The Foreign Service Journal, July-August 2008

of State’s attention to management and leadership issues. Our fourth report is now in the works, which will cover Condoleezza Rice’s final two years. Before we started doing that, no one was drawing public attention to how the State Department was carrying out its responsibility to manage its human and financial resources. But now peo- ple are focusing on that and holding State’s leadership accountable. FSJ: You are currently chairman of a project to develop a zero-based budget for the 150 Account, which encompasses federal funding for State, the Foreign Service and for- eign assistance agencies. What was the genesis of that? TDB: The Diplomatic Readiness Initiative brought some 1,000 people into the ranks during President Bush’s first term. But then the demands of staffing Afghanistan and Iraq absorb- ed these people. We’re back to the major staffing shortfalls of the 1990s. In one of our meetings about that problem, a senior person on the Hill made the point that the traditional incremental approach of adding a few bodies and dollars doesn’t work — you have to build the structure around the needs. That made sense, so we sought and received from the Cox Foundation a $500,000 grant to come up with a comprehensive budget proposal that would do just that. The Stimson Center is doing the research and drafting under the leadership of an advisory group and with the input of a Red Team, both of which are largely staffed by American Academy of Diplomacy members. We intend to have that proposal ready this fall and will launch a major effort to persuade the new Secretary of State to adopt it early next year. We’ll make the argument that we must roll back the increasing “milita- rization” of diplomacy, particularly in public diplomacy and development. Furthermore, we will argue that no administration can have an effective foreign policy without the profession- als in the field to carry it out. And we’ll also be on the Hill promoting the concept. FSJ: That will be the Fiscal Year 2010 budget, right? TDB: Right, but we’re also work- ing on getting more resources into the FY 2009 foreign affairs budget. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has been a big ally in this effort, making the case that this isn’t just something a few self-absorbed diplomats are con- cerned about. The consequences of weakening the Foreign Service through these systemic shortages affect the whole national security structure, including the military. So I believe we’re gaining traction. FSJ: What qualities do you think are most important for a Secretary of State to have? TDB: A talent for management is crucial but all too rare; I’d say only three secretaries since World War II have had the aptitude and an interest in managing the department. That may be because Secretaries of State have been lawyers or academicians, with the occasional senator thrown in. All of these professions are filled with sole practitioners, who tend to be management-challenged, to put it mildly. And of course, it’s also important for a Secretary of State to have expe- rience, flexibility, tolerance for diver- sity, and intellectual acuity. FSJ: Which holders of that posi- tion in recent years would you say were most successful overall? TDB: In terms of caring for the troops, acquiring resources and gen- eral management, George Marshall, George Shultz and Colin Powell have been the most successful. FSJ: Are you optimistic about the future of the diplomatic profession? TDB: Yes, thanks to the parallel universe I’ve alluded to: AFSA, the Foreign Affairs Council, etc. Again, the key is that over the years, we’ve built up our own leadership structure and public affairs capability. That lets us speak out independently to rein- force State’s formal advocacy efforts for adequate resources. FSJ: So do you recommend the Foreign Service as a career to young people? TDB: Yes, all the time. For instance, as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, I teach at small liberal arts colleges around the country twice a year, and I also promote the Foreign Service. But I recommend it as a career not because of bureaucratic success, but as a wonderful life. As I tell people: If you’re interested in for- eign countries, would welcome a change of venue every three years, and are interested in serving the nation and having wonderful col- leagues, it is the life for you. FSJ: Any final thoughts? TDB: I would like every FSO to have a career as fun and rewarding as mine has been. FSJ: Thank you very much. n 22 F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L / J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 0 8 “Only three Secretaries of State since World War II have had the aptitude and an interest in managing the department.”