Sunday, January 15, 2017

An urgent State Department makeover

America needs a retooled organization that gets results

By Robert Charles - - Wednesday, January 11, 2017, Washington Times

Image from article, with caption: Fixing the U.S. State Department Illustration by Linas Garsys

Donald Trump and prospective Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have their work cut out for them. Forget the diplomatic challenges from Russia, China, Europe, ISIS and others. Look beyond the confirmation hearings. Look internally — at the State Department itself. The Trump administration will have to both inspire and remake the department, helping it respond to evolving challenges, anticipate new ones and assure accountability.
With fullest respect for State’s Foreign Service Officers and civil servants, the bureaucracy is not yet organized and aligned to address many emerging diplomatic and geopolitical threats. Accountability, particularly of contractors, remains a recurring challenge. Once confirmed, how might a new secretary reconfigure the vital but unwieldy federal department? Here are ... priorities:
Public diplomacy: We need to get public diplomacy right. Recently we have spun our wheels. Lessons from postwar and peacetime periods, World War II through the Cold War, Bill Donovan and Bill Casey through John Kennedy, John Foster Dulles, Ronald Reagan, George Schultz and Colin Powell offer guidance. There is a need for fresh, creative, anticipatory, non-linear, over-the-horizon communication with nations of the world. We must go to them, helping them to understand America’s real heart, identity, ideals, priorities, sacrifices and vision for a stable, democratic, prosperous world. We need to create buy-in. ...

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