Washington, DC – Foreign Policy for America, in partnership with a broad coalition of foreign policy, development, environmental, and faith-based organizations, has sent two letters to Congressional leaders calling on them to support legislation that would make needed updates to the State Department’s practices, policies, and protocols. More than one hundred national security leaders – including former ambassadors, Assistant Secretaries of State, and senior military leaders – and a dozen advocacy organizations have signed onto these letters in support of the State Department Authorization Act of 2022.
Individual signatories include:
Ambassador Thomas Pickering, Career Ambassador, former Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Russia, India, Israel, El Salvador, Nigeria, and Jordan
Ambassador Anne Patterson, Career Ambassador, former U.S. Ambassador to Egypt, Pakistan, Colombia, and El Salvador
Brigadier General (ret.) John Douglass, USAF, Former Deputy U.S. Military Representative to the NATO Military Committee
Ambassador (ret.) Eric Rubin, Former U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria and President of the American Foreign Service Association
Major General (ret.) Gale S. Pollock, USA, Former U.S. Army Medical Commander and Acting Surgeon General
Ambassador Ruth Davis, Career Ambassador, former U.S. Ambassador to Benin and Director General of the Foreign Service
Authorizing the State Department annually is an important way for the U.S. to maintain its diplomatic advantage. Last year, Congress was able to pass the first such bill in nearly two decades, and these letters underscore the importance of building upon this momentum and passing another authorization bill this year. Specifically, this bill makes important strides in modernizing the State Department by increasing the number of paid internships, encouraging expeditionary diplomacy, expanding diversity at the Department, supporting cyber diplomacy, building more embassies, and ramping up public diplomacy efforts, among other provisions.
To respond to evolving global challenges and opportunities, a robust State Department authorization must be an annual legislative priority. Last year’s bill was an important first step in strengthening our diplomatic toolkit, but a single authorization every two decades is not nearly enough to keep pace with the constantly shifting geopolitical landscape.
“After years of neglect, it is now a national security imperative that Congress exercise appropriate oversight of the State Department and ensure the Department meets its modernization goals. Unless Congress can resume that role and pass annual State authorizations, as they have done for the National Defense Authorization Act for sixty-two consecutive years, our diplomatic capacity will continue to erode,” FP4A Executive Director Andrew Albertson said. “These letters demonstrate the broad coalition of individuals and organizations that recognize the power of American diplomacy to secure our interests in a rapidly changing world. Together we are watching this legislation closely and we urge Congress to act.”
“The American Academy of Diplomacy, a non-partisan organization of former senior diplomats, strongly supports this. The Academy calls on the Congress to pass an authorization and support an effective American diplomacy,” said its president, former Ambassador Ronald Neumann.
If you would like to take action in support of a more modern and agile State Department, then ask your Member of Congress to support the State Department Authorization Act of 2022 by clicking the button below.