Reviewing Diplomatic Readiness

Gaps in Staffing, Experience and Languages

The Senate Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia conducted a hearing last week on “A Review of U.S. Diplomatic Readiness: Addressing the Staffing and Foreign Language Challenges Facing the Foreign Service” (Thursday, September 24, 2009 | 02:30 PM | Dirksen Senate Office Building, room 342).

[view archive webcast]

This hearing addressed critical issues affecting diplomatic readiness; specifically foreign service officer (FSO) language capabilities and hardship post assignments. These issues have been highlighted by two U.S. Government Accountability Office reports requested by this Subcommittee (see links to reports below).

Member Statements


Panel 1

  • Ambassador Nancy J. Powell [view testimony]
    Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources
    U.S. Department of State

  • Mr. Jess T. Ford [view testimony]
    Director, International Affairs and Trade
    U.S. Government Accountability Office

Panel 2

  • Thomas D. Boyatt, President of the Foreign Affairs Council
    Delivered by Ambassador Ronald E. Neumann, (Ret.)
    [view testimony]
    American Academy of Diplomacy

  • Ms. Susan R. Johnson [view testimony]
    American Foreign Service Association

Related Items:

Department of State: Additional Steps Needed to Address Continuing Staffing and Experience Gaps at Hardship Posts | GAO-09-874 September 17, 2009

Department of State: Comprehensive Plan Needed to Address Persistent Foreign Language Shortfalls | GAO-09-955 September 17, 2009