August 25, 2010

QDDR | Rebuilding Diplomacy: A Survey of Past Calls for State Department Transformation

As the State Department prepares to unveil the QDDR, it is important to recognize that this most recent effort is not the first call to reform the U.S. State Department, the institution charged with leading American diplomacy. Over the past decade alone, numerous reports have identified underlying challenges faced by the Department and recommended steps to address them. Based on a review of these reports, several themes emerge:

• The inadequacy of resources to fulfill core missions.
• The challenge of aligning resources to support strategic objectives.
• The importance of training staff for 21st century challenges and addressing staffing shortfalls.
• The requirement to engage diverse actors outside of traditional diplomatic channels.
• The need to use technology more effectively.

This policy brief summarizes key observations and recommendations in each of these areas, in an effort to inform both the QDDR and its execution.


  • Eugene K. Chow

  • Richard Weitz