ON-Lion Letter

"There are major opportunities in vulnerable countries to bolster stability and democratic transitions if there are U.S. capabilities to take advantage of such openings," begins a September working paper from the National Strategy Information Center (NSIC) in Washington, D.C.  "This required capability would develop better strategies with a political focus for such countries along with specialist personnel -- expeditionary diplomats -- to concentrate on the implementation of these strategies over the longer term.

"The US does not routinely do this," continues "Breathing Life into Expeditionary Diplomacy:  A Missing Dimension of U.S. Security Capabilities" by Rufus Phillips.  "Instead we have general long-term goals and technocratic, diverse programs with limited operational goals, devoted to short-term solutions with insufficient connections between ends and means."

Phillips is a senior fellow at NSIC, which is substantially supported by The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee.

"The development of strategies with a short- and long-term political focus and adequately resourced expeditionary personnel to implement them is NOT expensive," he writes.  "Such strategies and personnel can be developed and personnel recruited, trained, and deployed to US missions in selected countries in less than three years from the decision to do so.

"Working under U.S. chiefs of mission, expeditionary diplomats can both support stability and democratic transitions and help US mission chiefs to foster intra-mission teamwork," according to Phillips.  "Expeditionary personnel would serve longer-than-usual overseas assignments in the harder places often under difficult conditions with greater risk.  Such personnel will need a career path upward along with commensurate recognition and hardship compensation.

"Expeditionary diplomats would operate under different risk management rather than current risk adverse security rules in order to develop the contacts and relationships necessary to impact country outcomes," and "there is a pool of motivated civilian and military personnel, in and out of active service, with experience in vulnerable countries who can and would like to do this work.  What remains is to recruit, train, and deploy them.

While not intended as a panacea, he concludes, "Expeditionary diplomats would significantly upgrade U.S. capabilities and would bolster considerably the ability to shape the environment to enhance U.S. security interests ...."

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