[Mb-civic] Diplomats Will Be Shifted to Hot Spots - Washington Post
swiggard at comcast.net
Thu Jan 19 10:19:46 PST 2006
Diplomats Will Be Shifted to Hot Spots
Rice Also Plans to Elevate USAID Chief
By Glenn Kessler and Bradley Graham
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, January 19, 2006; A01
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said yesterday that she will shift
hundreds of Foreign Service positions from Europe and Washington to
difficult assignments in the Middle East, Asia and elsewhere as part of
a broad restructuring of the diplomatic corps that she has dubbed
The State Department's culture of deployment and ideas about career
advancement must alter now that the Cold War is over and the United
States is battling transnational threats of terrorism, drug smuggling
and disease, Rice said in a speech at Georgetown University. "The
greatest threats now emerge more within states than between them," she
said. "The fundamental character of regimes now matters more than the
international distribution of power."
As part of the change in priorities, Rice announced that diplomats will
not be promoted into the senior ranks unless they accept assignments in
dangerous posts, gain expertise in at least two regions and are fluent
in two foreign languages, citing Chinese, Urdu and Arabic as a few
Rice noted that the United States has nearly as many State Department
personnel in Germany -- which has 82 million people -- as in India, with
1 billion people. As a first step, 100 jobs in Europe and Washington
will be immediately shifted to expanded embassies in countries such as
India, China and Lebanon. Many of these diplomats had been scheduled to
rotate into coveted posts in European capitals this summer, and the
sudden change in assignment has caused some distress, State Department
Officials said that ultimately as many as one-third of the 6,400 Foreign
Service positions could be affected in the coming years.
Separately, today Rice plans to unveil a restructuring of U.S. foreign
assistance, including announcing the nomination of Randall L. Tobias as
the new administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Officials said Rice plans to elevate the USAID post, giving Tobias -- a
former Eli Lilly chief executive who now heads the administration's
global AIDS relief program -- an office and a planning staff in the
State Department. Rice will designate Tobias as having a rank equivalent
of deputy secretary of state.
Although the move stops short of merging USAID with State, it is
intended to draw the agency closer into the department's fold, the
officials said. Additionally, the new director will be given broader
authority over a range of foreign assistance accounts now managed by
separate entities. "Effectively, this will allow a single person to have
visibility into these various accounts," a State official said.
Anticipating such a change, some outside the government have warned that
it could result in a greater politicization of foreign assistance.
"We're concerned that the same priority won't be given to long-term
development as resources are siphoned to support shorter-term diplomatic
or military objectives," said Jim Bishop, a senior officer of
InterAction, the largest coalition of non-governmental U.S. aid groups.
But State Department officials described the restructuring as necessary
to reverse a growing fragmentation of foreign assistance programs in
recent years and to ensure more effective and focused spending overseas.
The two announcements -- combined with changes announced Tuesday to
streamline the movement of people and goods across U.S. borders -- are
intended to fill in the details of Rice's promise to make what she calls
transformational diplomacy the hallmark of her tenure as secretary of state.
"These proposals are part of the secretary's continuing strategy to
dramatically increase America's engagement and dialogue with the world,"
said Jim Wilkinson, senior adviser to Rice.
Rice has described the notion of transformational diplomacy as a shift
from merely reporting on events to influencing them to foster the growth
of democratic states worldwide.
Under the plan outlined yesterday, Rice will expand the U.S. presence by
encouraging the spread of new one-person diplomatic outposts, now
located in a few cities such as Alexandria, Egypt, and Medan, Indonesia.
"There are nearly 200 cities worldwide with over 1 million people in
which the United States has no formal diplomatic presence," Rice said.
"This is where the action is today."
The move is intended to bring U.S. diplomats -- now often barricaded in
fortified embassies -- closer to the mood in the streets.
The State Department will also expand the use of interactive Web sites
maintained by diplomats to communicate with foreign citizens, promote
the creation of rapid-reaction forces to deal with regional problems and
seek to work more closely with military officers to promote the
stability of nations after conflicts, Rice said.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the Mb-civic