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Criteria for Selecting New Members

The Academy’s mission is to support and strengthen U.S. diplomacy and enhance public appreciation of its critical role in national security through the involvement of persons who have served in relevant positions of major responsibility.


In keeping with this goal, the following criteria should be applied when considering candidates for membership:

Demonstrated distinguished accomplishments as a practitioner in senior diplomatic or other national security assignments, including at least one assignment at ambassadorial level and/or in senior domestic foreign affairs positions of equivalent responsibility and impact;

Established leader who models the highest standards of integrity and professionalism;

Diversity of professional backgrounds, race and gender, and career and non-career experience;

Demonstrated continuing interest in foreign affairs and in enhancing the quality of American diplomacy and appreciation for its role in national security; and

Confirmed interest in contributing to the mission of the Academy.

​Categories of Potential Members

  1. All former secretaries of state shall be offered honorary membership. The other categories below should be considered for regular membership;

  2.  Former deputy secretaries and undersecretaries of State, USAID administrators, USAID deputy and assistant administrators, assistant secretaries of state and assistant secretary-equivalent positions such as director general of the Foreign Service or director of policy planning.

  3.  Former ambassadors and other individuals who have held domestic positions of comparable levels of national security and foreign policy responsibility in the U.S. government (such as Deputy Assistant Secretary or above).

  4. Former secretaries of Cabinet departments and other agencies substantially involved in foreign affairs, and their deputies and assistant secretaries or equivalents, directors and deputy directors of National Intelligence, the CIA, and NSA, and assistants to the president for national security affairs (national security adviser), as well as senior directors at the National Security Council.

  5. Former combatant commanders (COCOMs), chairs and vice-chairs of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Chief of Staff and Vice Chief of Staff for the Army.

  6. Former chairs and ranking minority members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, as well as the Senate or House State and Foreign Ops Appropriations Subcommittees.

  7. Other exceptionally qualified persons who have held positions of national distinction or made extraordinary contributions to the field of American diplomacy.


No one serving in the US Government is eligible for active membership.

The current Membership Citeria have been updated on March 7, 2024.

To access previous criteria for selecting new members of the Academy, please click here. 

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