Given the growing challenges the United States is facing around the world – from an increasingly competitive China; the largest humanitarian crisis in our hemisphere; and the Syrian refugee crisis – it is imperative that America’s foreign affairs agencies have qualified personnel in place, ready to advance America’s security and economic interests.
Alongside a number of bipartisan Congressional statements over the past year weighing in on the personnel challenge, President Trump’s National Security Strategy recognized that “diplomacy is indispensable” and a “forward-deployed” diplomatic and development presence are critical to keep pace with growing global threats and compete against rising powers, like China and Russia. Unfortunately, the absence of personnel in key positions and embassies – due to both slow nomination and confirmation processes – directly undermines American leadership around the world.
While there has been progress, close to 80 senior leadership posts remain vacant at the State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), U.S. embassies, and other U.S. foreign affairs agencies.
Secretary Pompeo has committed to fully staffing the State Department, saying, “the United States diplomatic corps needs to be in every corner, every stretch of the world, executing missions on behalf of this country.” Yet, the slow process to nominate and confirm the most senior positions at America’s foreign affairs agencies is jeopardizing U.S. security and economic interests in every corner of the world from Asia to Africa.