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A Blog on Understanding, Informing, Empowering, and Influencing Global Publics, published by Matt Armstrong

The State of State: A Proposal for Reorganization at Foggy Bottom

The State of State

Checkout my policy memo titled “The State of State: A Proposal for Reorganization at Foggy Bottom” published by PPI. (PDF here, 910kb)

The past decade has seen the U.S. government expand its activities around the globe in response to complex and stateless threats. In the face of these challenges, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen, and members of Congress have all called for increasing the resources and capabilities of the State Department to roll back what Gates has termed the “creeping militarization” of foreign policy. But efforts at reform are hindered by an institutional structure rooted in a 19th-century view of the world.

The days of traditional diplomacy conducted behind closed doors are over. The democratization of information and means of destruction makes a kid with a keyboard potentially more dangerous than an F-22. Addressing poverty, pandemics, resource security, and terrorism requires multilateral and dynamic partnerships with governments and publics. But the State Department has yet to adapt to the new context of global engagement. The diverse threats that confront the U.S. and our allies cannot be managed through a country-centric approach. For State to be effective and relevant, it needs to evolve and become both a Department of State and Non-State.

Download the full memo here. Comment here at MountainRunner or there at PPI.

  • Dave says:

    Hey,
    like it. But do you think that Obama is going to have time off from a pretty hectic IR policy and communications schedule to put the effort in to do this? would putting effort in now on this help him in the short term? Could Clinton realistically take this on as a pet project herself and get approval or does she not have the power?

    January 13, 2010 at 7:12 am
  • Forming a Region Centric State Department | T. Greer -- The Scholar's Stage says:

    [...]Matt Armstrong has written an impressive memo for the Progressive Policy Institute on the innovations needed to transform the Department of State into a competitive arm of the United State’s foreign policy machinery[...]

    January 18, 2010 at 1:30 am

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