A good article in the January/February edition of Foreign Affairs by former President of the American Foreign Service Association J. Anthony Holmes advocates dramatically increasing the number of Foreign Service Officers (FSOs). Holmes offers some powerful statistics:
The number of lawyers at the Defense Department is larger than the entire U.S. diplomatic corps, there are more musicians in the military bands than there are U.S. diplomats, and the Defense Department’s 2008 budget was over 24 times as large as the combined budgets of the State Department and USAID ($750 billion compared with $31 billion).
Enough made similar calls for reform in a recent report, which noted that that in order to more effectively prevent conflict and mass atrocities, the U.S. Government must address the critical “mismatch between resources and requirements” at the State Department – sentiments which were echoed by former U.S. Ambassador for counter-narcotics in Afghanistan Thomas Schweich in the Washington Post.