Stimson Center Blog Explores ‘Ambassador as CEO’ Concept

In a new post for the Stimson Center’s The Will and the Wallet blog, Thomas Boyatt—retired ambassador and current President of the Foreign Affairs Council, Treasurer of AFSA-PAC and a member of the American Academy of Diplomacy—argues in favor of the enhanced role ambassadors may play as a result of the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) rolled out later today. Boyatt thinks the ambassador as CEO concept is a natural evolution for the position and a solid representation of a whole-of-government approach to foreign affairs. Read the full piece here and see excerpts below:

“The QDDR, reportedly to be released this week, will enhance the authority and role of Ambassadors further commensurate with their expanding challenges and responsibilities.  Specifically, it will describe the role of the Ambassador as the CEO of American foreign policy.  That concept is sound and the description is appropriate, as shown by how this position has evolved over our history.”

“The Cold War era saw the expansion of diplomatic activity beyond the traditional reporting, negotiating and representing functions to include economic development, public affairs, regional and international organization matters, military assistance, arms control and disarmament and a variety of other functions that were part of our Cold War engagement.  In many cases personnel from independent government agencies carried out the functions at embassies.  Ambassadorial authorities became increasingly important to ensure that each agency representative overseas did not to execute his individual foreign policy.”

“In this historic and legal context it is right to describe the Ambassador as the CEO of American foreign policy.  Ambassadors must on behalf of the President and Secretary forge the disparate elements of the Country Team into an organization that pursues a unified foreign policy, unified operations and a unified message.  Specific authorities, appropriate training, streamlined processes, and, above all, support from the State Department hierarchy will be necessary to ensure Ambassadors can do this.”

Do you agree with his argument? Let us know in comments below.

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