Background Note for December 8-9, 2000 Conference, Airlie House, Warrenton, Virginia
No matter what their mission, all organizations must adapt to changes in their operational environments. How organizations respond to these changes can determine their effectiveness, relevance, and future. In the private sector, companies often find that they must restructure their activities, improve their products and relationships, or even entirely switch lines of business in order to thrive in increasingly competitive markets. In civil society, environmental change often leads advocacy and service organizations to radically alter their structures and strategies so as to remain effective. In the public sector, however, organizational adaptation frequently proves to be more difficult. Entrenched bureaucratic interests, rigid organizational cultures, inadequate resources and personnel policies, a lack of competitive pressures, political constraints, and a host of related factors can impede government?s ability to adapt to new realities.
Nowhere is this more true than in the U.S. foreign policy making apparatus. Since the earliest days of the republic, successive administrations periodically have reworked various aspects of our foreign policy structures by changing lines of authority, reallocating functions, merging formerly distinct agencies and the like. Despite these efforts, the foreign policy machinery often seems to remain behind the curve, wedded to procedures and policies not fully responsive to the challenges faced by the nation. This has become especially evident in an era in which the absence of a single overarching security threat has increased instability and unpredictability and placed a premium on organizational flexibility and innovation.
Over the past decade, three tectonic shifts---the information revolution, globalization, and the end of the Cold War---have unleashed pressures that render the international policy environment far more turbulent and complex than ever before. These pressures present new challenges as well as opportunities for U.S. policy. Devising and implementing optimal responses to them is made difficult to a significant extent because our foreign policy structures have not changed in tandem.
In the past few years a number of reports both from within and outside of government have advocated organizational reform of the policy machinery. These reports contain many commendable recommendations, some of which have been enacted. However, the reports generally concentrate on assessing the internal organization and management of the National Security Council (NSC) and/or the Department of State. While these organizations obviously must be central to any consideration of the foreign policy process, the story does not end there. Depending on the issues at hand, many other Executive Branch agencies may be involved in decision-making, or should be but are not. This is especially so because globalization has blurred the boundaries between domestic and foreign affairs, and because other nominally domestic agencies increasingly have relevant expertise, stakes in policy outcomes, and direct involvement---both at home and abroad---in international affairs. Hence, it would be useful to step back from the internal dynamics of one or the other lead agency, look at the bigger picture, and ask how well the entire ensemble of foreign policy-related structures fits with today?s changing global environment.
In addition, the studies take off from the details of the existing structures to suggest improvements that are bounded by the current parameters. This is reasonable approach to proposing incremental reforms that might realistically be adopted without too much opposition from entrenched bureaucratic interests or other quarters. But taking as given the fundamental contours of legacy systems erected in dramatically different international conditions can limit the range of options under consideration.
What if we tackle the question from a different angle? Instead of identifying small but feasible departures from the status quo, what if we start from scratch---without reference to existing structures---and ask what sorts of foreign policy arrangements would be best suited to dealing with the challenges of the new global policy environment? A "zero based" exercise can bring to light issues and options that would not be considered in setting out to fine tune the existing structures, but which nevertheless could have significant analytical value. If we could construct a compelling model or approach optimized to the new global environment, we could then compare the results with what is currently in place and consider whether there are viable pathways available to move from the status quo.
That is what we will attempt to do in this meeting. To set the context for our discussions, the text below proceeds in four steps that correspond to the sessions we will hold. The first section provides a schematic overview of the major issues raised by what we consider to be the three key drivers of today?s global policy environment---the information revolution, globalization, and the end of the Cold War. The second section outlines some of the potential inadequacies of the existing foreign policy structures in responding to those issues. The third section highlights a few examples of successful adaptations to the new environment that have been pursued by other organizations in order to establish principles which may be applicable in the foreign policy context. The fourth section then suggests a few preliminary approaches to the zero-based development of new foreign policy structures on which we hope to build together in the course of our discussions.
To be clear at the outset, we are not assuming in this project that the existing structures are entirely dysfunctional and in need of a complete overhaul. Over the years, the foreign policy establishment has successfully managed a great many challenges in world politics, often under daunting domestic and international constraints. Moreover, many of the organizing principles that have shaped the institutions involved are and will remain sound. For example, the State Department will always need expertise on various countries and regions of the world, and undoubtedly should retain organizational units tasked with managing relationships with them. In short, significant components of the machinery are not broken and do not need major fixing. But at the same time, there is growing recognition in many quarters that the machinery is not optimally designed to deal with the unique properties of an international environment that is rapidly being reconfigured in important respects by the information revolution, globalization, and the end of the Cold War. Hence, our objective is to explore the areas where the current structures fall short and to examine whether alternative institutional configurations might do a better job of addressing current shortcomings and anticipating future needs.
I. The Changing Global Environment
a. The Information Revolution
The information revolution is a multi-faceted process of social, economic, political, and technological change. How and how quickly information and communications technologies (ICTs) are developed and deployed across application arenas, economic sectors, and even countries varies in accordance with the interplay of these forces. That said, four broad clusters of trends should be noted:
Core ICT Dynamics. Radical increases in the intelligence and processing power, capacity, flexibility, interactivity, user-friendliness, and interoperability of systems are transforming the global information infrastructure and the information appliances through which it is accessed. Networks are proliferating in numbers and kind, with a vast array of public and private system running over wireline and mobile and fixed terrestrial wireless links, as well as geostationary and non-geostationary satellites. These networks increasingly are interworked via the Internet?s core TCP/IP protocol stack, which for many purposes is replacing the traditional public switched telephone network architecture. Competition and the accumulation of excess capacity and dark fiber is beginning to drive down the cost of connectivity even as bandwidth increases, thereby opening new possibilities. In parallel, services and applications are becoming increasingly multifunctional and customized to meet diverse needs, while high-powered information appliances are becoming less expensive and more portable.
Future ICT Developments. Over the next twenty years, the above dynamics will continue to gather steam. The Next Generation Internet, Internet telephony and webcasting, end-to-end optical communications systems capable of handling gigabits per second of data, smart data packets and switching, wireless multimedia devices, voice and text to voice translation, machine-to-machine coordination (e.g. via Bluetooth technology), the incorporation of microprocessors with IP-based intelligence into myriad components and formerly dumb products (automobiles, refrigerators, clothing), satellite sensing and micro-sensing systems, and a host of related technologies over time will move us closer to a seamlessly integrated global information fabric.
Synergies with Other Technological Arenas. While ICTs are important in their own right, their wider significance rests on their application in other economic sectors and domains. The years ahead will bring increasingly catalytic synergies with innovations in both traditional technological arenas like manufacturing and energy production as well as emerging ones like biotechnology, biometrics, nanotechnology, and new materials.
The Global Control Revolution. In contrast with previous stages of the information revolution, in which large organizations were the primary users of ICTs, the current distributed stage means that powerful capabilities are increasingly in the hands of governments and non-state actors around the world. Their empowerment and behavior may alter some of the key dynamics of world politics by challenging the primacy of states and inter-state relations, redistributing both hard and "soft" (persuasive) power, catalyzing economic liberalization and political change, creating new challenges to national security, reducing the ability of leading states to control global policy debates, challenging the efficacy of national economic policies, etc.
Globalization is a much debated phenomena, and use of the term seems to set off a sort of Rorschach test in which proponents and critics project their respective hopes and fears onto the changing world order. But irrespective of how one weighs its costs and benefits, we are clearly witnessing a process of trans-territorial integration that is qualitatively deeper than the international interdependence of earlier eras (even if it is unevenly distributed across nations and regions and hence not fully global in a spatial sense). Like the information revolution on which it is heavily dependent, globalization is a multifaceted process that has many implications for international affairs and foreign policy. Six merit particular mention here:
Economics. Firms and markets across the agricultural, manufacturing, and services sectors are increasingly becoming transnational in scope, a shift that has been accelerated by worldwide trends toward deregulation and liberalization. Among the politically salient consequences are the increasing volatility of networked financial markets, mobility of capital, expansion of trade (especially within transnational firms), development of global electronic commerce, restructuring of the international division of labor, international and subnational inequality of opportunity and outcomes, and difficulties confronted by states in monitoring and applying traditional forms of sovereign control over private transactions.
Culture. Social elites increasingly participate in a global culture of business, consumption, and (to varying degrees) intellectual and normative orientations. Mass publics also participate in cultural globalization, most notably in the realms of consumption and entertainment. At both levels there are simultaneous trends toward acceptance of and backlash against globalization.
Awareness. Due to mediums like global television and the Internet, elites and attentive segments of mass publics the world over increasingly share a real-time awareness of trends, issues, and events arising around the globe.
Non-state Actors in World Politics. Transnational corporations and multinational business alliances, civil societal organizations, criminal organizations, terrorists, hate groups, and others have gained access to intelligence and communications networks comparable to what governments can employ. These non-state actors at times can influence political events to an unprecedented degree, thereby challenging the authority of states.
Integration of National Policies. Some nominally domestic policies in arenas as diverse as anti-trust, regulation, environmental management and so on are being realigned in the context of "behind the borders" deep integration. The extra-territorial application of national laws and the pressures for harmonization or mutual recognition are increasingly in tension with political demands for local control and autonomy.
Multilateralism and Global Governance. The international community faces an increasingly diverse array of challenges and opportunities that cannot be effectively managed through national responses and hence require multilateral cooperation. This cooperation includes intergovernmental, private sector, and hybrid government/business/civil societal programs and regimes.
c. The End of the Cold War
The end of the Cold War has removed the single overarching threat that has shaped American foreign policy for a half century. In the post-Cold War world, governments, corporations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and international institutions cooperate and compete to advance their interests across a broad range of issues. The end of the Cold War necessitates a policy structure that can help manage the growing disorderliness of today?s world. Five dimensions of this problem are especially relevant.
Increasing Strains in Military and Political Alliances. Because security threats do not dominate international affairs to the same extent as during the Cold War, the bonds keeping together military and political alliances based primarily on those challenges have been weakened. In the absence of a unifying global threat, alliances are often based on more localized issues and fluid interests. Partnerships designed to handle such issues may be more susceptible to domestic political and international competitive pressures.
Shifting International Public Loyalties. Elites and mass publics around the world increasingly do not feel the need to follow America?s lead on many foreign policy-related issues. This problem is compounded by a distorted familiarity with and backlash against American culture and domestic trends, blowback from foreign policy missteps abroad, and by demographic and generational change.
Need to Justify Policy Actions. The spread of democracy, hypermedia saturation, the worldwide development of cosmopolitan norms, and the mobilization of organized groups demanding answers all have increased the importance of explaining American actions. Managing global public relations has become a more central and difficult task.
Increasing Importance on Non-Traditional Issues. Because Cold War rivalries were so central to the development of U.S. foreign policy institutions and focused attention on overarching security issues, the end of the Cold War creates space for addressing new and dormant issues on their own merits. In this environment, global development, human rights, pandemics, and environmental protection can become critical national security interests even though they are not based upon state power rivalries.
Spread of Localized Conflicts. The demise of superpower bipolarity has removed the external pressure that kept a lid on many ethnic, religious, or nationalist conflicts. In some cases these conflicts threaten wider instability and may force the involvement of external players, in others they suffer the inverse fate of international indifference.
II. Shortcomings of Existing Foreign Policy Structures
Having briefly highlighted the three driving forces of international change of interest in this project, we next turn to the question of whether U.S. foreign policy structures are properly configured to respond to them effectively. Three clarifications are in order. First, while the focus of the text below is on relevant problems. We emphasize that this is a purposely selective depiction that is not intended to capture the entirety of the policy process, much of which works fine. Second, the problems identified do not necessarily apply equally across all agencies involved in foreign policy decision making; the State Department is of particular but not exclusive concern here. Third, we are not asserting that the problems identified are a result of the three driving forces, as many of them are longstanding dilemmas that affect other arenas of foreign policy as well. These preexisting shortcomings do, however, make it more difficult to respond effectively to the three drivers.
a. Organizational Infrastructure
Outdated Information and Communications Technologies. While the defense and intelligence establishments have long had some of the most cutting edge technologies at their disposal, the same is not true of other foreign policy-related organizations, most notably the State Department. The systems and services employed generally have paled in comparison to those used in the private sector. For example, the State Department still employs traditional cables, is saddled with a Diplomatic Telecommunications System (DTS) that lacks broadband multi-media functionality, and is wedded to a fragmented architecture of separate systems for different types of traffic. Since the DTS also provides service to over fifty other agencies, its limitations extend beyond the State Department.
Rigid Organizational Culture. The need for information to flow through "channels" and varying levels of authorization and the propensity for top-down decision making reduce the ability of people further down the food chain to take initiative in cases where this would be advisable. In addition, this approach slows overall organizational responsiveness to rapidly changing conditions in diverse foreign policy issue-areas.
Inadequate Management of Human Resources. Outmoded approaches to recruitment, retention, and advancement; difficulty competing with private sector pay and perks; needlessly hierarchical authority patterns; inadequate outsource relationships with external, non-state talent---these and related tendencies make it increasingly difficult to marshal the sorts of expertise that are needed to operate effectively in the new global environment.
Inadequate Inter-Agency Coordination and Division of Labor. This is especially problematic in dealing with complex problems which require multi-perspective or multi-functional solutions, or when agencies engage in bureaucratic turf competition for relevance. The problem is compounded by the growing direct involvement of diverse nominally "domestic" agencies in international affairs. In contrast, other organizations often are able to quickly assemble teams (including virtually) from different units to formulate rapid, effective responses to new problems.
Vertical Organization vs. Horizontal or Cross-Cutting Problems. The vertical differentiation of task units, such as along regional lines, may not be responsive to problems that do not fit neatly into the existing conceptual or bureaucratic boxes and thus do not have a natural home.
Tensions between Different Branches and Levels of Government. Congressional micro-management has been a growing problem in post-Cold War environment, in which politics no longer end at the water?s edge. (Congressional review may also strengthen the credibility of the international commitments we do undertake.) The growing involvement of courts, states, and municipalities in international affairs complicates Presidential control of foreign policy.
Weak Relationships with Many Non-State Actors. While there is a long tradition of close coordination with large corporations that have the resources for lobbying and interest representation, e.g. in business advisory committees, the same generally is not true with regard to small and medium-sized enterprises, civil societal organizations, academics and other independent analysts. These actors may possess relevant skills and information, and whose cooperation could facilitate the formulation and implementation of effective policies.
Budgetary Problems. U.S. foreign affairs operations indisputably are vastly underfunded, and some of the problems faced by the State Department in particular may flow directly from this condition. But at the same time, the lack of adequate resources should not provide an excuse for failures to improve performance within existing allocations.
b. Analytical Capabilities and Decision Making
Excessive Secrecy. Overly broad application of Cold War era criteria in a more complex and multi-informational world limits the ability of many in and out of government to assess and respond to emerging trends, and constrains engagement with external actors.
Limits on the Ability to Access and Employ External Information Resources. In parallel, information intake and assessment has not kept up with scope of relevant information originating in diverse contexts around the world, which makes it difficult to anticipate emerging trends and events in an increasingly turbulent global environment. These problems help to perpetuate the problem of misperceiving foreign governments? actions and intentions, which information abundance might otherwise be expected to help overcome.
Outdated Analytical Categories. U.S. policy still tends to conform with increasingly obsolete boundary lines between "high" and "low" politics, domestic and international politics, etc.
The Predominance of Post-hoc Reactive Responses. Given the constraints on information gathering and assessment and the consequent difficulty of pro-active and systematic planning, U.S. policy often involves narrowly defined, ad hoc efforts to "put out fires," over-allocating resources to crisis response and under-allocating resources to strategic planning and crisis prevention. In addition, in a hypermedia environment in which information and images about crises, mistakes, and related phenomenon are generated instantly through many channels around the world, the U.S. government is often unable to anticipate how events will unfold and adjust its public informational strategies and other responses in consequence.
c. Diplomacy and Implementation
Foreign relations must be pursued on at least four integrated levels in order to be effective. These are 1) state to state, 2) state to domestic population, 3) state to foreign population, 4) and domestic population to foreign population. The drivers of globalization, the information revolution, and the end of the Cold War expose weaknesses and present opportunities in each of these areas.
State to State:
Diplomacy amidst turbulence. If the rapidly changing global environment complicates decision-making within government, by extension it could also complicate diplomatic interaction with foreign governments. The United States may at times find it more difficult than before to communicate its goals and values in a convincing manner and negotiate with counterparts abroad. Conversely, foreign governments may be equally confounded, if not more so, as to how best to respond to the current realities, thereby adding an additional layer of complexity.
State to Domestic Population:
Difficulties in developing domestic support. U.S. foreign policy makers have not been successful in explaining the nature and implications of the new global environment to the American people, and thus do not have the sort of support that was once engendered by the existential threat of nuclear annihilation.
State to Foreign Populations:
Foreign perspectives inadequately addressed. The attitudes and opinions of publics abroad are insufficiently considered in the policy formulation and presentation process. There is greater attention to conveying information on particular issues than to broader foreign perceptions (hegemony, cultural imperialism, etc.) contextualizing U.S. actions.
Coordination of information activities. The information activities of U.S. agencies is not sufficiently coordinated, and there is not adequate cooperation with non-state actors that also project information internationally.
Insufficient support of independent media. Foreign publics generally trust their own national media more than they do international outlets like CNN, so support for American policy by the former would matter a great deal. But the United States has not made it a major priority to support the development of independent and accurate media organizations in countries that currently lack them.
People to People:
Missed Opportunities: While cultural and intellectual exchanges between people can do a great deal to promote international understanding of the United States and its objectives, there has not been adequate attention to promoting such exchanges.
III. Institutional Adaptation: Principles from Other Sectors
Examination of institutional adaptation in various sectors illuminates a number of possible responses to the drivers of change identified in Section I. These include the following:
Establish Knowledge Networks. A knowledge network comprises people in disparate locations who share information and can be rapidly mobilized to achieve shared goals. For example, the World Bank has begun to transform itself into a knowledge bank, linking communities of expertise and concern into global networks.
Build upon Comparative Advantage. Comparative advantage can lead organizations to new forms of specialization. For example, the Enron Corporation transformed itself from an energy company into a relationship management organization that brokers connections between buyers and sellers of energy and other products rather than producing those products itself.
Harness Internal Competition. Internal competition creates incentives to improve performance and accountability. For example, the City of Indianapolis allowed municipal garbage collectors to compete with private contractors for municipal contracts, leading to significant improvement in those workers? effectiveness.
Change Incentive Structures to Reward Desirable Behaviors. Although U.S. foreign policy leaders often preach the importance of openness and innovation, incentive structures often reward the opposite behaviors. In contrast, incentive structures in companies like Enron and Cisco systems reward risk-taking and innovation.
Promote Cooperation with those with Complementary Interests. While some corporations and NGOs have demonstrated an ability to quickly develop flexible partnerships, the U.S. government often lacks that ability. For example, while diverse NGOs worked together to ban land mines, the United States did not seek to build a multi-sector coalition to support its position.
Create a Culture of Innovation. It is critical to create an environment in which unconventional initiatives can be pursued. For example, USAID created an Office of Transition Initiatives to allow flexible, non-traditional responses to crisis and post-crisis areas.
Seek Information and Input from Those with the Most Direct Knowledge. Rigid hierarchical structures can filter inputs from those with the most knowledge of a given situation as information passes through bureaucratic layers. For example, commodities traders have strong incentives to seek the most accurate information and are penalized for failing to acquire it.
Devolve Decision-Making Authority to those with the Most Relevant and Timely Information. Rigid hierarchical structures can separate those with the most knowledge of a given situation from those making decisions based on information provided. In contrast, military decision-making power is delegated to regional Commanders-in-Chief.
Results, not Process, Orientation. Process in itself achieves no result (despite the culture of some government institutions!).
IV. Pulling it All Together: Zero-Based Model Development
The challenge of zero-based model development is to conceptualize structures that utilize the principles identified in Section III to address the shortcoming of the current system identified in Section II, in light of the changes in the global environment outlined in Section I. A zero-based approach must sequentially address the following questions for the overall foreign policy structure and each issue area:
What are the primary shortcomings of the existing structures? Are they effective or ineffective in responding to the changes described in Section I?
Is institutional organization at the root of these shortcomings, and in what way?
What type of expertise is needed to address these shortcomings, and where does this expertise currently reside? Who are the essential players?
What would be the goals of a new organizational approach? How should principles such as those identified in Section III impact these goals?
What type of organizational structure can best reach these goals?
Appendix A, attached below, describes a series of models which may be useful in considering the organizational aspects of a revised foreign policy structure. Central questions for the breakout groups are outlined in Appendix B. The model-building exercise can also be illuminated by addressing the following questions:
How can the best available expertise be brought to a given problem?
How can the various state and non-state actors dealing with international and transnational issues be coordinated?
How can the planning process be coordinated and developed to encourage proactive efforts to address and preempt future problems?
How can private sector vitality be harnessed for the greater public good?
How can the culture, organization, and management of government foreign policy institutions be revitalized match the dynamism of the non-state sector?
Brief Example: One critique of the current configuration of the intelligence community is that those doing the analysis often do not have the best knowledge of the issues being analyzed. Organization might be considered the root of the problem because the current structure routs intelligence inputs to the CIA for processing and coordination. If there are cases in which the NGO, business, and diplomatic communities have more knowledge of relevant social, and economic, and political trends, then it could make sense to distribute some aspects of the intelligence function to such actors. To do this, the government agency which has the best contacts with such organizations could work with them to provide information on conditions on the ground, diplomats could be responsible for political reporting, and economic experts in the finance agencies could provide economic analysis. The central intelligence function, therefore, would not include collection but the coordination of this dispersed intelligence and its integration into a usable product. An organizational structure that might accomplish this might be a civilian agency not associated with any clandestine activities serving as a central hub in a networked information collection and analysis system.
Select Organizational Models for Rethinking U.S. Foreign Policy Structures
The models outlined below seek to provide suggestions as a starting point for pulling together the various state and non-state actors with stakes in the foreign policy process. These models do not represent the full range of organizational options, nor do they fully address all of the issues raised in Sections I and II. Nevertheless, they may be helpful in considering possible organizational responses to some of the issues raised in breakout sessions.
Hub and Spoke Model. Domestic specialized agencies often have more relevant expertise in certain issue areas than do traditional foreign policy agencies. Instead of developing parallel in-house specialists, foreign policy could focus on the visionary coordination of expert institutions, both in and out of government. This coordination function could be built around regional and functional coordination bodies of all relevant institutions at the highest region/function-specific level. These standing coordination bodies could develop long-range plans standardized by an interagency planning board, and could coordinate both policy development and execution. They could also set the tone for systematic outreach on and coordination with relevant issues appropriate to non-state and sub-state actors.
Lead Agency Model. Under the lead agency model, various international issues/problems would be assigned to the government agency with the best functional expertise in the given issue area. This agency would then coordinate the contributions of all other agencies on this particular subject. In this model, the National Security Council (or presidential authority function) would play a centralized policy planning and coordination role, and the Department of State (or foreign ministry) would narrow its function to only those areas where it could clearly take the lead, such as regional bilateral affairs. Following this model, domestic specialized agencies would be required to further and more systematically internationalize. Incentives would also need to be created to facilitate agency outreach to NGOs, corporations, and other non-state actors.
Czar Model. Establishing presidential leaders in given functional areas operating with the full presidential imprimatur would allow these individuals to coordinate the full panoply of interagency capabilities and mold resources in a flexible manner to address needs. These individuals would also ideally rise above loyalties to particular agencies to address broader, and hopefully more proactive, national needs, and would be able to coordinate priorities and resources more effectively among themselves.
Regional Commanders Model. The decentralized model used by the U.S. military creates regional and functional commanders-in-chief (CINCs) with concentrated power within express regional/functional domains. Establishing this model in the broader foreign affairs arena would push part of the foreign affairs function out of Washington and make policies more responsive to realities in the field. This model is essentially a forward-integrated version of the czar model.
Bull Pen Model. Like a baseball manager reaching to his bull pen from where he can pick the right person to meet a particular need, the bull pen model for foreign policy seeks to create a corps of issue specialists who can be utilized and reconfigured as appropriate to meet particular needs. In this model, foreign policy leaders (managers) could reach to government interagency specialists or alternately to a reserve corps of non-governmental specialists to create ad-hoc teams to respond to particular crises. To make this model work, standardized procedures and guidelines would need to be established to facilitate inter-operability.
Distributed Knowledge Network. A distributed knowledge network distributes both information gathering and decision-making authority in an extensive interactive network which can be coordinated more through the development of values and long term plans than by rigid hierarchical structures. Although a central node can guide interactions within the network, all nodes are connected both to the center and to each other. The Internet itself is the ultimate example of this kind of network. A central body agrees on code interface standards and groups of users agree on common usage standards, although individuals may interact freely within this architecture.
Central Questions for Break-Out Groups
Coordination and Planning. The current model for interagency coordination is the Interagency Working Group (IWG). IWGs bring together personnel from various agencies and section of agencies to develop policy options and oversee implementation. Because important IWGs are often White House-led, the number of issues that can be addressed by IWGs is limited. IWGs are often established to address crisis situations, and to support higher-level policy deliberations centering around specific crises. This breakout group should explore alternate models for intra- and extra-governmental coordination and consider how the best government expertise can be brought to bear to address important issues. It should also examine how the consideration of non-state and sub-national state actors can be included in this process. The planning/budgeting process can play a critical role in lengthening or shortening the time horizon of policy consideration. Despite numerous attempts, civilian efforts to use the planning function to more proactively address far off contingencies have not consistently succeeded. This group will also explore how the planning/budgeting processes can better be used to promote proactive policy approaches and better harmonization among and coordination between government agencies.
Public Diplomacy/Engaging Non-State Actors. Because state to state diplomacy can no longer achieve a nation?s foreign policy goals, reaching out to new actors impacting foreign policy outcomes has become increasingly critical. Nevertheless, no systematic framework has been established for incorporating public diplomacy into the diplomatic process and for engaging non-state actors. This break out group will consider what type of framework might allow for a more systematic, multi-dimensional, multi-directional engagement with non-state actors and will develop ideas for fostering a more open foreign affairs process better able to reach out to foreign populations and non-traditional counterparts.
Intelligence/Knowledge Management. Intelligence and knowledge management are critical to policy development and implementation processes. As information filters up through government bureaucracies, however, it becomes increasingly further removed from those with the most relevant expertise. This group will consider what models the United States Government might employ to get the best available information to bring to bear on policy formulation and what types of structures could facilitate the sharing of information and knowledge within government institutions.
Culture/Personnel. The stagnant institutional culture of foreign affairs institutions has hampered creativity and made recruiting the best available personnel extremely difficult. This group will explore how the culture of foreign affairs institutions can be changed to promote openness, creativity, and innovation, and how the best available personnel can be brought into the foreign affairs community. These personnel might be configured in many different ways according to different organizational models. The personnel might reside within agencies, in a government-wide "bull pen," or outside of government altogether.
Recent Proposals for Reforming U.S. Foreign Policy Structures:
Some Selected Recommendations
Twentieth Century Fund, Task Force on Government Organization for Foreign Policy (1999)
Involve domestic agencies in policy development
Smaller Department of State focused around five regional bureaus, with functional expertise residing in regional bureaus
State Department replaces CIA as center for USG information gathering
Shrink NSC staff to forty or so "wise people" and increase NSC role
Appoint national coordinator for complex emergencies
Stimson Center, "Equipped for the Future" (October, 1998)
Greater focus on interagency coordination
Expanded NSC coordination role
Establish reserve diplomatic corps
Closer collaboration with private sector
Establish regional hub embassies and reduce presence in less important states
Decentralization of decision-making process
CSIS, Reinventing Diplomacy in the Information Age (December, 1998)
Reform the government culture of secrecy to promote greater public engagement
Decentralize decision-making process
Place public diplomacy at the core of diplomacy
Enhance role of commercial diplomacy
Department of State, State 2000: A New Model for Managing Foreign Affairs (December, 1992)
Expanded role of NSC
Three core Department of State roles include policy formulation, implementation of foreign relations, and coordination of overseas programs of USG
United States Commission on National Security (Hart-Rudman Commission), report forthcoming