THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
that account for the policy interests of our hosts and define the
points of intersection and divergence with our own.
Diplomats play their highest-value role when we lead inter-
agency teams overseas. The leadership role of the State Depart-
ment in executing our foreign policy relies on our unique focus
on foreign policy and ability to coordinate the views and activi-
ties of a diverse interagency team to achieve well-defined goals.
The leadership role of the Foreign Service relies, as well, on
our unique ability to see and act on the full breadth of U.S. inter-
ests—unlike other agencies and services, which have a narrower
focus on security, cultural or commercial interests.
FSOs should be present in every place and situation with the
potential to affect U.S. strategic interests. At a minimum, FSOs
should be assigned to joint military, intelligence and diplomatic
teams in areas of interest. Such assignments would allow for the
clearest operational picture and integrate policy recommenda-
tions and actions from U.S. representatives best able to provide
Henry S. Ensher
Use Development Assistance
to Build Capacity
Strong institutions are necessary for the achievement of last-
ing progress. It is widely recognized that strong institutions
are essential for nation-building and the efficient utilization of
external assistance. It is therefore surprising that donors seldom
fund institution-strengthening projects. The overwhelming
demands posed by the needs of low-income countries cause
donors to lose sight of the fundamental requirement of building
the institutions required to manage aid and continue working
after external funding has ended.
Donors can accelerate the graduation of middle-income
countries from dependence, and thereby shift more funding to
address the human needs of low-income countries. By joining
together, donors can streamline assistance and consolidate their
focus on building the institutions needed to ensure development
progress on a sustainable basis.
The goal is to enable host-government institutions to be
certified as capable of managing funds and activities according
to international standards. More work is needed to consistently
fund long-term institution assistance frameworks that increase
host-country capacity to better manage its own affairs and
respond to crises. In this manner, official development assis-
tance will progressively be managed by institutions that have
These certified institutions will be responsible for managing
aid funds and implementing donor-funded projects according
to a performance-based system. Strong, pro-poor institutions
are the best way forward in the 21st century for low-income
USAID FSO, retired
Warwick, Rhode Island
Safeguard Our Diplomats
In moving forward to “Make America Great Again,” diplomacy
must take a leading role in fostering enhanced international
cooperation and an understanding of each country’s role and
responsibilities in the world. An expanded U.S. diplomatic out-
reach effort built on strength can only take place if appropriate
measures are in place to safeguard our diplomats as they work
and avoid the shortcomings and confusion that surrounded the
2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya.
Since September 2012 the Government Accountability Office
has issued three reviews to address these shortcomings.
First Review: June 25, 2014, “Diplomatic Security: Overseas
Facilities May Face Greater Risks Due to Gaps in Security-
Related Activities, Standards and Policies”(GAO 14-655)
Second Review: July 9, 2015, “Diplomatic Security: State Depart-
ment Should Better Manage Risks to Residences and Other Soft
Targets Overseas”(GAO 15-700)
. Third Review: Oct. 4, 2016,
“Diplomatic Security: State Should Enhance Its Management ofTransportation-Related Risks to Overseas U.S. Personnel” (GAO 17-124).
These reports cover the three aspects of diplomatic secu-
rity: overseas facilities, residential/soft targets and risks to U.S.
personnel. However, of the reports’ 26 recommendations for
improvement in these vital areas, only four have been ade-
quately addressed and closed.
Illustrative of these shortcomings is the two-year-old recom-
mendation that reads:
“To strengthen the effectiveness of the Department of State’s
risk management policies, the Secretary of State should develop
a risk management policy and procedures for ensuring the phys-
ical security of diplomatic facilities, including roles and respon-
sibilities of all stakeholders and a routine feedback process that
continually incorporates new information.”
Can America be made great again if we have not fully