Wednesday, October 1

Flight of the diplomats

Carnegie's Josh Kurlantzick, in Mother Jones:
The State Department, by its own projections, will lose 14 percent of its veteran diplomats every year from 2007 to 2011—an entire generation in a few years' time. The talent pool is shrinking, too; the number of people taking the foreign-service exam fell more than 40 percent between 2002 and 2006. Under Colin Powell, State had hoped to hire more than 1,000 officers, but the department's latest budget sought fewer than 300. And because Rice didn't push hard enough for that funding, the department may actually lose jobs this year. The dire situation has officials counting paper clips. "Everyone must reduce expenses whenever and wherever possible," warned a March memo instructing supervisors to cut positions and defer staff training requests. State employees, it further admonished, would have to "reduce their use of supplies."

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