The United States faces unprecedented challenges in conducting diplomacy and development as it responds to the residuals of three wars and a constantly changing global environment. At the same time, the outlook for the entire federal budget has changed dramatically. A new era requiring increased fiscal austerity has emerged, and it threatens to not only end recent International Affairs personnel expansion but erode recent gains before the needed improvements have been realized or new missions have been absorbed. In the face of these challenges, the most valuable resource Americans have in their foreign affairs engagement is the men and women of the Department of State and USAID.
To understand what today's fiscal crisis means for the personnel of US foreign policy, The American Academy of Diplomacy and Stimson, funded by the Cox Foundation, present a new study, "Diplomacy in a Time of Scarcity," that examines the challenges of the world today and the progress in preparing our foreign policy personnel for those challenges. Our analysis found that our diplomatic capacity has seen significant gains in the last four years and over the last decade but that these gains should not be overstated. They represent efforts to address long-standing deficiencies and shortages, and have not readied our diplomatic capacity for the challenges we already faced, let alone set us to proactively engage the changing challenges of tomorrow's world.
Today, our diplomatic capacity, on which the security of the American people will depend in the tumultuous decades of the 21st century, is not yet completely staffed, trained, and deployed to meet the challenges. Our recommendations are designed to close the remaining gaps in personnel and training.