Regional security challenges of the 21st Century are often multifaceted and interrelated, and therefore demand a new joint response. To this end, the State Department requires accurate and firsthand knowledge to pool a wide variety of resources. But diplomatic planning and preventive capabilities have suffered during the last decade, as State Department staff and resources have been reduced and the agency's functional capability has been eroded. At the same time, the role of the regional Commander-in-Chief (CINC) in foreign affairs has grown significantly.
The Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress convened a series of roundtable discussions with extraordinarily talented and experienced practitioners. Among them are a General who served as both CINCEUR and CINCSOUTH, a former Army Chief of Staff, a Rear Admiral who also served as Director of Strategy, Plans, and Policy for CINCPAC, a former Assistant Secretary of Defense responsible for Special Operations Command's policy and resources, ten U.S. Ambassadors, a former Director General of the Foreign Service, and three former Undersecretaries of State. This report reflects their input on the difficulties presented by the changing international environment and how U.S. forward empowerment might be feasibly strengthened by synergizing between the State Department, the regional Commanders-in-Chief (CINCs), and other U.S. agencies.
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