State Department and Military leaders like to note that the Defense Department has more military band members than Foreign Service Officers (FSO). There are also more military lawyers than FSOs. And, there are more employees that work in the Pentagon than work at the State Department.
More worrisome than the employee size comparison is the large presence of military personnel in the Defense Attaché Office of each embassy and how well funded they are. The real problem with these numbers is that for some time the military has been usurping the State Department’s mission as primary lead in carrying out U.S. Foreign Policy.
As an example, the U.S. military with its significant purse strings, can and does fund many projects in developing nations, which garners it a lot of influence. In doing so, many governments may become confused as to what type of government we have: civilian lead or military lead. It may also make the position of Ambassador less relevant as foreign leaders listen to the goals of the U.S. military rather than the goals of the U.S. government. This type of funding should be carried out by USAID and State. The DAO should stick to liaison matters.
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