throughout the Department and at key embassies and missions, not only to support the generalists but also to assume leadership on particularly complex issues. Furthermore, specialists with strong STH credentials and experience can provide an important interface with the broader STH communities in the United States and abroad.
The following recommendation addresses one crucial aspect of the mixed generalist-specialist strategy:
Recommendation: The Department's leadership should expect all FSOs and other officials of the Department to achieve a minimum level of STH literacy and awareness relevant to foreign policy while stimulating attention to STH throughout the Department by establishing promotion and career incentives for successful service in STH-related positions.1
This recommendation recognizes that the goal of the mixed strategy will be embraced throughout the Department only if STH competence is widely viewed as a career-enhancing asset (i.e., STH-related assignments are recognized as stepping stones to advancement to senior positions within the Department). Implementation of this recommendation requires a comprehensive approach within the personnel system involving the recruitment, assignment, training, and promotion aspects of the careers of Department officials. Working out the details may be difficult in view of the different categories of personnel positions involved in STH-related activities and the different personnel rules within each category. Also, there may be reservations within the Department about attempting to accommodate special needs to address STH issues when there are also needs for specialized skills and sensitivities related to other issues (e.g., labor concerns). Nevertheless, given the stakes involved, the Department should develop a comprehensive approach for implementing a mixed STH personnel strategy over the long term.
At present, the staffing of positions designated as "STH positions" in Washington and at U.S. embassies and missions to international organizations involves officials with different educational backgrounds, different levels of relevant experience, and different types of job classifications. STH positions are filled by FSOs, Foreign Service Reserve Officers (FSRs),
STH literacy as used in this report includes an appreciation of basic STH concepts of importance for international affairs, knowledge of the responsibilities and capabilities of the key institutions that comprise the STH infrastructure of the United States, and familiarity with the principal international organizations and agreements that encompass STH developments at home and abroad.