroad. In the main these buildings have been consistent with the principles that the United States, as a leading democracy and global power, should express in the world. Reflecting these concerns, the FBO has had, since 1954, a written statement of its design philosophy, which reads In its entirety as follows: Facilities shall be provided in an architectural form represen- tative of the United States, expressing such qualities as dignity, strength, and neighborly sympathy. These facilities should create good will because of their excellent architectural design, and their appropriateness to the site and country. Designs must adhere to established construction practice and require maximum utilization of United States materials, methods and equipment of proven de- pendability. Designs should also describe buildings economical to
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28 construct, operate and maintain. Maximum consideration must be given to including in the buildings features providing for the greatest possible protection and safety for the people using the buildings. As evidenced by this statement, FBO places strong emphasis on the aesthetic aspects of embassy buildings. And In the past, such a design emphasis was reasonable. Aesthetic considerations in many instances were permitted to preempt security concerns in a world in which the U.S. presence abroad was seldom threat- ened or challenged. But the recent growth of anti-U.S. terrorism must cause the State Department to reevaluate its position. To its commitment to produce buildings of aesthetic excellence and appropriate design must be addled a recognition of the need for in- creased security requirements for new and existing embassy build- ings. The committee supports the State Department's broadened areas of emphasis and concurs with its expressed determination to balance aesthetic excellence tenth increased security for embassy personnel, facilities, and information.
Representative terms from entire chapter: