Page 39 - Foreign Service Journal - April 2013

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the Foreign Service journal
april 2013
being reported in newspaper articles and quoted in congres-
sional hearings. Te outpouring of support from our col-
leagues at home and around the world reinforced our belief
that we could help bring about a modernized and strengthened
Department of State. It also may have served as a safety valve for
expressing pent-up feelings of irritation and abandonment.
A Lasting Legacy
Nearly 13 years later, the collective memory of the SOS for
DOS campaign has faded, and its impact has been diluted with
time. But several aspects of that efort may have enduring value.
First, the SOS call for change and reform challenged the
department’s employees to recognize and accept their role in
advocating for change and embracing subsequent reforms. We
didn’t just complain about defciencies and dysfunction, but
sought to address and solve those problems. As many of the
original supporters of the campaign have moved up the career
ladder to senior, infuential positions, they will have new scope
for that drive and commitment to championing change.
Second, SOS for DOS is an instructive model for the large
infux of new personnel over the past 10 years. Many of them
are probably unaware of the “Young Turk” tradition that was so
much a part of the Foreign Service in the late 20th century, and
set the stage for our initiative.
Tird, the campaign sent a loud message that the State
Department needed forceful leadership. To be successful, a
Secretary of State must be adept at dealing with both foreign
policy issues and the organizational complexities of budget,
fnance and personnel despite the demands of constant travel
and international crises.
Our initiative highlighted the fact that a Secretary of State
cannot focus on policy issues to the exclusion of organizational
ones, but must provide leadership in both spheres. Sec. Powell
“got it,” and our hope was that his successors would, too.
Te extent to which they did can certainly be debated. But at
a minimum, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton should
be commended for overseeing the production of the depart-
ment’s frst-ever Quadrennial Diplomatic and Development
Our campaign symbol
was a small, notched blue
ribbon, inscribed with
“SOS for DOS.”