Page 38 - Foreign Service Journal - April 2013

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april 2013
the foreign Service journal
the Secretary as he worked to deal with the problems.
Sec. Powell assured us that his staf had kept him informed
on the campaign, which had given him a better understanding
of employee concerns before he took ofce. He then responded
to several points raised in the letter, beginning with a declaration
that he was not just the foreign policy adviser to the president.
He used the phrase, “I own this building,” to signify that as the
head of the State Department, he would provide the leadership
to ensure that it worked.
Te Secretary went on to acknowledge that many of State’s
problems would take time to fx. But he urged State employees
to let him know what could be done to solve the problems that
really annoyed people and drove them “crazy.” He cited his Jan.
25 decision to establish day care facilities at the Foreign Service
Institute as an example of how he liked to get things moving.
By now, it was clear that Sec. Powell was serious about
exploring ideas to improve the department. He asked us to
forward to his staf a summary of the numerous suggestions the
campaign had generated.
With the help of several energetic student interns, we cata-
loged and summarized the hundreds of ideas that formed the
basis of the fnal SOS for DOS report. Te document we submit-
ted to Under Secretary for Management Grant Green on Aug.
6, 2001, contained more than 100 recommendations address-
ing stafng, the need for modernized information technology,
enhanced professional education, improved relations with
Capitol Hill and the Department of Defense, and a greater focus
on the training and development of entry-level personnel. We
noted that the comments could help identify underlying issues
and urged management to deal with those root causes, not just
the superfcial symptoms.
In response to the report, Under Secretary Green wrote that
“the SOS for DOS process emphasizes that management is a cru-
cial element for the State Department and perhaps the key factor
afecting employee morale. Our management team will continue
to do all we can to improve the way the department operates.”
Most importantly, the SOS for DOS efort helped to publicize
and elevate the need for change at State, with the reform efort
Throughout the 1990s,
Foggy Bottom had tried to
“do more with less”—with
predictable results.