The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

The Coming Military-Civilian Resource Shift, Cont’d

Remember about a month ago, when President-elect Barack Obama announced his foreign policy team, and it looked as if there was going to be a shift of emphasis

Adaline Fritz
News
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Dec 23, 2008

Remember about a month ago, when President-elect Barack Obama announced his foreign policy team, and it looked as if there was going to be a shift of emphasis from the military to the civilian agencies of government, in terms of money, attention and influence? Secretary of State-designee Hillary Rodham Clinton is looking to reorganize her (intended) department to ensure it happens.

The New York Times’ Mark Landler and Helene Cooper have a great story — great in terms of being so comprehensive that it makes commentary difficult, because most points worth making are actually in the story — reporting that Clinton is going with two deputy secretaries: Jim Steinberg, as Greg Sargent has tirelessly reported, for traditional deputy tasks like diplomacy, policy and management; and former Clinton administration budget chief Jacob Lew, who will push the bureaucracy to get money for the department.

This is something Bob Gates has been behind all through his Pentagon tenure as it is. Back in February 2007, right as Gates was coming into office, he expressed alarm that the State Department wasn’t shouldering enough of the burden in Iraq. He turned that burden-sharing concern into a fundamental theme of his secretaryship, and according to the Times, he’s naturally on board with Clinton’s move, as is incoming national security adviser Jim Jones.

“The Pentagon would like to turn functionality over to civilian resources, but the resources are not there,” the [transition] official said. “We’re looking to have a State Department that has what it needs.”

There is a question here of capacity, though. It’s one thing to give the State Department a bigger budget. But it’s quite another to give it a bigger budget and instruct it to take charge of certain things the military does, like, say, outreach to tribal groups far from embassies and consulates in the middle of shooting wars. The State Department still doesn’t have an expeditionary culture, largely because it hasn’t really had to have one for awhile. A question that Clinton should have to answer at her confirmation hearing is how she intends to address that. Will pay incentives change? Will foreign-service-officer training change?

If not, the natural instinct — at least in rubber-hits-the-road places like Iraq and Afghanistan — is for the military to remain in a dominant role, since it’s the far more capable organization.

Adaline Fritz | Adaline's upbeat, can-do attitude and nurturing disposition make her perfect for understanding each client's wants and needs and skillfully directing them toward their real estate objectives. Adaline has experience in all facets of the real estate process, having started in the administrative sector and progressed to operations before achieving success in real estate sales. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from San Diego State University and Western Oregon University, and returned to the Portland area in 2011 to pursue a career in real estate. She also loves traveling, working out, and spending time on the water during Portland's beautiful summers.

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