Ambassador Chas W. Freeman, Jr. (USFS, Ret.)
Senior Fellow, Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island, 17 April 2018
This is the third and last of three connected lectures on diplomatic doctrine. The series was preceded by an introductory presentation. This lecture deals with diplomacy as risk management. The first lecture described diplomacy as strategy; the second as tactics.
At its most basic level, diplomacy is the management of foreign relations to reduce risk to the nation while promoting its interests abroad. In this task, diplomacy’s success is measured more by what it precludes than by what it achieves. One can never prove that what didn’t happen would have happened if one had not done this or that. But, for the most part in foreign affairs, the fewer the surprises and the less the stress, the better.
The ideal outcome of diplomacy is the assurance of a life for the nation that is as tranquil and boring as residence in the suburbs. And, like suburban life, in its day-to-day manifestation, diplomacy involves harvesting flowers when they bloom and fruits and berries when they ripen, while laboring to keep the house presentable, the weeds down, the vermin under control, and the predators and vagrants off the property. If one neglects these tasks, one is criticized by those closest, regarded as fair prey by those at greater remove, and not taken seriously by much of anyone.
Viewed this way, the fundamental purpose of U.S. foreign policy is the maintenance of a peaceful international environment that leaves Americans free to enjoy the prosperity, justice, and civil liberties that enable our pursuit of happiness. This agenda motivated the multilateral systems of governance the United States created and relied upon after World War II – the Pax Americana. Secretary of Defense Mattis has called this “the greatest gift of the greatest generation.” Institutions like the United Nations. its specialized agencies, like the International Monetary Fund and the World Health Organization, and related organizations like the World Trade Organization sought to regulate specific aspects of international behavior, manage the global commons, provide frameworks for the resolution of international disputes, and organize collective responses to problems.
In the aggregate, these offspring of U.S. diplomacy established and sustained widely accepted norms of behavior for many decades. International law drew on consensus to express these norms as rules. To the extent they were accepted internationally, these rules constrained state actions that could damage the common interests of the society of nations the rules had brought into being. Despite its uneven performance, the Pax Americana assured a relatively high degree of predictability in world affairs that facilitated peaceful international interactions. It did so on the same philosophical basis as the rule of law in domestic affairs – a belief that rules matter and that process legitimizes outcomes rather than the other way around.
Today, that philosophy and its ethical foundations are under attack both at home and abroad. For the time being, at least, Washington has set aside the rule-bound international order and the market-driven economic interactions it enabled. The United States is discarding the multilateral strategic framework that it built to restrain the behavior of lesser states in the last half of the 20th century. In its place, the Trump administration is experimenting with neo-mercantilist theories that seem to have been crowd-sourced to right-wing talk radio. Washington seeks to maximize U.S. leverage over trading partners by dealing with them only on a bilateral basis. Trade and investment are increasingly government-managed and hence politicized rather than freely contracted between private buyers and sellers. So far, it must be said, bird-brained bilateralism is proving no substitute for the complex regulatory regimes it is replacing and the supply chains it is disrupting.
With the fading of previously agreed codes of conduct and the principle of PACTA SUNT SERVANDA [“agreements must be kept”], what could once be taken for granted in managing relations with other states must now be repetitiously renegotiated and affirmed bilaterally. But Washington has demoted diplomacy as a tool of American statecraft in favor of primary reliance on military and economic coercion. Escalating uncertainties are driving nations toward unrestrained unilateralism and disregard for international law. As this century began, the United States popularized contemptible practices like the assassination and abduction for questioning under torture of foreign opponents. A lengthening list of other countries – China, north Korea, Russia, and Turkey, to name a few – have now brazenly followed this bad example. More issues are being deferred as intractable, addressed ad hoc, or dealt with through the threat or use of force.
In this new world disorder, the need for diplomacy to tend fraying relationships is manifestly greater than ever. The Congress and public, as well as the U.S. military, sense this. They have resisted efforts by the Trump administration to slash budgets for peaceful international engagement by the U.S. Department of State and related agencies. Still, the American diplomatic imagination has not been so myopic and enervated since before World War II. Nor have U.S. investments in diplomacy, Americans’ expectations of their diplomats, or international trust of the United States been so low.
Diplomatic preparedness requires constant attention to other nations and their views. Showing that one’s government is interested in and understands what others think encourages them to be more receptive to one’s own ideas. Attentiveness to their needs, views, and doubts signals willingness to work together and cultivates willingness to cooperate in defending common interests. The regular nurturing and reaffirmation of relationships is what makes it possible to call on a network of friends in times of need. Responding politely and considerately – in the least offensive way one can – to others’ messages conveys respect as well as substance. It invites their sympathetic study of the logic, intent, and interests behind one’s own messages.
Constant diplomatic intercourse promotes stability and predictability. It inhibits inimical change, reducing the risk that amicable states will become adversaries or that adversaries will become enemies. And it provides situational awareness that reduces surprise and enables governments to respond intelligently and tactfully to trends and events.
All this may seem obvious. But it takes a sustained commitment by national leaders, public servants, and well-trained diplomats as well as reliable funding to carry it off. In the contemporary United States, none of these is now assured. The safety net provided by routine diplomacy as I have just described is increasingly neglected. The resulting disarray in American international relationships is shaking our alliances, eroding cooperation with our international partners, raising doubts about U.S. reliability, causing client states to seek new patrons, and diminishing deference to U.S. national interests by friends and foes alike. Increases in military spending demonstrate eagerness to enhance warfighting capabilities. But greater capacity to wreak havoc does nothing to rectify the doubts of foreign nations about American wisdom, reliability, and rapport in our conduct of relations with them.
U.S. military power is as yet without effective challenge except at the regional level. But, on its own, it is proving consistently incapable of producing outcomes that favor our national security. It is a truism that those who cannot live by their brawn or their wallets must live by their wits. Neither war nor the threat of war can restore America’s lost political primacy. Only an upgrade in American competence at formulating and implementing domestic and foreign policies, coupled with effective diplomacy in support of credible American leadership, can do that.
In recent years, Americans have become better known for our promiscuous use of force and our cynical disregard of international law than for our rectitude and aspirations for moral excellence. U.S. foreign policy has featured unprovoked invasions and armed attacks on foreign countries, violations of their sovereignty through drone warfare and aid to insurgents, assassinations and kidnappings, interrogation through torture, the extrajudicial execution of citizens as well foreigners, universal electronic eavesdropping, Islamophobia, the suspension of aid to refugees, xenophobic immigration policies, and withdrawal from previously agreed frameworks for collective action on issues of global concern, like climate change. This sociopathic record inspires only the enemies of the United States. It is not a platform that wins friends, influences people in our favor, or encourages them to view us as reliable.
Courtesy of Amazon Kindle/Preview:
Also this –following 14 months of Hurricane Rex, Tillerson apparently finally admitted to “maybe I was just too inexperienced” thingy.
What did former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson tell @RonanFarrow? "For the first time in this interview, [Tillerson] really did say, 'Look, maybe I was just too inexperienced,'" Farrow tells @JudyWoodruff.
— PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) May 1, 2018
“You don’t fucking know us.” Inside Rex Tillerson’s war with the State Department, the White House’s war with Tillerson and the threat the destruction of diplomacy poses to America’s future. Read my latest in @newyorker, drawn from my new book #WARONPEACE: https://t.co/YqQmP6NVwr
— Ronan Farrow (@RonanFarrow) April 19, 2018
Ambassador Chas W. Freeman, Jr. (USFS, Ret.)
Senior Fellow, Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island, 5 April 2018
This is the second of three lectures directed at laying a basis for the development of diplomatic doctrine. It deals with diplomacy as the tactics of foreign relations. The preface to this series and the first lecture in it set out some thoughts on diplomacy as strategy. The third lecture will consider diplomacy as risk management.
In American foreign policy, perpetual warfare, arms races, economic bullying, and derogatory rhetoric seem for the time being to have supplanted diplomacy. This is a profoundly destabilizing approach to foreign relations. Once it has run its course, Americans will need to rediscover, reconstitute, and rebuild diplomatic capacity.
Our objective in doing so should be to train and field diplomats who are as skilled in the profession of persuasion as our military are in the profession of arms. The extent to which we are able to draw on diplomatic doctrine – guidance for the application of judgment to trends, events, and opportunities – will determine the speed and effectiveness with which we can accomplish this. We need to work now on developing such doctrine for application to our foreign policies and practices when that is possible.
Diplomacy is an instrument of statecraft that few Americans have been educated to understand and whose history – even in relation to our own country – most do not know. Diplomacy emphasizes peaceably arranged change, but it is not pacifist. Diplomacy is how power persuades states and peoples to accommodate adjustments in relations they instinctively disfavor. It uses words to portray capabilities and convey intentions in order to shape the calculus of foreign partners and opponents and cause them to make desired changes in their policies and behavior.
Diplomacy is the verbal tactics of foreign relations. It is the alternative to the use of force as well as its prelude, facilitator, and finale. It is both the implementer of policy by measures short of war and the translator of the results of war into durable outcomes.
Americans celebrate our independence on the day of its official declaration, July 4, 1776. Most imagine that we achieved our autonomy then or on October 19, 1781, when we (and the French) defeated the British at Yorktown. But this ahistorical view disregards the essential role of diplomacy in such adjustments of relations. U.S. separation from the British Empire was only secured when the British conceded it. It took John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, and Thomas Jefferson nearly two years to persuade the British to accept that the necessary consequence of their military defeat was American independence. This became a legal reality only on September 3, 1783, when Britain and the United States signed the Treaty of Paris.
The failure of Americans to recognize the centrality of diplomacy to war termination, including in our own war of independence, is not inconsequential. Recall the ludicrous triumphalism of President George W. Bush after the defeat of the Iraqi Army in 2003, when he stood on an aircraft carrier under a banner, reading “Mission Accomplished.” Subsequent events in Iraq provided a costly reminder that no war is over until the defeated admit defeat and accept its consequences. Such adjustments do not happen automatically. They are achieved through diplomacy or not at all.
The tragic American experience in Iraq was also a reminder that to achieve peace, there must be a leader among the defeated populace with the authority to commit them to it. This is why the United States left the Japanese emperor on his throne after World War II. The failure to consider, let alone address, the question of who might be able to commit Iraqis to cooperation with their foreign occupiers – and what would be required to persuade Iraqis to do so – accounted in no small measure for the anarchy that followed the removal of the Saddam regime in Baghdad.
Diplomatic tactics for war termination are an essential element of any war strategy. But the translation of military triumph into political victory is a task that the American way of war all too often omits. This reflects a history of pursuing the annihilation of enemies, their unconditional surrender, and their political reconstruction through occupation. Disdain for diplomacy that negotiates postwar adjustments in relations, together with “mission creep,” is a major reason that so many American wars spin on without end or abate, only to resume in altered form.
by Ambassador Chas W. Freeman, Jr. (USFS, Ret.)
Senior Fellow, the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, Brown University, Washington, DC and Cambridge, Massachusetts, February, 2018
I am here to talk about diplomacy. This may seem an odd moment to broach the subject. Our president has told us that it doesn’t matter that his administration is not staffed to do it, because “I’m the only one who matters.” In other words, “l’état c’est moi.”
Now that it’s got that straight, the United States Department of State has set about dismantling itself. Meanwhile, the Foreign Service of the United States is dejectedly withering away. Our ever-flatulent media seem unconvinced that Americans will miss either institution.
I suspect they’re wrong about that. Diplomacy is an instrument of statecraft that Americans have not been educated to understand and whose history they do not know. It is not about “making nice.” Nor is it just a delaying tactic before we send in the Marines.
Diplomacy is a political performing art that informs and determines the decisions of other states and peoples. It shapes their perceptions and calculations so that they do what we want them to do because they come to see doing so as in their own best interest. Diplomacy influences the policies and behavior of states and peoples through measures short of war, though it does not shrink from war as a diversion or last resort. It is normally but not always overtly non-coercive. It succeeds best when it embraces humility and respects and preserves the dignity of those to whom it is applied. As the Chinese philosopher, Laozi put it: “A leader is best when people barely know he exists. When his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say, we did it ourselves.”
Napoleon called diplomacy, “the police in grand costume” but it is usually not much to look at. It seldom involves blowing things up, most of its action is unseen, and it is relatively inexpensive. Diplomacy’s greatest triumphs tend to be preventing things from happening. But it’s hard to prove they wouldn’t have occurred, absent diplomacy. So diplomats are more often blamed for what did happen than credited for what didn’t. Diplomats are even worse than sailors at marching. Diplomacy stages no parades in which ambassadors and their political masters can strut among baton-twirling majorettes or wave to adoring crowds. Nor, for the most part, does it justify expensive programs that generate the pork and patronage that nourish politics
All this makes diplomacy both obscure and of little or no direct interest to the central institutions in contemporary Washington’s foreign policy. As any foreign embassy will tell you, the U.S. Department of Defense and other elements of the military-industrial-congressional complex now dominate the policy process. Both are heavily invested in theories of coercive interaction between states. Both favor strategic and tactical doctrines that justify expensive weapons systems and well-paid people to use them. Activities that cost little and lack drama do not intrigue them. They see diplomats as the clean-up squad to be deployed after they have demolished other societies, not as peers who can help impose our will without fighting.
U.S. foreign policy is heavily militarized in theory, practice, and staffing. No one has bankrolled the development of professional diplomatic doctrine, meaning a body of interrelated operational concepts describing how to influence the behavior of other states and people by mostly non-violent means. So there is no diplomatic equivalent of military doctrine, the pretensions of some scholars of international relations (IR) theory notwithstanding. This is a very big gap in American statecraft that the growing literature on conflict management has yet to fill. The absence of diplomatic doctrine to complement military science eliminates most options short of the raw pressure of sanctions or the use of force. It thereby increases the probability of armed conflict, with all its unpredictable human and financial consequences.
Working out a diplomatic doctrine with which to train professional diplomats could have major advantages. Diplomatic performance might then continually improve, as military performance does, as experience emended doctrine. But developing diplomatic doctrine would require acceptance that our country has a need for someone other than dilettantes and amateurs to conduct its foreign relations. Our politicians, who love the spoils system, seem firmly convinced that, between them, wealthy donors and campaign gerbils can meet most of our needs in foreign affairs, with the military meeting the rest. The Department of State, which would be the logical government agency to fund an effort at the development of tradecraft and doctrine, is usually led by diplomatic novices. It is also the perennial runt at the federal budgetary teat.
Leadership of foreign policy by untrained neophytes was to a great extent the American norm even during the Cold War, when the United States led the world outside the Soviet camp and deployed unmatched political attractiveness and economic clout. Now retired and active duty military officers have been added to the diplomatic management mix. They are experts in the application of violence, not peaceable statecraft, to foreign societies. How is this likely to work out in the new world disorder? As the late Deng Xiaoping said, “practice is the sole criterion of truth.” So we’ll see. But while we wait for the outcome, there is still time to consider the potential of diplomacy as an instrument of statecraft.
The basis of diplomacy is empathy for the views of others. It is most effective when grounded in a sophisticated understanding of another’s language, culture, feelings, and intellectual habits. Empathy inhibits killing. It is not a character trait we expect or desire our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines to have.
Language and area training plus practical experience are what enable diplomats to imagine the viewpoint of foreign leaders, to see the world as they do, to analyze trends and events as they would, and to evaluate the pros and cons of actions as they might. A competent diplomat can use such insights to make arguments that foreign leaders find persuasive. A diplomat schooled in strategy can determine what circumstances are required to persuade foreign leaders that doing what the diplomat wants them to do is not yielding to superior power but deciding on their own to do what is in their nation’s best interest.
Empathy does not, of course, imply alignment or agreement with the viewpoints of others, just understanding of them. It is not the same as sympathy, which identifies with others’ perspectives. Sometimes the aim of diplomacy is to persuade a foreign country to continue to adhere to established policies, because they are beneficial. But more commonly, it is to change the policies, behavior, and practices of other countries or individuals, not to affirm or endorse them. To succeed, diplomats must cleave to their own side’s interests, convictions, and policy positions even as they grasp the motivations and reasoning processes of those whose positions they seek to change. But they must also be able to see their country and its actions as others see them and accept these views as an operational reality to be acknowledged and dealt with rather than denounced as irrational or duplicitous.
To help policy-makers formulate policies and actions that have a real chance of influencing a particular foreign country’s decisions, diplomats habitually find themselves called upon to explain how and why that country’s history and circumstances make it see things and act the way it does. In the United States, most men and women in senior foreign policy positions did not work their way up the ranks. They are much more familiar with domestic interest groups and their views than with foreign societies and how they work. Explanation of foreign positions is easily mistaken for advocacy of them, especially by people inclined to dismiss outlandish views that contradict their prejudices as inherently irrational or malicious.
It’s good domestic politics to pound the policy table in support of popular narratives and nationalist postures and to reject foreign positions on issues as irrational, disingenuous, or malevolent. But diplomats can’t do that if they are to remain true to their calling. In a policy process driven more by how things will look to potential domestic critics than by a determination actually to change the behavior of foreigners, diplomats are easily marginalized. But when they are backed by strong-minded leaders who want results abroad, they can accomplish a great deal that military intervention cannot.
Let me give a couple of examples of how U.S. diplomacy has rearranged other states’ and people’s appraisals of their strategic circumstances and caused them to decide to adopt courses of action favored by the United States. These examples show both the complexities with which diplomacy must deal and its limitations in terms of its ability to secure assured outcomes.
Posted: 3:11 am ET
RT @usun: “It’s easy for friends to be with you in the good times, but it’s the friends who are with you during the challenging times that will never be forgotten. Thank you to the 64.” pic.twitter.com/FiyIYuL3bS
— Nikki Haley (@nikkihaley) January 4, 2018
— Nikki Haley (@nikkihaley) December 21, 2017
The eight countries who voted with the United States include Guatemala and Honduras, countries with significant interest in migration policies and have large number of nationals on DACA status. Guatemala has already announced that it will follow the United States in moving its embassy to Jerusalem. We’re watching how soon Honduras will follow this move. Last November, DHS extended the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Honduras until July 5, 2018. We’ll have to see what happens next; state actions are in the country’s national interest, intentional, and never coincidental.
— The Times of Israel (@TimesofIsrael) December 28, 2017
UN vote to condemn USA Jerusalem declaration: 128-9
“The Big 8” that voted with the US.
Nikki Haley, if you’re taking names best to just write “everyone but these guys”
No one is afraid of the USA any more. pic.twitter.com/Ryxm6cIjjG
— Darren Sherwood (@darrensherwood) December 21, 2017
— The Times of Israel (@TimesofIsrael) January 4, 2018
USUN Ambassador Niki Haley’s shit list includes the top recipients of American foreign aid for years like Afghanistan, Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan and a host of other countries. How this will end? (see Snapshot: @StateDept Aid Allocation by Region and Top Recipients, FY2016 Request; Snapshot: Top 10 Recipients of US Foreign Aid in FY2012 and FY2013 Request; Snapshot: Top 10 Recipients of US Foreign Aid in FY2010, FY 2011 RQ; Snapshot: Top 10 Recipients of US Foreign Aid).
On January 4, the United States announced that it is suspending at least $900 million in security assistance to Pakistan according to Reuters “until it takes action against the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network militant groups.”
Some of the countries on US Ambassador Nikki Haley's shit list following UN Jerusalem vote:
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) December 21, 2017
U.S. suspends at least $900 million in security aid to Pakistan https://t.co/jJS3d42mFd
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) January 5, 2018
Posted: 12:35 am ET
On December 22, the Pope finally received Callista L. Gingrich for the presentation of her credential letters as Ambassador of the United States of America to the Holy See (see The Credential Letters of the Ambassador of the United States of America to the Holy See; also Amb-Designate Callista Gingrich Still Waiting to Present Credentials Six Weeks On?).
This morning, Callista Gingrich presented her credentials to Pope Francis and officially assumed the duties of United States Ambassador to the Holy See.
(L'Osservatore Romano) pic.twitter.com/0esU2w6xft
— U.S. in Holy See (@USinHolySee) December 22, 2017
— Vatican Insider (EN) (@vatican_en) December 22, 2017
— Catholic News Agency (@cnalive) December 22, 2017
— The Catholic Sun (@thecatholicsun) December 23, 2017
— Reuters U.S. News (@ReutersUS) December 22, 2017
Callista Gingrich formally begins service as U.S. ambassador to Holy See https://t.co/P54DidMKTI
— Catholic Herald (@CatholicHerald) December 23, 2017
Posted: 3:40 am ET
Back in January, Ambassador Nikki Haley made her first appearance before the press as USUN ambassador prior to presenting her credentials. She made a huge splash with her opening salvo: “For those who don’t have our back, we’re taking names – we will make points to respond to that accordingly.” (see @USUN Ambassador Nikki Haley: Taking Names and Diplomatic Dustup).
Now, she’s taking names again of those who will criticize the impending US embassy move. The UN General Assembly is set to meet on Thursday for an emergency discussion on the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Haaretz is reporting that in an attempt to avoid embarrassment, “Israel has instructed its diplomatic missions to seek meetings with high-level officials to persuade them to direct their representatives at the UN to oppose, not to support, or at the very least not to deliver a speech at the General Assembly.”
At the UN we're always asked to do more & give more. So, when we make a decision, at the will of the American ppl, abt where to locate OUR embassy, we don't expect those we've helped to target us. On Thurs there'll be a vote criticizing our choice. The US will be taking names. pic.twitter.com/ZsusB8Hqt4
— Nikki Haley (@nikkihaley) December 19, 2017
"What we witnessed here today in the Security Council is an insult. It won’t be forgotten. It’s one more example of the @UN doing more harm than good in addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
-Amb. Haley after vetoing a UNSC resolution on Jerusalem: https://t.co/ipDIorG7KY pic.twitter.com/rhRLzZXWFr
— US Mission to the UN (@USUN) December 18, 2017
.@USUN Ambassador Nikki Haley: Given the chance to vote again on Resolution 2234, I can say with complete confidence that the United States would vote no; we would exercise our veto power. pic.twitter.com/HZQ2YcjdVs
— Department of State (@StateDept) December 18, 2017
Haley stressed that the U.S. "was not asking for other countries [to] move their embassies to Jerusalem," but to simply "acknowledge the friendship, partnership, and support" behind the decision https://t.co/OBcqBXbCnV
— Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) December 20, 2017
— Noa Landau (@noa_landau) December 20, 2017
Posted: 12:12 am ET
AND NOW THIS —
😭 😭 😭 😭 😭 😭 😭 😭 😭 😭 😭 😭 😭 😭 😭
Posted: 2:24 am ET
On Tuesday, September 26, the House Foreign Affairs Committee is holding a hearing on the State Department’s redesign efforts. You’d think that the chief sponsor of this entire endeavor, Secretary Tillerson would be at the hearing to answer questions from congressional representatives. But it looks like Mr. Tillerson is meeting the Holy See Secretary for Relations with States Paul Gallagher at the Department of State at 10:25 a.m.. That leaves his Deputy John Sullivan as “it” for the hot seat instead.
Chairman Royce on the hearing: “This hearing is the latest in our ongoing oversight of the State Department’s vital work. It will allow members to raise important questions about the State Department’s redesign plan, and help inform the committee’s efforts to authorize State Department functions.”
The American Academy of Diplomacy previously wrote to Secretary Tillerson requesting that the reorganization plan be made public and was refused (see Former Senior Diplomats Urge Tillerson to Make Public @StateDept’s Reorganization Plan). The group has now written a new letter addressed to the House Foreign Affairs Committee expressing its support for the “sensible streamlining and the elimination of offices and positions in order to promote effective diplomacy.” It also tells HFAC that it believes that “the Administration should reconsider the decision to declare its plan for reorganization “pre-decisional.” The Congress should ask that the plans to date and those to be considered be made available for public comment.” More:
The Academy believes certain principles should guide the reorganization.
–Change only those things which will strengthen U.S. diplomacy.
–People are more important than programs. Programs can be rebuild quickly. Getting a senior Foreign Service takes 5 to 20 years.
–As a rule, front-line personnel should be increased, although there are Embassies where there are more people, including those from other agencies, than U.S. interests require
It points out that the Foreign Service has a built-in RIF in its system:
The Foreign Service, as up-or-out service, loses about 300 – 400 FSOs and Specialists each year by selection out for low ranking, expiration of time in class, failure to pass over a promotion threshold or reaching the mandatory retirement age of 65. Only Foreign Service personnel are subject to world-wide availability. With their experience, capabilities and languages, they can be sent anywhere, anytime to meet America’s foreign policy objectives. Over the last 12 years the largest personnel increases have been the additions of Civil Service personnel in State’s Regional and, particularly, Functional Bureaus.
And there is this interesting request for clarity on potential appointees; are there talks that DGHR would be filled by a political appointee?
We believe the key positions of the Under Secretary for Political Affairs, the Director General, and the Dean of the Foreign Service Institute should be career Foreign Service Officers. The Director General, a position established by the Act, should be appointed from those that have the senior experience and personal standing to guide the long-term future of the staff needed for effective diplomacy. We respectfully ask that Congress get clarification as to whether it is the Department’s intention to nominate an appropriately senior serving or retired Foreign Service Officer for the position of Director General.
The group also writes that it “encourage the Congress to press hard for clarity about the objectives of this reorganization process: is the goal increasing effectiveness or rationalizing budget decisions?”
Read the letter below or click here (PDF).