Thursday, June 25, 2009

Eight Former Secretaries of State Call for More Foreign Diplomacy Personnel

I just came across a great article today on written by former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, James Baker, Lawrence Eagleburger, Warren Christopher, Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice entitled “U.S. must deloy [sic] more foreign diplomacy personnel”.

I pulled the following three quotes from their article as I found them to be relevant to the content I post to IHEC Blog:

“sending diplomats abroad without language skills is like deploying soldiers without bullets. Yet nearly 30 percent of positions that require foreign language skills are filled by officers without them. Why? Because State lacks the personnel to send to language training at a time when nearly 20 percent of regular positions in embassies and in the State Department are unfilled. (referring to the American Academy of Diplomacy report Foreign Affairs Budget of the Future)

“Staff levels at USAID declined from 4,300 in 1975 to 2,200 in 2007 — even as other budgets rose. An agency that once built roads now has only five full-time engineers. The 2,200 USAID career officers are fewer than were once in Vietnam alone.”

“As regional and cultural conflicts have grown into issues of worldwide concern, our exchange programs for students and scholars have declined, along with the personnel to manage them.”

You can access the full article here.

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