Secretary Powell's Impact - All Carrot, No Stick
Occassionally we receive e-mails that are too good to resist sharing, and we invite the author to do a guest piece, or re-publish something he or she has posted elsewhere. This is one of those e-mails. The text below is un-edited by The Daily Demarche. - Dr. D
To me, It appears that Secretary Powell's approach to management of DoS was all carrot and no stick. Powell seemed to believe that if only he could provide DoS in general and FSOs in particular with all of the funds, positions, promotions, equipment, buildings, security, and Internet access that they requested, then they would be unleashed to do wonderful diplomatic things to promote the national security and other interests of the USA.
What Powell did not recognize was that the believed shortage of people, positions, promotions, equipment, etc., was not the primary problem of DoS. Rather, the greatest problem was the indiscipline of well over 85% of the FSOs of the US Foreign Service, as well as the majority of the rest of the American employees of DoS. Powell should have fired (in a very public manner) several of the very worst offenders during his first few months in office. This would have sent a powerful message that when orders are given, compliance or resignations are expected.
Free of any sense of restraint, many FSOs continue to pursue their own goal of domestic regime change. The result of their rogue conduct is that DoS is viewed more as part of the problem, less as part of the solution. Hence, non DoS agencies and personnel are sought to accomplish more of our diplomatic tasks.
There is a massive difference between the US Foreign Service (the culture of a liberal arts college) and the US Army (the culture of duty, honor, country). This difference was very apparent to me, since I served in both organizations. I started my US Government service as an officer in the US Army, serving for four years. I, and those of my age with like experience both in the US Armed Forces and in the US Foreign Service, have a very different view than the elite intellectual diplomats. We do not share their disdain for the USA, nor their even greater disdain for safeguarding national security information.
The analytical side of the CIA has much the same culture as DoS, except that they seem to be even more overt in their domestic regime change efforts. As with DoS, this causes the CIA to have increasing problems with being viewed as part of the solution.
The organizational culture of DoS continues to be its greatest problem. Failure to correct it will continue to limit the contribution of DoS and tarnish Secretary Powell‘s legacy.
Peter Rice, FS Retiree and an active Republican
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