The first item on a modern secretary of state’s to-do list these days appears to be establishing a high-level review that promises to change the way America conducts diplomacy. Colin Powell launched the Diplomatic Readiness Initiative. Condoleezza Rice bundled her reforms under the broad banner of “Transformational Diplomacy.” Hillary Clinton conducted the first-ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), modeled on similar efforts at the Pentagon. One can only imagine that the next secretary of state will feel inclined to conduct a second QDDR, or roll out another high-profile effort to reform the State Department’s archaic bureaucracy.
All of these reviews were conducted because of a realization by respective secretaries of state — Republicans and Democrats alike — that America’s foreign policy architecture is poorly structured to meet the demands of the very dynamic world around us.This article was originally published in Foreign Policy.