THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
From the Director General, a look at plans for harnessing talent
for the front lines of diplomacy in an increasingly complex world.
BY ARNOLD CHACÓN AND AL EX KARAG I ANN I S
Arnold Chacón, a career member of the Foreign Service,
was sworn in on Dec. 22, 2014, as Director General of the
Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources. Prior
to that, he served as ambassador to Guatemala (2011-
2014), deputy chief of mission in Madrid (2008-2011) and
deputy executive secretary in the State Department’s Executive Secre-
tariat (2005-2007). He has also served in Latin America and Europe and
at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York.
Alex Karagiannis is a senior adviser to the Director
General. A career member of the Foreign Service, he has
previously served as DCM in Sofia, as an office director in
the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs (twice) and
as a visiting associate professor at The George Washington
n recent years
The Foreign Service Journal
lished admirable analytic studies examining the State
Department’s human resources, budgets and diplo-matic capacity. To cite just a few: “Pursuing the Elusive Training Float” and “Fostering a Professional Foreign Service” by Shawn Zeller and Ambassador Ronald Neumann, respectively (July-August 2012); “The Hir- ing Pendulum” by Shawn Dorman (October 2012); and “A MidtermManagement Assessment of Secretary Clinton” by Ambassador Tom Boyatt (November 2011).
Other useful reports include McKinsey & Company studies;
the Center for Strategic and International Studies’“The Embassy
Foreign Service for
2025 and Beyond
COVER STORYof the Future
;” the Foreign Affairs Council’s biennial reports; the
American Academy of Diplomacy and the Stimson Center’s 2008
report,“A Foreign Affairs Budget for the Future
;” and AAD’s 2012“Diplomacy in a Time of Scarcity.” AAD’s newest report, “Ameri- can Diplomacy at Risk,” released in April, recommends additiona
ways to strengthen the State Department.
The department values and draws from these insights. To
enhance our institutional and human resource capacity, we
look to shape and strengthen the Foreign Service workforce we
will need for 2025 and beyond. It is essential we do so, urgently
and smartly, if we are to advance America’s values, interests
and national security goals—broadly defined—over the next
Looking at the landscape ahead of us, the United States—
and more particularly the State Department and the Foreign
Service—confronts three separate but interrelated challenges.
First, we face an unprecedented array of external threats
and dangers that demand our attention and leadership. Today’s
international environment is characterized by forces of disrup-
tive change—messy, fast-paced and producing instability and
unpredictability. Although the dangers of Cold War-era nuclear
confrontation are not as great and immediate as they once
were, other challenges have arisen that are more complex, viru-
lent and dynamic than even just a generation ago.
Some are urgent and acute, requiring immediate action; oth-