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THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

|

MAY 2015

21

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

University.

I

n recent years

The Foreign Service Journal

has pub-

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

Building a

Foreign Service for

2025 and Beyond

COVER STORY

of 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

l

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

quarter-century.

Challenges

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-