“Forging a 21st-Century Diplomatic Service for the United States through Professional Education and Training”
Forging a 21st-Century Diplomatic Service for the United States through Professional Education and Training
US foreign policy interests face an unparalleled set of political, economic, strategic, and cultural challenges. Since at least 2001, America’s “smart power” equation has been out of balance. Increasingly, under-investment in diplomacy and development has led to the US military taking on responsibilities traditionally met by diplomats and development experts. That under-investment has left the US Foreign Service overstretched and under prepared.
This report puts into stark relief the urgent need to prepare and sustain a corps of American diplomatic professionals that is intellectually and operationally ready to lead in the new environment. The core of the study consists of eight succinct, specific recommendations. They focus on the need to redress America’s chronic under-investment in diplomacy, the need to strengthen and expand the State Department’s professional development process, and – perhaps most crucial – the requirement that as necessary resources are phased in, every U.S. Foreign Service Officer must complete a year of advanced study relevant to his or her career track as a condition for promotion to senior diplomatic ranks.
A previous study by the Academy and Stimson Center, A Foreign Affairs Budget for the Future: Fixing the Crisis in Diplomatic Readiness (2008), documented the numbers of personnel needed by State and USAID. Filling that need remains half-done and progress must be sustained.
This project was ably led by Ambassador (ret.) Robert M. Beecroft, Academy Chairman Ambassador (ret.) Thomas R. Pickering, Academy President Ambassador (ret.) Ronald E. Neumann, President and CEO of Stimson Center Ellen Laipson, and Red Team Leader Ambassador (ret.) Edward Rowell. Mr. Jeremy Curtin led the drafting/Stimson team with assistance from Mr. Jonathan Larkin, Mr. Harry Kopp, Ms. Laura Hall, Ms. Stephanie Kinney, and Ms. Elizabeth Burrell.
The Advisory Group of the “Forging a 21st Century Diplomatic Service for the United States through Professional Education and Training” Project was created to provide conceptual guidance to the drafting of the report, to set the tone and objectives of the study, and draw from the considerable experience of the group’s members to guide the project and research team at the Henry L. Stimson Center.
See a list of Advisory Group Members.
The Red Team of the “Forging a 21st Century Diplomatic Service for the United States through Professional Education and Training” Project was created to critique the assumptions underlying the methodology of the report, and thereby strengthen the study through a rigorous process of evaluation and feedback.
See a list of Red Team participants.
The Academy would like to thank the American Foreign Service Association, the Delavan Foundation and the Una Chapman Cox Foundation, whose contributions made this project possible.