InterAgency Essay 11-04W, September 2011
by Robert M. Beecroft
In this essay, Ambassador Beecroft reviews the State Department’s 2010 Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) and a 2011 report by the American Academy of Diplomacy and the Stimson Center. Both the QDDR and the Academy/Stimson report stress the importance of professional education and training for the United States Foreign Service, and state that professional education and training are essential to the overall performance of the U.S. Foreign Service if it is to lead an increasingly multi-agency foreign policy apparatus.
The report makes several recommendations in regard to professional education and training. The first recommendation is to “redress the under-investment in diplomacy and the consequent between defense […] and diplomacy and development.” To address this issue, the Academy/Stimson report suggests fully funding Diplomacy 3.0, the hiring surge that would increase the size of the Foreign Service by 24% by Fiscal Year 2013. The report also recommends the State Department make a long-term commitment to investing in professional education and training of its Foreign Service officers, and stresses the important role of the ambassador and the need to choose the very best for these positions.
The report goes on to address the imbalance in “smart power,” and how training and education alone will not correct this imbalance. Instead, a comprehensive review and reform of America’s national security structure may be needed. Until then, the State Department will have to take the necessary steps to strengthen civilian power through education and training, adequate funding, and through improving understanding and cultural awareness among foreign affairs agencies.
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