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American Diplomacy
Announcement
Fall 2017

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President's Note

Today, issues facing the Department of State and the Foreign Service have reached a level of concern not seen in the United States since the 1950's campaign by Senator Joseph McCarthy to destroy the Foreign Service and America's faith in its diplomats. In recent days, Secretary of State Tillerson has proposed to the White House an extensive reorganization plan for the Department of State and its cadre of career diplomats. He has not made that plan available to the public or to the Foreign Service Officers affected. Recently, the House Foreign Affairs Committee has announced that it will hold hearings on that reorganization plan.

The American Academy of Diplomacy, an organization of retired American ambassadors, has written the Committee outlining a wide variety of issues and concerns affecting the Foreign Service. A summary of the letter, linked here, highlights some of those key points:

  1. A strong diplomacy is essential to American security and rests on a strong State Department and a strong Foreign Service.
  2. The overseas presence of American diplomats should be maintained to promote American interests and values and position the U.S. to respond to crises.
  3. The normal recruitment and intake of Foreign Service Officers should continue without pause.
  4. Key positions in the Department—the Undersecretary for Political Affairs, the Director General and Dean of the Foreign Service Institute—should be career Foreign Service Officers.
  5. The Department must create and maintain a surge capacity to respond to unexpected crises.
  6. Professional education for Foreign Service officers must be a priority for the Department.
  7. The Congress must clarify the objectives of the reorganization process—is the goal to increase effectiveness or to rationalize budget decisions?

Because of the critical nature of these concerns, American Diplomacy will provide in each issue informed reports and commentary on questions  affecting the Department of State and the Foreign Service.

Ambassador (ret) W. Robert Pearson
President, American Diplomacy Publishers



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