The Embassy of the Future

The truest test of the value to our nation of the U.S. diplomatic presence abroad is whether the people we ask to represent us effectively promote American values and interests.

Diplomacy is a vital tool of national security. The aim of this report is to make the diplomatic pursuit of U.S. interests abroad even more effective than it is today. Our diplomats and those who support them must have the right tools and capacity to do their work. This is an urgent national priority. Transnational threats, including terrorism, put U.S. citizens and national interests at risk. Potential competitor nations are emerging on the global stage. Anti-Americanism can have lethal consequences for our nation and its citizens. Operating in a higher threat environment is part of today’s diplomatic job.

Traditional diplomacy — where government and social elites interact in highly formal channels—is being transformed. U.S. diplomats will still need to influence foreign governments, but increasingly they will work directly with diverse parts of other nations’ societies. The Embassy of the Future Commission envisions an embassy presence in which U.S. officials reach out broadly, engage societies comprehensively, and build relationships with key audiences effectively.

This project is called the “Embassy of the Future,” but “embassy” is meant in a broad sense, of which embassy buildings are only one dimension. The commission underscores that the U.S. presence and our diplomacy are about our people — Foreign Service, Civil Service, Foreign Service nationals and other locally employed staff — and their capacity to carry out their mission.

We want to empower U.S. diplomats to succeed in the work they do for America. Modernization and reform of the diplomatic profession and its infrastructure have begun. But the State Department must do more. The department needs more people and a well-trained workforce; modern technology that will expand diplomatic capacity and reach; policies, communications tools, and resources that support mobility outside embassy compounds; platforms that serve mission effectiveness; and a risk-managed approach to security that allows for the interactions in the field required to achieve successful diplomatic engagement.

George L. Argyros
Chairman and CEO
Arnel & Affiliates
Marc Grossman
Vice Chairman
The Cohen Group
Felix G. Rohatyn
Senior Adviser to the Chairman and Chairman of the International Advisory Committees
Lehman Brothers
Richard L. Armitage
Armitage International
Anne L. Armstrong
Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee
Center for Strategic and International Studies
Kenneth H. Bacon
Refugees International
Stuart A. Bernstein
Former Ambassador
Keith L. Brown
Council of American Ambassadors
Prudence Bushnell
Sage Associates
LTG James R. Clapper, USAF (Retired)*
Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence
U.S. Department of Defense
James Dyer
Clark & Weinstock
Stuart E. Eizenstat
Covington & Burling
Charles A. Gillespie, Jr.
The Scowcroft Group
Louis W. Goodman
Dean and Professor of International Relations,
School of International Service
American University
Jamie Gorelick
A. Elizabeth Jones
Executive Vice President
APCO Worldwide
James R. Jones Cochairman and CEO
ManattJones Global Strategies
Kenton W. Keith
Senior Vice President
Meridian International Center
Alan P. Larson
Senior International Policy Adviser
Covington & Burling
Tara Lemmey
LENS Ventures
W. Robert Pearson
Head, International Division
Thomas R. Pickering
Vice Chairman
Hills & Company
ADM Joseph W. Prueher, USN (Retired)
Consulting Professor and Senior Adviser
Stanford University Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC)
Cynthia P. Schneider
Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy, School of Foreign Service
Georgetown University
BGN Francis X. Taylor, USAF (Retired)
Chief Security Officer
General Electric Company

Anne Witkowsky, project director;

George L. Argyros, Marc Grossman, and Felix G. Rohatyn, commission cochairs