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The International Cooperative Administrative Support Services (ICASS) system is the principal means by which the U.S. Government provides and shares the cost of common administrative support at its more than 200 diplomatic and consular posts overseas.  In the spirit of the Government Performance and Results Act, the ICASS system seeks to provide quality services at the lowest cost, while attempting to ensure that each agency bears the cost of its presence overseas.  ICASS, through which more than 300 billing entities obtained support services valued at more than $2 billion in Fiscal Year 2011, is a break-even system; the charge to the customer agencies equals the cost of service inputs. 

The ICASS system is comprised of players at post and in Washington that work together to make available a full range of administrative services.  These services include motor pool operations and vehicle maintenance, travel services, reproduction services, mail and messenger services, information management, reception and telephone system services, purchasing and contracting, personnel management, cashiering, vouchering, accounting, budget preparation, non-residential security guard services, and building operations.

For more information concerning ICASS principles, players and services, please see "What is ICASS?".

ICASS Players

ICASS Players at Post

The ICASS system is established at post under the authority of the Chief of Mission.  The Chief of Mission is responsible for ensuring that the post has a functioning ICASS Council and that the relationship between the Council and service provider(s) is constructive such that ICASS services are delivered fairly and effectively.  In the event that an ICASS Council cannot resolve a dispute with the service provider or between agencies on the Council, the Chief of Mission must make a ruling to resolve the dispute.

The post ICASS Council is comprised of cabinet level and independent agency representatives, mirroring the representation on the ICASS Executive Board (IEB).  The Council focuses on broad issues of resources and performance, including setting shared service priorities, selecting service providers, approving the post’s ICASS budget, approving new ICASS support positions and annually assessing the performance of all service providers at post.  Each post has a standing Budget Committee (BC) comprised of individual agencies and departments with separate appropriations.  The BC develops service standards collaboratively with the service provider, reviews and approves workload count modification requests, and reviews and recommends budget approval to the Council.  Some post ICASS Councils establish ad hoc Working Groups to research specific ICASS issues and develop proposals for improving ICASS services.

The service provider is responsible for delivering services in accordance with the MOU.  There may be different service providers for different ICASS services at post, and a service provider need not be an agency of the U.S. Government.  As of the ninth year of full ICASS operations, however, the Department of State, with over 22,000 ICASS employees overseas, remains the principal, and most often only, service provider at our diplomatic and consular posts around the world.  The head of a U.S. Government service provider – the Management Counselor, in the case of the Department of State – sits on the ICASS Council as an ex-officio member.  The post’s Deputy Chief of Mission, the Ambassador’s alter ego, also sits on the Council as a non-voting member.

ICASS Players in Washington

ICASS is a system for delivering shared services at overseas posts.  It is supported in Washington by the ICASS Executive Board, composed of fifteen senior representatives of cabinet level agencies and chaired by the Assistant Secretary of State for Administration.  The Board, which meets four times a year, is the highest level policy making body in the ICASS system and the final court of appeals for ICASS disputes.

The Washington-based ICASS Working Group, which reports to the Board, is composed of representatives of any U.S. Government agency or program that receives its own ICASS invoice.  The Working Group meets monthly to address ICASS policies and practices, and its meetings are open to members and non-members.

The ICASS Service Center serves as the Secretariat to both the ICASS Executive Board and the ICASS Working Group.  An interagency staffed and funded office within the Department of State’s Bureau of Resource Management, the Center works with many other offices throughout the Department of State and other participating agencies to facilitate the effective operation of the ICASS system.  With a staff of eighteen fulltime employees, it coordinates the ICASS budget and allotments process and develops and maintains the software on which the ICASS budget and cost distribution system is based.  It also provides policy guidance, practical information, orientation materials and technical advice to those operating ICASS programs overseas, and runs a training program for overseas posts.


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