The Foreign Service Journal, January-February 2021

38 JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2021 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL Institutional Reform: Seismic Culture Shifts Needed No matter how many new Foreign and Civil Service officers are hired or how much funding for the International Affairs Account is increased, asserting State Department leadership in shaping a disrupted world will not be possible without seismic culture shifts within the institution. This means deci- sive and long-overdue action to make the State Department a diverse, equitable and inclusive institution. … Institutional transformation also requires moving away from an ingrained risk-aversion mindset, careerism, bureaucratic layering that tangles the Washington decision-making process and hyper- politicization of diplomacy that has inflamed perennial politi- cal appointee-career divides, hollowed out senior career ranks and tanked employee morale and recruitment numbers. • Diversity as a National Security Priority • Overcoming Risk-Aversion Culture • Delayering and Decentralizing Decision-making • Restoring Trust and Bridging the Career-Noncareer Divide Workforce: Open Pipeline, Revolving Door, and Minds With more than half of Foreign and Civil Service employees having less than ten years of experience, domestic Civil Service staffing frozen at 2017 levels and a brain drain of senior talent since 2017, urgent attention needs to be devoted to revital- izing the professional path and retention of the current DOS workforce. … Mindful of the sensitivity of career officers who advanced national security under significant hardship under the Trump administration, a “right of return” (within lim- its) would be beneficial, focused on those who left the State Department in the last ten years. • Greater Flexibility and Enabling Return (alternative entry paths, replace bidding process, revise or replace “cones” system, streamline evaluation process) • Rebooting and Expanding Training and Continuous Learning (training float, long-term study, recruiting for language) Beyond the Near Term The foregoing recommendations are intended as a road map for an administration from either major party to implement in 2021, requiring nothing more than decisions by a Secretary of State. … But American diplomacy and the State Department would also benefit from some longer-term thinking, even if those goals are more difficult to accomplish. • Amend the Foreign Service Act • Unified National Security Budgeting • Diplomatic Reserve Corps Conclusion The Department of State remains a world-class diplomatic institution that employs thousands of the U.S. government’s most capable public servants. But left unaddressed, the challenges that DOS faces risk causing irreparable damage to America’s standing and influence in the world, ability to advance its interests over- seas, and security and prosperity at home. … Prioritizing reform, even in the face of competing demands, is among the most endur- ing contributions that could be made to American security and prosperity and is essential to equipping American diplomacy for the issues the country faces. … Building a constituency for diplo- macy and diplomats—not unlike that which exists for U.S. military institutions and personnel—would be a worthwhile, if genera- tional, project. In the meantime, an administration less hostile to diplomacy than the current can begin reversing the present crisis in its early days by implementing long-overdue changes under existing authorities. Transformation, not restoration, should be the Secretary of State’s mandate. s MAKING U.S. FOREIGN POLICY WORK BETTER FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS Co-edited by Salman Ahmed and Rozlyn Engel Carnegie Endowment for International Peace In 2017 the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace established a Task Force on U.S. Foreign Policy for the Middle Class to identify the elements of a new foreign policy that can more adequately meet domestic policy requirements, in particular one that can simultaneously address the precarious state of the Ameri- can middle class—arguably the bedrock of America’s power—and protect U.S. interests and ensure effective U.S. leadership around the globe. Members of the task force were Wendy Cutler, Douglas Lute, Daniel M. Price, David Gordon, Jennifer Harris, Christopher Smart, Jake Sullivan, Ashley J. Tellis and TomWyler. Over a period of two years the group carried out three in-depth analyses of distinct state economies in America’s heartland—Colo-