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American Forces Press Service

Better Jointness Needed Between Military and Diplomats, Rice Says

By Steven Donald Smith
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 18, 2006 Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice today highlighted the importance of promoting a more cooperative working relationship between American diplomats and the U.S. military in order to achieve global objectives.

"Over the past 15 years, as violent state failure has become a greater global threat, our military has borne a disproportionate share of post-conflict responsibilities because we have not had the standing civilian capability to play our part fully," she said in a speech at Georgetown University here. "This was true in Somalia, in Haiti, in Bosnia, in Kosovo and it is still partially true in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I want America's diplomats to eagerly seek out assignments working side by side with our men and women in uniform, whether it is in disaster relief in Pakistan or in stabilization missions in Liberia, or fighting the illegal drug trade in Latin America," she said. "The diplomacy of the 21st century requires better jointness... between our soldiers and our civilians, and we are taking additional steps to achieve it."

Responding to a question posed by an active duty military officer who has served in Afghanistan about the possibility of streamlining the chain of command between State Department employees and military personnel, Rice said there would continue to be separate chains of command.

"But what we've found is that we need absolute fusion of our processes in the field," she said. "I think another thing that we could really do is, so to speak, more cross training ... the continuum between ending conflict, stabilizing a country and then moving it on to independence is something that we have to be better at doing."

Rice also discussed the need to transform America's diplomatic corps.

She referred to President Bush's inaugural address in January 2005 in which he stressed the importance for the United States to put an end to tyranny and support democratic movements and institutions around the world.

"To achieve this bold mission, America needs equally bold diplomacy, a diplomacy that not only reports about the world as it is, but seeks to change the world itself," Rice said. "I and others have called this mission transformational diplomacy."

Since violent conflict between "great powers" has lessened over the past few years, and because countries are increasingly competing and cooperating in peace, Rice said that American diplomacy must evolve to meet the demands of the 21st century.

"I would define the objective of transformational diplomacy this way: to work with our many partners around the world, to build and sustain democratic well-governed states that will respond to the needs of their people and conduct themselves responsibly in the international system," she said.

The secretary mentioned the obtuseness of having "the same number of State Department personnel in Germany, a country of 82 million people, that we have in India, a country of 1 billion people. It is clear today that America must begin to reposition our diplomatic forces around the world."

Rice said that shifting State Department personnel would help foster better regional partnerships, which would in turn help combat terrorism.

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