The Foreign Service Journal, September 2020

12 SEPTEMBER 2020 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL Share your thoughts about this month’s issue. Submit letters to the editor: have gone hand in hand with a push to make it more rational, specialized and professional. Consider, for example, Wilbur Carr, the father of the Foreign Service. Working in the Progressive Era to end State’s unfortunate distinction as the last bastion of the spoils system (see Fareed Zakaria’s From Wealth to Power: The Unusual Origins of America’s World Role ), Carr largely authored the Foreign Service Act of 1924 (known as the Rogers Act). The legislation fused the diplomatic and consular services, and created the first merit-based hiring and promotion requirements in the depart- ment’s history. These changes brought in new FSOs who (among other fields) understood the then-burgeoning science of public administration, replacing old patron- age hires who did little more than push paper. Later, the Foreign Service Act of 1946 created a corps of reservists, diplomats based primarily in Washington who could be called to overseas service if needed. In post–WWII practice, however, most employees remained stateside, and later became the expert Civil Service foreign affairs officers we know today. This provision recognized the distinct duties for diplomats serving overseas and at home—information collection and representation vs. policy analysis—and further specialized the diplomatic corps to take advantage of the unique skill sets of each. These and other reforms, opposed by many traditionalists at the time, were premised on the belief that diplomacy should increasingly professionalize itself and benefit from the advances of the day. Today, that means recognizing that cutting-edge information sciences are a complement, not a substitute, for bread-and-butter language and area expertise. As major transnational threats like artificial intelligence, pandemic disease and climate security continue to dominate the international political landscape, diplomacy will also need to become more of a specialist craft, embracing subject-matter expertise. Today, as in days past, the art of diplomacy is to embrace the science. n Ryan Dukeman Ph.D. student, Princeton University & former State Department Center for Analytics consultant Princeton, N.J.