The Foreign Service Journal, May 2018

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | MAY 2018 25 merely internal coordination). Each of these requires an infusion of capital—human and financial. The State Department’s mission is quite straightforward: to advance and safeguard American security and promote American interests and values worldwide through diplomacy; to achieve national goals without putting people and treasure at risk through military action; to persuade others to work with and for us in com- mon cause. As in business, certainty and predictability are valued in diplomacy. Here, predictability generates credibility and reliabil- ity, which, in turn, generate trust and cooperation. One of Ameri- ca’s greatest strengths has been to serve as model and example. It is true that disruptions can and do produce short-term gains. But they are rarely a durable foundation for long-term, relation- ship-based success. With a reduced U.S. foreign affairs budget, dispirited employees and a cramped vision of U.S. leadership, many of America’s adversaries and rivals see retreat and retrench- ment, spiked with bluster about military force and economic threats. Little wonder that friends and allies now question the value of America’s word or loyalty. It is said that the one thing other countries dislike more than American leadership is the absence of American leadership. America may be losing its unique capacity to inspire. Looking Ahead The new Secretary of State can set the department on a firmer foundation and truer course. It will not take much to generate energy from the workforce. It’s not necessary to undo the prospec- tive reforms. It is necessary to validate, integrate and fund strategic priorities. Cut clutter and complexity; don’t mistake motion for movement; and don’t confuse internal coordination for external goal delivery. Invest in people. State Department and USAID employees are as capable, determined and skilled as their colleagues in other national secu- rity agencies. They value leadership. They want to know that the Secretary’s team values them—people first, mission always—and that it will look to have the right people in the right places at the right time with the right resources, support and protection to carry out the mission. n