America’s national security and economic prosperity are at risk due to a dramatic and damaging hollowing out of personnel at the State Department over the past year. The absence of personnel in key positions and embassies combined with proposed deep and disproportionate cuts to the International Affairs Budget is undermining our ability to advance our interests around the world.
This will be one of the first challenges faced by Secretary of State-nominee Mike Pompeo, should he be confirmed by the Senate. While every agency in the federal government has opportunities to streamline for greater efficiency, the president recognized in his National Security Strategy that “diplomacy is indispensable” and a “forward-deployed” diplomatic and development presence is critical to our ability to compete against rising powers and growing threats.
Responding to the growing concerns on both budget and personnel issues, 150+ retired three and four-star generals and admirals, 1,200+ veterans, 200+ former ambassadors and veteran diplomats, and a growing number of Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill are all speaking out.
Sources: American Foreign Service Association Tracker: Current Ambassadors; and Washington Post/Partnership for Public Service Trump Administration Appointee Tracker.
“America’s diplomatic power is being weakened internally as complex, global crises are growing externally…including emerging nuclear crises, the threat of war and outbreaks of global pandemics.”
– Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), November 2017