Presentation - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Presentation: A U.S. Diplomatic Service for the 21st Century

On November 17, Ambassadors Nicholas Burns, Marc Grossman, and Marcie Ries officially launched their report, “A U.S. Diplomatic Service for the 21st Century,”  published as part of the American Diplomacy Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School.  These distinguished career Foreign Service Officers, and report co-authors, shared their recommendations on how to rebuild, reform, and reimagine the U.S. Foreign Service so that America can have the strongest and most effective diplomatic service to defend our country and advance its interests. 


Nick Burns

00:00:03Morning everybody or good afternoon, good evening, depending where you are.  I’m Nick Burns professor here at the Harvard Kennedy School. It's a great pleasure to welcome all of you to the launch of our

00:00:13two-year project, and that's to think through the future of the American Foreign Service. I'm here with two really close

00:00:21friends and close colleagues Ambassador Marc Grossman is here, Ambassador Marcie Ries is here. The three of us have been working on this project, I think Marc Grossman and I first had a conversation about this three years ago.

00:00:35Marcie joined us Ambassador Nancy McEldowney was with us for a long time. Then she had to depart for a very good reason. She had to depart, and so I just wanted to pay tribute to Nancy

00:00:46McEldowney in the process. This is, as I said, a long effort to think through an institution that the three of us care a lot about.

00:00:54And that's the career Foreign Service in the Civil Service of the United States, all of us served

00:00:59very proudly in the American Foreign Service and we wanted to give something back to our brethren, and I see some of them online with us today

00:01:07who are currently serving, to help them. The reason we embarked on the project, I think, is well known to almost everybody on this zoom call.

00:01:16And that is that the Foreign Service is facing one of the greatest crises and its modern history. A crisis of a lack of support, of budgetary support.

00:01:25A crisis of a lack of leadership in some cases. A crisis of being sidelined in some other cases.

00:01:34And a crisis that goes to the depth of what it is for our country to have a modern effective powerful diplomatic corps.

00:01:42We argue in this report that the Foreign Service needs to be fundamentally reformed that it needs to be stronger and to be in business terms higher performing.

00:01:53And we argue also that the times dictate this. Diplomacy’s time has certainly come. Since 911 the United States, of course, has had to rely very heavily

00:02:05on its military and its intelligence agencies. That will continue to be the case, but it's time to elevate diplomacy alongside them in terms of the attention we give to it.

00:02:14and the support we give to it. Why is that? It's because we live in an era of transnational challenges, where a lot of the most acute.

00:02:22challenges, the United States is going to face cannot be resolved by the military and our intelligence community. Climate change, future pandemics,

00:02:31drug and crime cartels, all those dictate that we have a strong diplomatic corps, that our diplomats, take the lead.

00:02:41Think of the foreign policy agenda of the next 12 to 24 months we have to re-enter the climate change talks: diplomats are going to do that.

00:02:49We have to re-enter the World Health Organization: diplomats will do that.

00:02:53We have to try to negotiate an end to a nearly 20-year war in Afghanistan. Diplomats at the table will negotiate that. American Foreign Service officers will do that.

00:03:03We need to keep Iran and North Korea at bay and block their nuclear programs. We certainly are going to need to contend with two extremely difficult powerful

00:03:13authoritarian adversaries: China and Russia.  And our diplomats, many on the screen today currently serving, are going to be leading in that effort.

00:03:22So there's certainly a time now for the United States to step up and to commit more to a modern Foreign Service and Civil Service and we're convinced of that.

00:03:32Think of it another way, that in the last several decades, the United States, both Congress and administrations of both parties have said, we have to reform the military.

00:03:41After failure in Vietnam, that led to go water Nichols and the joint military that we have today, the extraordinary military we have today.

00:03:49The intelligence communities they have to reform themselves after 911 and after the failure of intelligence in Iraq in 2003. And so a similar effort has to be launched now.

00:04:03for the Foreign and Civil Service and it really has to come from the Foreign and Civil Service officers themselves. They're the ones who need to think through their future.

00:04:11They need to communicate to the new administration and to Congress what needs to be done. So that's the goal of this report. It’s to provide some very specific recommendations.

00:04:22And I think we'll put the report on chat will give you an electronic link.

00:04:26I'll ask Allison Hillegeist in a minute to all let you know how you can access the report if you want to print a copy we can mail one to you.

00:04:34If you'd like an electronic version, that's easy as well. I do want to emphasize this has been a nonpartisan effort at the beginning for two reasons.

00:04:42Marc and Marcie and I and Nancy when she was with us felt very strongly that reform had to be bipartisan.

00:04:49Both parties had to make a commitment to reform of the Foreign Service. So we wanted to be nonpartisan

00:04:55The other not so minor detail is Harvard University is the home of this project It’s where I'm employed and Harvard mandates that everything we do of this nature be nonpartisan. We have been thoroughly non partisan.

00:05:09During the last year we had grand dreams of having big conferences around the country where we'd sit down

00:05:15in hotels and government offices with people to talk about this. The pandemic forced us onto the zoom platform. We've had 40 workshops.

00:05:25We've met with the little over 200 people. Who have we met with? A lot of active-duty Foreign Service officers. A lot of recently departed

00:05:34Foreign and Civil Service officers. Former ambassadors, friends of ours, with whom we'd worked for a long, long time.

00:05:41Foreign diplomats, to get a sense of how they have thought through reforming their foreign ministries in Latin America in the Middle East in Asia and in Europe.

00:05:52We met with the military, and we learned a lot from our military brethren. We met with a group of very senior retired military officers, including two former chairs of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

00:06:02And they talked to us about reform had to be a brutal process of asking tough questions and the military had to own its failures and it had to look forward to reform itself.

00:06:13We talked to a group of former intelligence officers, including, in various conversations, two former directors of the CIA. They had the same message for us, has to come from within.

00:06:24People have to be dedicated to it, you do need outside support, but you have to reform yourself. We engaged the Trump State Department had a series of very good meetings

00:06:35with people at the undersecretary level with the Director General of the Foreign Service, the Director of the Foreign Service Institute.

00:06:43And we profited from those meetings to see how the Trump administration is thinking about reform. We met with the Biden transition team, as you would expect, because they have an intense interest in this subject.

00:06:55We met with four former Secretaries of State, we had worked for all of them, Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell, Condi Rice, Hillary Clinton.

00:07:04Boy, we learned a lot from them. They were all very interested, very engaged. They had a lot of ideas. They deeply care about the future of the Foreign Service.

00:07:15And similarly, had a very productive meeting with three former National Security Advisors from both parties. Steve Hadley, Tom Donaldson, and Susan Rice and they really challenged us

00:07:25to think boldly and think creatively about the future of the service. And of course, we've been meeting with members of Congress.

00:07:33Both in the US Senate and the US House of Representatives in both parties. We've met with staffs of the major committees

00:07:41in the Senate and House that have to deal with the State Department. And we really thought that we had to go out and talk to

00:07:48citizens about this. And so we have met with roughly 800 American citizens in town hall meetings. We've met with

00:07:55think tank conferences lot of university discussions, not just on the hybrid campus but elsewhere. And then we took advantage of

00:08:05this extraordinary organization the world Affairs Council of America. And we met with World Affairs Council chapters in

00:08:15Dallas Fort Worth, Peoria, Nashville, Cleveland, Boston. And we're going to be talking at the World Affairs Council annual meeting tomorrow.

00:08:26And last but not least, and this is definitely not least, we've relied on the guidance of Ambassador Eric Rubin and the American Foreign Service Association.

00:08:37They don't have to own anything that we are recommending. In fact, I'm sure they'll disagree with some of what we're recommending but the wisdom and experience of AFSA has been really important. All three of us are members.

00:08:48of the American Foreign Service Association, and will be doing an event with Ambassador Rubin and the AFSA membership on Thursday, just to really listen

00:08:57to the thoughts of our currently serving and retired officers. All of this was done with one purpose, and that's to honor the women and the men of the current Foreign Service, the people that we really care about and that we feel we have a debt to.

00:09:13A debt to repay to be true to them and true to the Foreign Service, which we're so so proud of. So I want to thank all of all of the people

00:09:22who have helped us along the way. Finally, have to thank Harvard Kennedy School because Harvard Kennedy School has helped to establish the project, project and underwrite the project.

00:09:32And Allison Hillegeist. We could not have done this project without you, the deputy director of our Future of Diplomacy Project.

00:09:41You wouldn't have, we wouldn't have this meeting, we wouldn't have the electronic version or the print version without Allison Hillegeist.

00:09:47We wouldn't without Caroline Kim. Caroline is a second-year student at the Harvard Kennedy School. She's a really smart person,

00:09:56who's a Rangle Fellow. She's going to enter the Foreign Service this coming June and July. We're very proud of Caroline. You know, as we talked about all these difficult issues,

00:10:06and they're really difficult issues, we would sometimes apologize to Caroline saying,

00:10:10 “we hope you still want to join the Foreign Service”, after talking about all these big problems for a couple of hours, but she will, and she's going to make us proud.

00:10:18We're very thankful to Georgiy Kent.  Georgiy’s a Harvard College junior, he’s an undergrad. And he and Caroline have been our research assistants and they have done fabulous work.

00:10:29Archival research, looking deep into the history of the Foreign Service, looking at US law. And Georgiy couldn't be here, because he's in class.

00:10:38But I know his dad is here. I know it's Dad, are our friend George Kent is really proud of his son Georgiy. I want to thank Naima Green-Riley. Naima was a Foreign Service officer.

00:10:49She served in Alexandria and in China. She's now a Harvard PhD student because she is slightly younger by about four decades than the rest of us.

00:10:59She was able to give us real insights into the Foreign Service today.

00:11:03And to what you have some of the younger officers are thinking of. And Naima I know you're here, and I want to thank you on behalf of Marc and Marcie for that.

00:11:10Thank you to Erika Manouselis and Cathryn Cluver of the Future of Diplomacy Project. And finally, we have a lot of supporters here

00:11:18that gave us the support to carry out this project. Nick Kukrica and Andrea Kukrica, Scott Nathan, Dwight and Kirsten Poler, and Seth and Beth Klarman.

00:11:30These are people who believed in us and we're thankful to them and the Una Chapman Cox Foundation and our great friend Ambassador Lino Gutierrez

00:11:39They've been they've been engaged. They've been supportive. They've been an active part of this, as they always are

00:11:45 on every project to support the Foreign Service. So thank you to everybody. Here's the order of battle. I'm going to ask Marc and Marcie to add, subtract, correct any mistakes in my introduction and then the three of us thought we would run down very, very quickly.

00:12:06Hopefully the recording continues. We're going to run down the 10 action steps that comprise the heart of this report.

00:12:12What are the action steps are the reforms that need to be undertaken by the Congress and the new administration and administrations into the future

00:12:21to reform the Foreign Service. That's what we'll do. Then we'll take your questions and comments. We hope that

00:12:26you'll let us know what you think challenge us disagree, if you wish. We're looking forward to a good conversation and we'll conclude this by 11:45am. Marc and Marcie look forward to your comments.

Marc Grossman

00:12:39Nick Thank you very much, just to introduce myself, my name is Marc Grossman, Nick. I think you covered the waterfront. I just wanted to make four quick points.

00:12:47First, just to emphasize the point that you made about why we did this. And you very rightly said it was to honor the people, men and women who are serving all around the world today.

00:12:56And that is absolutely true. The other reason that we did this, all of us, was for the people who will serve in the future.

00:13:03Because we think that Americans will need great diplomats for years and years and years to come. So we hope that some of these reforms, some of these ideas will attract more people will attract new people and attract them

00:13:16in a different way. Second, just to emphasize as you did, the importance of non-partisanship. Third I'll get to this

00:13:23very important point that you made about the Foreign Service culture itself.

00:13:27One of the things we've been very honest about is, is that the problems did not come to us 100% from the outside. And one of the things that the service will have to do is to earn its way back

00:13:38to this effort to be the central executer and policymaker inside of inside of the United States government.  And fourth, I know people don't go immediately

00:13:51to the acknowledgments section of any of these reports.

00:13:54But Nick really gave you a sense of who has helped us. And it's been an enormous and terrific group of people.

00:14:01snd so I hope that when you get the report, go back there and look at the acknowledgments because we oh so many people so much. Thank you. And I just wanted to join Nick and thank you everybody who's helped us get to this day. Thank you.

Nick Burns

00:14:16Thank you, Marc. Marcie Ambassador Ries.

Marcie Ries

00:14:19Hi, my name is Marcie Ries. I have to say I really have enjoyed being a part of this project.

00:14:27We're now entering a new phase. And we’ve only we've only accomplished one part, which is to produce our report and the next phase is to get support for our recommendations, and hopefully some

00:14:40forward movement on them. So I hope all of you will think hard about it will provide us with your comments will engage with us.

00:14:50And in the future will become supporters of a project that will need a lot of support from the new administration from the Congress, and also, especially from current and former Foreign Service officers, is it is to succeed.

Nick Burns

00:15:09Marcie. Thank you. Before we go down our list of action steps. Allison, I just want to make sure that we are can make this report available electronically to people on this zoom call. They can also elect a print copy

00:15:24People make fun of me. The younger people at the Kennedy School print copies. I said yes print copies, because I'm an older guy. Allison, do you want to tell people how they can do that.

Alison Hillegeist

00:15:35Hi, good morning, everybody. I will repost the link in the chat for anybody who joined late and didn't see the link previously. But also on that page. If you would like to request a printed copy, you can do so there.

00:15:46We are in special circumstances, so it will take longer than it usually would. So we appreciate your patience in advance.

Nick Burns

00:15:54Alison. Thank you again. So let's go down. Why don't the three of us just go down

00:16:00the 10 action steps that we're proposing. This is a 71-page report, it's deeply researched because we're an academic institution. We wanted to have endnotes. We do thanks to Caroline and thanks to Georgiy Kent

00:16:13But we have 10 action steps. I'll just start Marc and Marcie with the first one will march down them. I think we know the order. We're going to go in.

00:16:20The first thing that we're recommending that a new administration and Congress do is rethink and redefine the mission and mandate

00:16:29of the Foreign Service. It's not often that Congress or even any American President stops to think, “what's the mission.

00:16:36pf this cabinet agency?” And this is the oldest cabinet agency in the United States government, first to be created. That's why the Secretary of State's fifth in line

00:16:45 to the presidency. And we think that the Congress and President should work on a bipartisan basis to rethink this because we have a Foreign Service that is grounded in, in many ways, it's not the fault of the men and women the Foreign Service, but in terms of the authorization,

00:17:00in the Cold War. And so we're calling on the Congress and the President to do that. We think there should be much stronger budgetary support.

00:17:09going forward for the State Department from administrations, in Congress. We don't think the State Department and USAID

00:17:16can do their jobs without that. So we're calling on President Elect Joe Biden and Congress to define a new mandate and a new mission for the Foreign Service. One part of that will be to protect

00:17:29the authorities that an American Ambassador has overseas. And that's to be the President's personal representative to receive that letter from the President saying you're in charge of American

00:17:41interest in a particular country. And a lot of our brethren from other agencies, tell us that that position is being eroded. So that's the first thing. Marc, I think you're I think you're next.

Marc Grossman

00:17:55Yes, Nick. Thank you very much. So, I’d just like to talk for a moment about this idea that we have for a new Foreign Service Act.

00:18:03And I will say up front. And when we started this effort, we weren't sure what we thought about this question. In fact, I think most of us leaned a little bit toward leave things as they are. As you all know, three acts this century, 1924, 1947, 1980,

00:18:19actually last century, are the defining aspects of the Foreign Service and we listened very carefully to the people who we had a chance to speak to. And we came over these six or seven months to believe

00:18:32That it was time to have a new Foreign Service Act. I should say first of all that we recognize that that's not without risk.

00:18:40And we especially listen to those of our colleagues current and former who told us about their anxieties and their worries

00:18:49about a new Foreign Service Act. And we tried very hard to be clear in the report that there are many things in the 1980 act,

00:18:56that should be moved forward and must be moved forward and you'll read in there, that we would oppose any new Foreign Service Act that didn't have the

00:19:06 basic principles of the 1980s act. But for a couple of important reasons, we thought this is the time to go forward. One, 40 years, so much has changed. It's time to have people rethink the purposes of the Foreign Service.

00:19:21Secondly, we also listen carefully to our military and intelligence colleagues, and what did they tell us. Unless you have some of these things in the law,

00:19:30they won't last. You can't hold on to them. And that's the lesson of Goldwater Nichols. And so if you think about the recommendations that follow,

00:19:38so many of them would be so much more powerful if they're in the law, maybe one example.

00:19:4415% added number of people for training, for training for professional education. And what happens if that's not in the line. They're not fenced off. Boom,

00:19:55they end up someplace else. So the money for those people, the purpose of those people are the kinds of things that we'd like to keep into this law.

00:20:03Final point for me on this chapter, is it possible? Well, one of the things that we learned in our seven months, there's considerable interest on Capitol Hill Republicans and Democrats.

00:20:14in possibly doing something in this in this area and as Marcie said, the next step is the hard step which is can we get support for this report and part of that will be to discover whether there's interest in a new Foreign Service Act. So Nick Thank you very much.

00:20:30Oh, I'm sorry.

Nick Burns

00:20:31You’ve got the next one Marc.

Marc Grossman

00:20:33 Sorry, I was looking at the wrong piece of paper. So the next one is change the culture. And as you can imagine, this is an enormous enormously challenging question.

00:20:43But we were honest very honest first with ourselves, and then we were honest with every group that we met. Which was to say that, as I did before, that many of the problems that are

00:20:55today in the Foreign Service are not problems that came to us from the outside, that they have to do with the culture

00:21:02inside of the Foreign Service. And so, we wanted very much to speak to that openly. You'll see in the report that the very first thing in this report is what's good about the culture because there's so much that's good about the culture.

00:21:14There's service and patriotism and sacrifice and family. And those are all things that should be honored. We wanted to start with that.

00:21:24But there's also huge challenges to the service and will come too many of them.

00:21:29There's a, there's a question of telling truth to power. There's questions of diversity. There's questions of how we speak to each other. You all speak to each other now

00:21:38as peers. Now there's come a lack of trust between the service and the political leadership. And so there are a whole list of things

00:21:47that are cultural changes that need to be that need to be dealt with. And we've offered some ideas about how to do so. Finaly, and that's risk.

00:21:56One of the things that you hear about Foreign Service people is, oh Foreign Service People don't take risk.

00:22:01Well, one of the people who was on the call said, “are you kidding me. Look at the plaques on C Street. People take plenty of risk.” And so there's no question, I think,

00:22:10about the physical courage of people. It's the question of, is there a risk taking inside of the policy making area? But because risk is so important,

00:22:20we wanted to help the argument to move risk management, I'm sorry from risk avoidance to risk management.

00:22:26And it's one of the reasons that we are strong supporters of the American Academy of Diplomacy’s effort

00:22:32to change the Accountability Review Board system. And I know that there are a number of people from the AAD on this call today and we thank you for that. And we highlighted that in our report. Thank you very much.

Nick Burns

00:22:44Marc. Thank you. So, we're recommending first, change the mission and mandate of the State Department refine it for the 21st century. Second,

00:22:53we believe the Congress to pass a new Foreign Service Act. Third, we believe it's only really the currently serving officers.

00:23:00who can work on the culture to transform the service from the ground up. And here's a fourth, and it's not fourth and importance. It's the extraordinarily crisis of diversity

00:23:12within the State Department and Foreign Service and Civil Service today. I think in every meeting that we had, this came up

00:23:21In every meeting that we had, we heard testimony from currently serving officers, from the affinity groups that are working on this,

00:23:29of the lack of progress. If you look at the senior Foreign Service today in 2020 the representation of African Americans, of Latino officers is not much hasn't changed much

00:23:42in the 20 years since 9/11 if you look at African American ambassadors in the Trump administration, there are 189 ambassadors five of them are African American.

00:23:55In President Obama's administration, 46 African American ambassadors. In President George W. Bush's administration, 44

00:24:04African American ambassadors. There's a crisis, we heard it from the junior officer ranks from the mid level ranks from the senior level ranks.

00:24:15Our recommendations are that the next Secretary of State and the next Deputy Secretary state have to be absolutely seized by this problem.

00:24:23And they have to own the problem and they have to lead. A lot of people said, we say to, there should be a Chief Diversity Officer in the State Department to promote change through the ranks,

00:24:35both at home and overseas. But that Chief Diversity Officer is only going to be able to succeed if the new Secretary of State

00:24:41and Deputy Secretary of State have owned the problem themselves and want that person in the process to succeed.

00:24:48You'll see in the report that we believe that Congress and the Administration should consider the establishment of an ROTC type

00:24:56effort for the State Department and USAID to reach young kids in high schools, colleges, graduate schools to encourage them,

00:25:04especially kids from, young people from underrepresented communities, to encourage them to think about a career of public service in the Foreign Service and also to

00:25:15then have the government help them afford the cost of education to get to the Foreign Service. We heard a lot of very good ideas from the affinity groups. There's so much good that's happening

00:25:27at the ground level up from Foreign and Civil Service officers who have taken this diversity issue on. We met with a lot of them. They're the true experts and I hope some of them will speak up today.

00:25:37What they told us is if you have a structural problem like diversity, it requires bold structural solutions. And so that's what we're trying to suggest

00:25:49They also said to us, you've got to enforce accountability. When someone is assessed for promotion

00:25:54as a junior officer to the mid-levels or a mid-level officer to senior level or a senior officer up for an Ambassadorship or a Deputy Chief of Mission position,

00:26:06they really shouldn't be promoted unless they have proven that they are not just sensitive to diversity, but they've done something about it. They've mentored someone. They've pushed for change.

00:26:16They have pulled somebody up to positions of responsibility and been a good friend and a good boss to those people. And so we think that needs to be mandated. That was the advice that we had from the affinity groups and we were convinced by it.

00:26:32So I think our fifth priority action step is professionalization for our diplomats and Marcie I think you're going to walk through that one.

Marcie Ries

00:26:42Yes, indeed. So, when he was Secretary of State Colin Powell was fond of asking people, “so how much, how much training and education have you had?” And

00:26:54a lot of Foreign Service officers would say, well, if you don't count language training, maybe a few months here and there.

00:27:01 “Oh,” Secretary Powell would say “I had about seven years in a career of 30 plus years.” So, he took on this subject, as did several other

00:27:13Secretaries of State who brought us the Foreign Service Institute, the wonderful facility in Arlington, a new leadership and management school

00:27:25a Center for the Study of lessons learned. But much more needs to be done to increase the professionalization of the Foreign Service.

00:27:36Today, our approach to education is actually one of training. By that I mean we teach people trade craft and we, I think, do a pretty good job of it.

00:27:48But instead, what the Foreign Service needs is a career long commitment to education. It needs to be that when you come in the Foreign Service you get

00:27:59a really serious orientation to our diplomatic history and to Washington and to the craft of diplomacy. Then at about the mid-level, there needs to be very serious management training.

00:28:17This relates to

00:28:19mixed comments about diversity in particular. People talked about how first-time managers really weren't helpful in in launching new entrance on their career.

00:28:32And so it really is very important to teach those first-time managers, the skills that they need. And finally, at the senior level,

00:28:41We think that there needs to be another six months of training and that training ought to be shared with people from other cabinet agencies who work on foreign policy and with military officers. That kind of cross colonization is really very important.

00:29:01The Foreign Service has really,

00:29:05in a way, A “learn by doing” mentality. And that needs to change from that to a commitment to career long education.

Nick Burns

00:29:18Marcie. Thank you. Thank you very much for that. And that's our fifth recommendation professionalization. Marc Grossman is now going to review three really big structural changes that were proposing for the career Foreign and Civil Service.

00:29:37Marc, you're muted.

Marc Grossman

00:29:42I was relying on the outside. I mean,

00:29:45Thank you very much. I'm going to start with the question of personnel, making the personnel system or modern and flexible and I will start right where Marcie did.

00:29:55Which is, first of all, to pay tribute to the work that has been done over the past 25 years to make the personnel system better.

00:30:03And we give a lot of respect to the changes that have been made.  And we had a very good set of sessions, as Nick said,

00:30:11with the current administration with the Director General, the Undersecretary for Management and many of the things that they are doing cross very

00:30:19very clearly with what we are proposing as well. But there's no question that major change needs to be made. And so, what we've tried to do

00:30:28is lay out a series of ideas and then give thought to what this new personnel system would look like. And what I'd like to do for my moment or two to talk about personnel,

00:30:39is to talk a little bit specifically and give you a sense of numbers and money of what it is that we are recommending. First, as I said in my introduction,

00:30:49the fundamental recommendation. In fact, it runs through the entire report is to now finally get

00:30:56a 15% float for training and transit. Mostly for professional education, and it should be fenced off, and it should be

00:31:05funded long into the future. Without this, very little of the of the other things we're going we've recommended really will have a great foundation.

00:31:14And what number would that be? Well today, that would be about 2000 new Foreign Service people, and would cost about $400 million and we want to make sure, as I say that this is

00:31:26fenced off. It's for the purposes of professional education. And that was certainly an idea that we got as Marcie said

00:31:33from our military colleagues. Second, then, we've had the question for many of the people we’ve spoken to, is the Foreign Service the right size?

00:31:42We thought about this considerably and whether it has to be some decisions made, one, to get the 15%, two, to get most Foreign Service people out

00:31:51 into the field and not in Washington, to shrink down some of the giant embassies that have been built after the land wars.

00:31:58That after those things are done, we think the Foreign Service ought to grow by another 1400 to 1800 positions. That's about 600 million 800 million dollars.

00:32:10And I would say, given, the analysis that's been done, most of that will come in office management specialists, doctors, IT. Those are where the gaps are.

00:32:20And those are the gaps that need to be filled. And so it's 15%. It's getting the structure right and moving on to another 14 or 1800 people.

00:32:32I'd like then for a moment, then, to go to the next recommendation number seven, which is to adapt to a new world of work, a modern and more flexible,

00:32:42by having a mid-level entry program and I know this is one of the recommendations that will be controversial, and again a little bit like the Foreign Service Act

00:32:51we didn't start out with a predetermine view on what we wanted here. But we came to think, after seven months of working on this, that the world is changing.

00:33:01The world is changing. The people we're recruiting are changing. The way work is done is changing. And we have to deal with this new world.

00:33:11One of the things that we have come to conclude, though, is that while the world is changing, there are certain things that remain extremely important

00:33:19to a Foreign Service of the United States of America, to an American diplomatic service and that is hierarchy,

00:33:26and it is discipline, and it's experience. These are still things that matter to the conduct of diplomacy. The other thing that we found,

00:33:35Ambassador Burns in his work, myself, Marcie, we teach we mentor. And what do we find? There are many people who are interested in joining the Foreign Service for a career.

00:33:47And there ought to be an availability and have a tendency to make sure that they could do this. The question is, though, how do you find the right balance. How do you use a defined

00:33:58midlevel entry program to bring in people with specialties in AI in food security, and climate, things that people need. It's also a very important way I think.

00:34:10To increase the possibilities for diversity that inside of the Foreign Service. And it may be a way also to bring people back into the service.

00:34:18Who have left over the past few years. What we're recommending is an experiment in this to see if we can find the right balance to bring in 25

00:34:29mid-level entrants in a first year 25 and a second, 50 and a third and up to about 500 people

00:34:36overall, and see how this works. Final point here, is that these people recruits in the mid-level entry would have to meet

00:34:45extremely rigorous and clear criteria because one of the worries of course is that it could be used for politicization, but we will, you will see in our report, a very clear set of criteria about new level entrance

00:35:00Final point for me and that's number eight, and that is we came to conclude that it was time now, after many years of talking about and thinking about it to go ahead and get a Diplomatic Reserve Corps.

00:35:14In our careers, what did we see. We saw that when it came time for the State Department to surge into an emergency. It was hard to do.

00:35:22We also found that it was hard to bring people in, in, in terms of specialized skills, who would only want to serve for a short period of time.

00:35:31We also think that a diplomatic Reserve Corps would be a reciprocal agent and that people who came to the State Department

00:35:38for a reserve career for their training for assignments for deployments will then go back to their home communities,

00:35:46and be ambassadors for the State Department and for the Foreign Service. And so you'll see in the report, we've recommended again, a test of this of hiring

00:35:5820 250 reservists over a period of four years for 1000. We were greatly benefited that for us and work that was done for us first order piece of work on the budget.

00:36:11Probably in the 20 $25 million range over the first few years and then probably about $35 million a year to keep this sustained beyond

00:36:21If you think of the numbers that I've been talking about $400 million for 2000 people at 15%. Over time and other 600 to $800 million for 14 to 1800 more people.

00:36:35A Reserve Corps that you could fund for $35 million a year. For us that seems, of course, like money, but of course in the scope of things, those are the kinds of pieces

00:36:46that we will call on the Congress and the Administration to proceed with, to better balance and to strengthen the US Diplomatic Service. So, I know Marcie, we leave you to last for a new name.

Nick Burns

00:36:59We've got one more before we do that, Marc, and that's

00:37:02the non issue of

00:37:05 appointments. Let me just say first of all, I've been following the discussion in chat and it's really good. We use chat in class. We think it really enhances discussion. And I thank everybody who's

00:37:17who's contributing ideas on chat. We have two more action steps that we're recommending and the ninth is this: we need a stronger and more nonpartisan Foreign Service. What does that mean?

00:37:28We need the Foreign Service, we believe the Foreign Service should have a greater access to senior positions. We are the only country in the world that has such a high number of political appointees, both at the State Department in Washington and overseas in the ambassadorial core.

00:37:46Since the Kennedy administration, the average of the ratio of serving ambassadors career to political was about 70% to 30%, 70% career ambassadors and most administration's 30% political appointee ambassadors.

00:38:03These are Democrat and Republican administrations who have sustained this particular practice now for about 60 years. We think it should change.

00:38:12We think it should change because if you don't provide access at the climax of a career, the end of a career to are well trained, experienced Foreign Service officers, access to those positions of responsibility

00:38:26within the State Department in Washington and any ambassadorial level, then you're really depriving the United States

00:38:32of your most experienced officers serving where they're needed most. A couple of data points. The State Department has more political appointees than any other cabinet agency of the United States government.

00:38:46Currently, of our 23 Senate confirmed Assistant Secretaries of State, not a single one of them is a career Foreign Service officer, we believe that’s the first time in a century of the

00:38:58history of the Foreign Service where that's taking place. These are ambassadorial level, the line managers of our foreign policy

00:39:06in every region of the world on every big sector in the world and for the first time, not a single one of those people right now

00:39:14in the State Department is a Senate confirmed Foreign Service officer some. There are some Foreign Service officers in acting capacity.

00:39:23But the Trump administration has not decided has decided not to put them up over the last several years for Senate confirmation

00:39:31We think that has to change. And so we're recommending frankly substantial change to the way that Republican and Democratic administrations act

00:39:40towards the Foreign Service. We believe that 90% of our ambassadors should be Foreign Service.

00:39:45We believe at 75% of our Assistant Secretary of State should be career foreign and I should say Career Service foreign and Civil Service in both cases.

00:39:56We certainly believe that, by law, the Under Secretary of State for political affairs, traditionally, the third ranking person at State Department should be a career Foreign Service officer.

00:40:09There are five Undersecretaries. Perhaps two of them, including the Undersecretary for Political Affairs should be career officers. We think these changes should be mandated and put into American law.

00:40:21Let me tell you how this was received in our conversations on Capitol Hill with former Secretaries of State with people in both political parties.

00:40:30This is real change. And I think we probably had more opposition frankly outside this Foreign Service to these

00:40:39to these reforms have any that we're recommending. But we're standing by them, we can't, we can't imagine, or can you imagine if we so politicized the military?

00:40:51The officer corps, we wouldn't think of it.  We wouldn’t think of having a political appointee Captain an aircraft carrier.

00:40:59We are. We have not politicized the intelligence community, and we shouldn't. We think there's a real role for political appointees, a real role.

00:41:07We have outstanding people from business from universities from think tanks become American ambassadors. Some of them are on this call and their close friends of ours, and we've talked to them about this.

00:41:18We've got standing political appointees in the State Department. We want a role for them. But right now, the Foreign Service is essentially in the Civil Service are essentially blocked.

00:41:28from a lot of leadership positions and why train an entire core of people over the course of 25 to 30 years and then say to them but you can't compete for most of the top jobs. It doesn't make sense for the United States, that's our position.

00:41:43And we're sticking with it. And this is going to be a very tough conversation. I think in the real world, in Washington we understand that. I won't name the people who called me and

00:41:56My brethren, crazy for promoting these ideas. But if it's crazy, we believe in this kind of craziness for the future. So that's our ninth action step and Marcie

00:42:08We saved the best for last is something we didn't plan on, but it kind of emerged in the conversation.

Marcie Ries

00:42:18Before I launch into the name. I just want to quickly pick up something that I saw in the chat, where somebody raised the question of

00:42:27the population, the average American knowing about the Foreign Service. And that's something we've talked quite a lot about is a

00:42:37a better alignment between the Foreign Service and the average American, between what we do for what we do for people

00:42:45 so that they know about it. And that's one of the advantages, actually, of having a Foreign Service reserve because those people live in communities and they after they serve

00:42:56in the Foreign Service would go back to those communities and share what they've done and what diplomats are doing on the front lines for the American people. Now to the name.

00:43:08So we brought up the question of a new name in many of our workshops and I have to say I was a little surprised that the reaction was pretty uniformly positive to changing it.

00:43:22And talking to people in the business community, a lot of the underscore all the literature says that if you undertake very serious transformation, changing the name should be part of it.

00:43:35Foreign in fact seems a little quaint to our ears. The, the name Foreign Service, then it wasn't really a name. It just described a category really came up in the 19th century,

00:43:46and it was talking about the console or service and our representation which at that time was at the level of minister. But today looking at looking at it,

00:43:58it seems it seems backwards over what we want to start with the word foreign. So we think starting with United States is far better.

00:44:07Diplomatic describes what we do. We do diplomacy. And service is what we are committed to.

00:44:15So the name that we came up with was United States Diplomatic Service. And we think that that would be a good way to show that we really have undertaken basic transformational change of service that is ready to go forward into the 21st century.

Nick Burns

00:44:34Marcie. Thank you. As Marcie said we actually polled people at the end of all nearly all the 40 workshops, and

00:44:40you can count on one hand, the people who thought this was not a good idea. There was overwhelming support that we should be the United States Diplomatic Service. So those are our 10 action steps. You can, behind the executive summary is a… Each of these has a detailed chapter

00:44:57with a lot of research, a lot of data to try to buttress our recommendations for what we're

00:45:03what we're trying to do. I think this amounts to bold transformational reform. Our friend Ambassador Christie Kenny told us in our very first meeting, She said “you got to be bold.”

00:45:12So I don't know if Christie's on today. But we always thought a Christie, our former ambassador to Thailand and

00:45:18The Philippines when when we thought about big transformational change. We’d welcome your comments. You all know zoom protocol.

00:45:26Just go into the participants bar at the bottom, or maybe it's at the top of your screen if you have an iPad.

00:45:31Just press the raise hand button, we’ll call on people in order. We’ll get as many people in as we can. We're looking for your feedback. Any questions, I see Marc Hanis first and then Ambassador Cynthia Schneider

Marc Hanis

00:45:46Thanks so much, and thanks for the great work on this report.  In terms of the diversity inclusion, I love the recommendation two points a Chief Diversity Officer.

00:45:54I was curious, the NFL and the legal community have adopted the Rooney rule, or it's called Mansfield rule as an inclusion rule to start being more intentional about when you hire, promote

00:46:06people you look at their demographic makeup. And I was wondering if you discussed creating an inclusion rule, and if so, why was it, why didn't make the cut. And if not, what do you think about an exclusion rule?

Nick Burns

00:46:19Marc. Thank you. And we'll try to we're happy to carry on more extended conversations, everybody will just try to give you

00:46:26A quick answer to your questions, so that we can then get a lot of people in, but I'm happy to follow up with you or any of us would be.

00:46:32We did not debate Rooney type rule or the NFL solution. But we did, you know the advice we received from affinity groups is you need to look at recruitment.

00:46:42And that's the idea that we've adopted, other people suggested to us of an ROTC type program that would look at…

00:46:50That would really focused on under represented communities in the United States. You have to look at retention, because we are losing people at the junior officer level and

00:46:58putting people on this call who've decided that they had to leave,

00:47:03because they didn't feel that the path forward was a straight and true one for themselves. It wasn't open to them. And we've lost people at the senior level.

00:47:12A lot of this. So you've got to think of it from soup to nuts recruitment, retention and promotion, how you promote people.

00:47:19The best, we talked to businesses. Businesses, look down into the ranks and try to identify leaders of the future.

00:47:26And they give them special training. The State Department and Foreign Service and Civil Service or to do that. We ought to be identifying people for promotion.

00:47:35And and the people who are in charge have to be held accountable to progress. But we didn't go to a Rooney type rule. And we can talk about that. If at more length, if you, if you wish, Cynthia. Great to see you, Ambassador Cynthia Schneider

Cynthia Schneider

00:47:51 Thanks so much, Nick and bravo, all of you. This is really, really exciting. First, I volunteer, if you need a political appointee ambassador,

00:48:04to support fewer political appointee ambassadors. I'm happy to do that. I say this to Marc Grossman who swore me in. But a small dose of reality.

00:48:16For the big posts in Europe which mine. The Netherlands doesn't fall into, but, Great Britain Rome, Paris, the political appointee ambassadors there spend a lot of their own personal money,

00:48:32on representation which you all know was not you know wine and salmon, but actually connecting

00:48:38with the country that you're in. So something budgetarily needs to be done so that Foreign Service officers can just as easily

00:48:47do that, as they should. And you know it's happened in the past, Admiral Crowe was the ambassador in London. It's not impossible, but that is just

00:48:55a fact. Then the risk. You know that it's so important that you bring in risk. As Marc may remember, I held the first international biotechnology conference that had ever been held in State.

00:49:09I don't think a career officer could have done that, you know. It could have been a catastrophe and and, aside from a brief bomb threat,

00:49:18it was actually a huge success and led eventually to State Department becoming much more engaged in biotechnology, eventually having Ambassador for biotechnology. But for career officer, you know, it was very risky. So the risk is really, really important.

00:49:37Then I have a question. I didn't hear you mentioned this, and perhaps I missed it somehow. But what about cones?

00:49:45Which also seem to me to be a vestige of another era. And I gather, there's more blurring. But I mean, who thinks politics is separate from economics is separate from refugees and migration and, you know, this is my schtick

00:50:02Public Diplomacy and cultural diplomacy. Everyone should be engaging in every job they have. And you have officers like Bruce Wharton who's done that in Africa. I mean, it's happening.

00:50:18But you know artists, cultural leaders, are not some little separate thing that you do on Sunday afternoon, you know, they're I'm working with them. They're countering violent extremism and Mali and all over the Sahel.

00:50:31And I want you political people to listen to them. So what are you doing about breaking down the cone structure.

Nick Burns

00:50:39Cynthia. Thank you very much on your end. Thank you. And if everyone doesn't know Ambassador Schneider was a real leader when were we were ambassadors together and Western Europe on cultural diplomacy on American soft power, and I always appreciated that about Cynthia's time as Ambassador to the Netherlands.

00:50:57I think Marc and I can both answer your question Marc. I'll take the first issue. Maybe you could take the second, then I'm going to call on

00:51:03Ambassador Negroponte John Negroponte and Herb Hicks and Mike McKinley, and just seeing them all line up with their blue raise hand button. So I'll call on you next, on the issue of

00:51:13of expenses that ambassadors have to assume in certain countries versus others that should not be a factor in denying

00:51:22currently serving Foreign Service officer becoming ambassador in one of those countries, the State Department should make up the difference. If that is

00:51:30 an issue. I think it has been in the past and the State Department's done it in the past time with Ray sites.

00:51:35When Ray became career Foreign Service officer, ambassador to London State Department said we don't expect you to dig into your pocket for $5 trillion

00:51:44to maintain, you know, the activities of the Embassy. So I think that can be done. But thank you for raising it and we didn't want to get into down in the weeds too much, but we do have a proposal on cones that Marc can talk about.

Marc Grossman

00:51:56Yeah, thank you very much. We do have a proposal on cones which is based, exactly, Cynthia on your idea, which is how is it possible to think about people in the various ways that they do their work that they're not doing things all together.

00:52:10We thought, for example, who sees more people every single day, in a host country, then you're young consular officer, right, that's not public diplomacy? Of course it is.

00:52:19That political officers say to themselves, oh, selling things for American business promoting American exports promoting America investment that's somebody else's job. No, it's everybody's job. And so precisely

00:52:30for the points that you make, there's a there are two piece places in the report where the cone system comes up. And in both cases we've called it: time to get rid of this caste system

00:52:40which only draws distinction between people and creates tension inside of the State Department, not just inside the Foreign Service between the Foreign Service

00:52:49and the Civil Service. And so we've benefited from a lot of good advice. So what we've recommended is to abolish it. Bring in everybody as diplomats, as foreign as we hope.

00:53:02Diplomatic Service Officers and specialist, bring them all in together.

00:53:06And then everybody serves in various different places up to the time that they're getting ready to be tenured.

00:53:12In the middle, what do you do you try to seek jobs that enhance your capacities, rather than inside your specific cone, so that when people get ready to move into the senior ranks,

00:53:23they're ready to actually be leaders of the entire system. And so we thank you for raising it. And as Nick said we were a little bit worried about getting too far down into the call into into the weeds. But twice, we talked about cones and very much along the lines that you recommend.

Nick Burns

00:53:39Thank you, Marc. I just want to salute Ambassador John Negroponte. A great Foreign Service officer and Deputy Secretary state with whom I proudly served John

John Negroponte

00:53:49Thank you Nick and thanks to you and Marcie and Marc and all the others who've

00:53:55worked on this very important program. I

00:54:00was just reflecting on the fact that, like this past October 5 was my 60th anniversary of entering United States Foreign Service, and I cherish all the experiences I had in the service and

00:54:17in the department. And I think you've got a just a very rich report here in terms of the variety of recommendations. I sent a chat around on what concerns me as the main question and that is

00:54:35is is legislation really needed to achieve this?

00:54:41And how much time would that take

00:54:44as opposed to getting the new administration to implement the requisite policy changes

00:54:52as early as possible. And I was thinking, particularly

00:54:57with respect to something like getting a good number of career

00:55:03people in assistant secretary positions in the department. Well, I mean, we want to get to the new administration about that and get the president to want to

00:55:12send a signal to the Foreign Service that he really cares about the service and makes those kinds of appointments, very early on. I remember when I worked for

00:55:25President Elect Bush I was still Deputy National Security Advisor. He told me when he named Ray Sites myself Mike Armacost several others to Tom Pickering to top diplomatic positions he told me directly, “I want to send a positive signal to the US Foreign Service.” So

00:55:49policy versus legislation. And then the other issue I raised was I remember back in 1980 there was a lot of talk about

00:55:58sn involvement actually in the legislation of the foreign agricultural service the FCS and this and that. Do you deal with that the issue of the other Foreign Services as well in your report? I haven't gotten into it that deeply.

Nick Burns

00:56:15John congratulations on your 60th anniversary in the Foreign Service that's an extraordinary achievement.


00:56:21I don't know about that.

Nicholas Burns

00:56:22It is extraordinary.

00:56:24On your first point, one of the most memorable meetings we had were was with former senior military officers, including two former chairs the Joint Chiefs of Staff and they said

00:56:35if you want to build a danger of the Foreign and Civil Service, you've got to have it in law. If you need a training float. So 15 the military as a 15% training float.

00:56:44at any given day 15% of the military are training Colin Powell spent seven of 35 years in the army in training.

00:56:52Marc and I probably a couple of months in our career outside of language training truly.

00:56:58And it showed in my case, the lack of training, that's for sure. So we're trying to build this in and they told us legislate it because if it's not in legislation,

00:57:07it's going to disappear. We had a training float Colin Powell gave us the training float it disappeared

00:57:14when you and I were working together. You were Deputy Secretary. I was Under Secretary. We had to surge into Iraq and Afghanistan, we just didn't have enough people.

00:57:22And so we had to take people out of ambassadorships and senior positions and send them to Baghdad in Kabul and we lost the training float.

00:57:30So we were, we took that to heart and part of the proposal that Marc reviewed is 15% training float, that's an increase in the size of the Foreign Service. It's legislated so nobody can take it away from you, without changing American law.

00:57:45So I, I hope that answers your, your question Marc. Do you want to add to that?

Marc Grossman

00:57:51I would. Nick, I think john that you're exactly right though. And one of the questions we've been asked, is the question you asked, which is aren't there some of these things that can be done right away?

00:58:02And absolutely. There are signals to be sent their jobs to be done. And so if you look through the report you would hope that a new administration and we hope again,

00:58:13being nonpartisan, that whoever takes the oath of office, whoever was going to take the oath of office and our President Elect Biden, there are things in this report that you could do right away. Absolutely.

00:58:22Second thing I just wanted to answer your second question on the Foreign Commercial Service Foreign agricultural service.

00:58:28We found that we just we couldn't answer everybody's question. And so what we have said in the report is that we hope that some of the ideas that we put forward,

00:58:38will benefit the Foreign Services in other agencies. And that would certainly be true of the professional education. Some of the other ideas.

00:58:48But we’re very explicit in the beginning of the report, you'll see that we want these things to apply to them, but we just weren't prepared to take on and could take on

00:58:57the whole answer to the question, for example of, you know, should they be reintegrated, how are they dealt with. The Director General has, you know, does have some scope on those services as well. But we thought best to do what it is we could and leave some of this to the future.

Nick Burns

00:59:17Thank you very much. I want to call on Irvin Hicks, who's a senior advisor in the bureau for International Narcotics and Labor Affairs are great to have you with us.

Irvin Hicks

00:59:25Thank you very much. And I just simply can say how excited to see

00:59:30the [inaudible] affinity group, President for the Thursday luncheon group to see them incorporated in this report.

00:59:37Very briefly, I just had a suggestion. So I was reading page 13 of the report and I noted that the recommendation career diplomats need to be connected more directly to the American people they they serve.

00:59:49And I'm reminded that being a second generation of Foreign Service officer that I still have family members who think that

00:59:56both my father and I were running away from the law in terms of our costs are going overseas.

01:00:01And so I would recommend that. In terms of the rolling out report and getting the buy in that we place the importance that we serve the American people, first and foremost.

01:00:12So therefore, it challenges that we are an elitist organization or a bunch of intellectuals of

01:00:181% or 6% of the population, but that we see our roles as public service and service leadership that emphasizes taking care of the American citizens at home and abroad, as part of the rollout and thank you for giving me an opportunity to get my two cents. Over.

Nick Burns

01:00:34Irvin, Thank you. And thank you for the advice you gave us

01:00:38And the Thursday lunch group when we met with all of you is really important to us. I think we learn more in that one at one two hour three hour session from all the affinity groups,

01:00:47than just about any other sessions. So thank you for that. Where we are concerned, but I think this is an age old concern with the Foreign Service that you know a good deal of our careers are spent overseas.

01:00:59And we spent time years overseas. Sometimes you lose connections with the American people. We've got to work on connecting the work that we do the consular work,

01:01:11the economic support with Americans and convince Americans that there's merit in both USAID in the State Department. So it's a real. It's a real abiding issue.

01:01:20And we do mention it in this report because we think that connection is being lost a name change is not just a branding exercise. It's not cosmetic. If people

01:01:31out in the country see, United States diplomatic service, they're going to probably understand what that means.

01:01:36But when we go around. I used to come home on homely from the Middle East or Europe and I tell high school buddies. I'm in the Foreign Service they had to know ... “the Foreign Legion?” They had no idea

01:01:47what I was doing. I think we all have similar similar stories. So Irvin. Thank you for that. I'm just going down the list of people who've asked to speak.

01:01:56And we've got about 11 minutes left and our great friend Ambassador Mike McKinley is next and then Ryan Dukeman and Vic Marsh will try to get all three and Mike

P. Michael McKinley

01:02:07I'll keep it short and congratulations Nick to you, Marc, Marcie everyone who put together the report.

01:02:15And it has the virtue of really being focused on the State Department work for us as opposed to other efforts over the past decades, which range, much more broadly, and hopefully it's going to find resonance. I just want to hone in on two quick points. The tribute

01:02:32to work over the past 20 years being reflected as a good thing, but also Marc's point about focusing on short term,

01:02:41versus medium term, long term objectives, because in dialogue with the incoming administration or with Congress,

01:02:47it will be important to highlight what can be done quickly and a final point on the diversity issue.

01:02:55I would note the current Secretary of State as refused to sign off on a memo for a Chief Diversity Officer. It's been presented to him a number of times, and is an issue which I think has to be addressed

01:03:09for its importance and sending the right signal from day one in a new administration, but if I can mention a point I've mentioned to a number of you in the past when we're talking about diversity,

01:03:21it really provides a cover to not address the key issues which are sexism and racism and State Department. It's attitudes. It's not simply numbers. It's not positions. It's not promotion issues.

01:03:38It's how we treat each other on two of the most fundamental areas of human interaction. And

01:03:46I've seen it throughout my career. And I think it needs to be spoken of in terms like that. And a final point on new generations,

01:03:55I’m in favor of a radically flatter State Department Management System, the frustration level among the 60% of State Department officers who have been in 10 years or less

01:04:08is huge and it reflects the New World. They work differently they bring different approaches to how to get things done and we really need to start incorporating that much more directly into the way we work. Thank you very much.

Nick Burns

01:04:22Milke. Thank you very much. And maybe I'll suggest that we hear from Vic and Ryan and I don't see anyone else who's asked to speak.

01:04:31And and then the three of us will just have any concluding comments and that will do all that in the next six or seven minutes so Vic and then Ryan

Vic Marsh

01:04:43Hi, thank you so much doing well. Good to see you all again. And thanks for your report, and I know everyone on this call cares

01:04:52immensely about lifting up underrepresented communities in the State Department. We want to tap the best of our country.

01:04:59And that's why I'm sure everyone would be interested and curious about the best and latest research on what actually helps unleash this diverse talent in our

01:05:12in our organizations. So I was shocked to learn myself that some of the more some of the most popular diversity initiatives, actually.

01:05:20are connected pretty strongly to negative future attainment of manager positions for minorities. It’s really shocking stuff that, for example, these diversity evaluations,

01:05:34promotion criteria. Some of the things recommended in this report, you know, we'd predict basically in

01:05:40An 8% drop in future black male senior land managers. If that goes forward.

01:05:46Um, it's just counterintuitive. We don't know why that works. And yet, the thing that people roll their eyes at the most like the announcement of an inter departmental task force.

01:05:56Strangely enough, the thing that people are most cynical about leads to the largest booths in minority retention and

01:06:04promotions into senior ranks. So this isn't study after study. We've got samples of 800 mid cap firms,

01:06:11700 large fortune 500 firms, and most recently with Frank Dobbin, we've got a sample of higher ed institutions predicting faculty hiring diversity which everyone said was different, but we see the same results.

01:06:24So I just want to encourage folks. I know we care. I know we earnistly want to lift up voices. We know that often the victims of discrimination

01:06:32tend to advance some of the ideas that help the least, unfortunately, and so you we want to listen. We want to be in tune.

01:06:41with the folks who have actually fallen victim to these things. But we know from legal settlement agreements that counter intuitively,

01:06:47they often ask for programs that are associated with further harm. So I just want us to take our care and our passion

01:06:55and turn it into actual effects. Because the danger here is that when we keep seeing that we're trying some stuff, and it's not working,

01:07:05even good people can fall back on essentially just thinking. We know that they're not bad from the start.

01:07:11I’ts just that if everything you're trying sort of doesn't work, you start to wonder, hey, maybe the problem is with this

01:07:17with this guy Vic and maybe it's in inside him. Maybe it's inside these minorities and not the system itself. So thanks so much for your time and look forward to remaining in touch and engaging.

Nick Burns

01:07:28Please stay in touch. But we learned a lot from you remember we had that that long session and thank you for saying what you did in that session and thank you for the comments you made right now. We'll all respond, just after Ryan. Ryan, you got the last, last question or comment.

Ryan Dukeman

01:07:44Thank you so much. And I'm so glad to see the inclusion of a recognition in the report that a lot of the skill sets around which the Foreign Service was designed in the 1920s presaged or were premised on of world that was primarily

01:08:00geopolitical and bilateral. And I think we're now seeing with the pandemic and climate change, primarily, but also issues like anti-corruption or data science and cyber issues, a need for these

01:08:13focusing on skills that are reflective of a transnational, often functional world. I know you address that in the report, and I think it's a great idea through

01:08:24having opportunities for specialists to come in at the mid-level or do a sort of reserve tour or short stint in in office.

01:08:31Curious about how you're thinking about changing the curriculum at FSI for career diplomats

01:08:40to build out their skill sets, not just in traditional language and area expertise but in some of these emerging

01:08:47functional specializations that are going to be critical for helping the State Department reclaim a leadership role in foreign policy that I think everyone on this call believes that it should have? Thank you.

Nick Burns

01:09:01Ryan. Thank you. And thanks to everybody who who spoke and if anybody has a question or comment for us,

01:09:08Allison, maybe you can post our, our emails Marc and Marcie and my emails and we're happy to talk to anybody about this. Because we will, we want to take this forward and we're going to learn from

01:09:19from all the constructive criticism. I'm just make two points very quickly because we don't have a lot of time and ask Marc and Marcie to conclude this session.

01:09:27To Vic and to Mike, there's no question that the State Department itself and the Foreign and Civil Services have to face up to an ugly history.

01:09:36If you think about the institutional racism and sexism in the past. In my first decade as a Foreign Service officer, there was a class action lawsuit by African American officers

01:09:48against the State Department and by female officers. Snd those lawsuits made sense they were right because they had to force change

01:09:57on the department leadership. And that we have to own that history, all of us, whether we're active duty or in our case retired Foreign Service officers and we've tried to

01:10:07you know, embrace that spirit and the recommendations, we've made. We got a lot smarter and talking to people like you, Vic.

01:10:14And I just wanted to also honor today, the memory of a really great American ambassador. Ambassador Ed Perkins, who died on November 7 African American,

01:10:25but someone who really, I think, was a mentor to a lot of people in the service and was a trailblazer for the service path breaker.

01:10:33And so we honor his memory, but certainly we've got to go further. I think the biggest takeaway of our 40 workshops is the crisis over diversity.

01:10:43And the lack of progress. If you look at the numbers, there is no real progress being made with African American and Latino officers in terms of their percentage

01:10:53in the senior Foreign Service and finally to Ryan I just say yes, we've got to train officers, not just for bilateral diplomacy, but for multilateral diplomacy. We need mid-level entry to being specialized

01:11:07people in who are engineers and scientists, because we're not we're not producing a lot of those people in the Foreign Service.

01:11:14I think we were encouraged by our military intelligence officials to be the thought leaders to be intellectual leaders to reinforce that in our training.

01:11:23The kind of training we do at Harvard Kennedy School or Georgetown of our Rangle and Pickering fellows and they are, they're going to be thought leaders. So that's important too. Marc and Marcie

Marcie Ries

01:11:37Okay, I’d like to mention that in the area of what can be done early on, attacking the problem of diversity is definitely in that category. And the new administration new Secretary of State really should make that point at the very beginning. So that's one thought. On Ryan's point about

01:12:05functional specialization and science. We certainly do think that that Foreign Service officers should be conversant with AI and with biotech, and with all these things that do affect our diplomacy, and

01:12:24one of the other projects we engaged with was at Duke University, where they're looking at that question, that certainly is a contemporary 21st century question

01:12:34for the Foreign Service. So finally, I'll come back to where I started, which which was about the point of

01:12:45building a consensus for the kinds of reforms that we are proposing from the from this conversation, we can see that there are so many

01:12:55different constituencies and interested groups and people whom who will have to be brought along if there is to be the kind of big and bold change that we are proposing. So,

01:13:08we really appreciate all of your engagement, your questions, you're being with us today, and we hope that you will continue to be supporters as a kind of change that we are proposing.

Marc Grossman

01:13:27Nick I just like to follow Marcie right there, which is to say, first of all, my thanks to all of you and to go back to the point we made in the beginning.

01:13:35What's the point here? The point is, is that to honor the people who are serving today, and we hope will serve for a long time in the future. And that's why we put this effort in and we want to honor them and

01:13:45make their lives and their careers even more successful. To Mike McKinley, I think the idea of flattening is really important, you'll find in the report

01:13:56recommendation for example to reduce the number of gases deputy assistant secretaries, and try to keep that number low. That's a start on that.

01:14:05Vic. I think that the points that you made today and have made in the past, extremely important. As I thought about this a core in the end it's about accountability.

01:14:15And it's about the accountability of each individual human being and maybe what you and Mike McKinley talked about it really to two sides of the same coin.

01:14:24Because it's also a diversity of thought. Right. It's how you think about things and how you, how you operate inside the culture. So I think accountability,

01:14:33is a core piece of the diversity question. And Finally, to Ryan. Ryan, I think you're exactly right. It's not just the FSI a rigorous training needs to take place. I wanted to make a

01:14:43follow on point that Nick made. You’ll see in our report a recommendation

01:14:48that people get a chance to go out to a geographically diverse group of universities and grad schools to get the kind of education that we need.

01:14:58And what would be the corollary advantage to that the corollary to that would be that you have more people out farther

01:15:05into the United States, and a better way for Foreign Service officers and others in the Foreign Service in the Civil Service that to get connected to Americans. And finally Marcie said, we certainly will ask for your support, and hope we can count on going forward. So, thank you very much.

Nick Burns

01:15:24Thanks, Marc and I just have to say. And because I'm an employee of Harvard University, we think the most the best geographically dispersed place is Cambridge, Massachusetts, but we can be open to other places too.

01:15:37We're in agreement on this. Thanks, everybody. Please let us know your thoughts emails, phone calls for happy to meet and talk to anybody, and we're really grateful you spend some time with us today for the launch of our, our report. Thanks. Thanks so much.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation:Presentation: A U.S. Diplomatic Service for the 21st Century.” Presentation, November 17, 2020.


Nicholas Burns