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Developing Diplomats for 2010:
If Not Now, When?

by Stephanie Smith Kinney*
ARTICLE
CONTENTS

I. SUMMARY

II. THE CHALLENGES
 • Risks
 • Relevancy
 • Resources
 • Renewal

III. CORE VALUES
 • Core values matter
 • What ARE the value?
 • Symptomatic cynicism
 • Drawing on idealism

IV. DEVELOPING DIPLOMATS FOR 2000
 • Diplomats' dual functions
 • Training for what?
 • "Be more like the military"
 • Creating a "training float"
 • What kind of officers?
 • Rethink the cone system
 • On formal training needs

V. NEEDED:  COHERENCE
 • Coherent culture
 • Coherent policy process
 • Call for action

SUMMARY OF PROPOSALS

APPENDICES

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SUMMARY OF PROPOSALS

1. Develop serious professional training requirements and either obtain from Congress or reprioritize to provide a fifteen to twenty per cent “personnel training float.” If Congress will not authorize money and positions, return to the Hill and do not leave until Congress identifies from options State provides what it does not want us to do so that State can create the float on its own, i.e., demonstrate the seriousness of this requirement.

2. Establish a permanent chief of staff or under secretary of state for diplomatic readiness, who would have a tenure of at least six years subject to renewal and a mandate to modernize Department of State operations and strengthen the country’s diplomatic and consular service. Support the effort with a manageable bipartisan advisory council made up of Congressional and other experts.

3. Undertake a full court press campaign to obtain national security status and develop the equivalent of “Goldwater-Nichols” legislation for American diplomacy.

4. Develop an employee satisfaction or “organizational climate” survey to be conducted twice a year and tracked for follow-up.

5. Establish a clear matrix of the qualities, knowledge, skills, experience and cadres needed for U.S. Diplomacy by 2010, develop notional career paths and start aligning professional incentives and sanctions accordingly, eliminating perverse incentives in the process.

6. Upgrade the quality, performance, and first impressions of the recruitment process from start to finish. Reframe A-100 to be the end of recruitment as well as the beginning of training; once a candidate has been accepted, provide a reading list and required books on diplomatic history, foreign policy, and public administration for discussion in A-100. Develop a “short tour” in home bureau before departing on first assignment.

7. Create a mid-level course for all officers focused on Washington tradecraft and management skills; explore the feasibility of reuniting A-100 classes for it. Alternatively, consider providing this training as a mandatory requirement prior to officers first tour in Washington.

8. Define core values through a participatory process, bring them to life, link them to training and assignment experience, and incorporate them in evaluations.

9. Continue to promote and emphasize mentoring as a professional responsibility, but remain alert to cynics; officers need to be made to feel that they can contribute to strengthening the institution rather than that they are further evidence of institutional decline.

10. Review Foreign Service generalist positions for designation as primarily policy or issue management-related (regional and functional policy desks and offices — political; economic; Environmental, Scientific, and Technological Affairs (EST); Political Military Affairs (PM); Public Affairs (PA) positions) or resource/program management-related and require alternating assignments between the two groups up to grade O-1.

11. Undertake a thorough and public review of the pros and cons of establishing a single, excepted personnel system for the Department of State.

12. Identify a notional career path for developing a cadre of officers expert and experienced in multilateral diplomacy; support with training and linked assignments; develop courses in principles of international law and conference diplomacy and create a negotiations apprenticeship path.

13. Consider capping career appointments at DCM.


  RETURN TO FRONT PAGETOP OF ARTICLE   

American Diplomacy                Vol. V, No. 3                Summer 2000
Copyright © 2000 American Diplomacy Publishers, Durham NC
http://www.unc.edu/depts/diplomat/amdipl_16


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