The next U.S. President needs nearly 50 percent more diplomats in order to implement a successful foreign policy, according to a landmark study issued October 6 by the American Academy of Diplomacy and the Stimson Center. Project Chair Ambassador Thomas Boyatt stated, “This report will provide Congress and the next President with a blueprint for fixing the human capital crisis that has hobbled United States diplomacy worldwide, crippled its response to crises, and inappropriately thrown additional foreign policy burdens on the military in recent years.”
The report, “A Foreign Affairs Budget of the Future,” finds that the State Department, USAID, and related organizations lack the tools to meet today’s complex global challenges. It calls for urgent investments in diplomacy and development assistance to rebuild America’s foreign affairs capability. The report’s recommendations in the four major categories of foreign affairs activity – core diplomacy, public diplomacy, economic assistance, and reconstruction/stabilization – include:
- Expanding the number of diplomats and development professionals by 4,735 over the next five years – a growth of 46% – to be accompanied by significant increases in training.
- Greatly expanding public diplomacy activities, especially educational and cultural exchanges to achieve a more positive global attitude toward the United States.
- Significantly increasing funding to permit ambassadors to respond effectively to humanitarian and political emergencies.
- Transferring authority over selected Security Assistance programs – totaling $785 million annually – to the Department of State from the Department of Defense.
- Establishing a robust surge capacity for reconstruction and stabilization efforts under the authority of the Secretary of State.
The report finds that a failure to act on these urgent needs would leave our nation ill-equipped to carry out the leadership role required by our global interests or respond to problems including terrorism, nuclear proliferation, failed states, environmental degradation, pandemics, and the plethora of other issues that demand U.S. involvement and presence around the world.
The report was prepared with support from the Una Chapman Cox Foundation.
After its release, the Academy will conduct a nation-wide public education program to explain the realities of the State Department and Foreign Service today, and how those institutions can be strengthened to make our diplomacy more effective.
The report can be found online at:
The American Academy of Diplomacy is a membership organization of former career and non-career Ambassadors and senior-level diplomats dedicated to strengthening the institution of American diplomacy.