Issues involving science, technology, and health (STH) have moved to the forefront of the international diplomatic agenda. Other vital issues linked to technological developments pervade longer-range foreign policy concerns. Thus, STH considerations are often central to the Department of State's bilateral and multilateral interactions with other governments. STH aspects play a large role in discussions of such critical topics as nuclear nonproliferation, use of outer space, population growth, adequate and safe food supply, climate change, infectious diseases, energy resources, and competitiveness of industrial technologies. (See Box ES-1 for an expanded list of country- and region-specific issues with significant STH dimensions.) In addressing these issues, expert STH knowledge is essential to the anticipation and resolution of problems and to the achievement of foreign policy goals. The Department, recognizing that it requires strengthened capabilities to address such an array of topics, has asked for suggestions by the National Research Council as to how it could better deal with foreign policy issues with STH content.
America's unparalleled capabilities in STH are among the nation's strongest assets. The United States is at the leading edge of scientific discovery, has become a magnet for foreign graduate students in STH disciplines, and is the pacesetter for the world in high-technology exports. Also, American specialists are a cornerstone of the international STH communities, communities that share a common culture and common concerns across national borders and are thus themselves a force in international relations. These STH strengths of the nation can provide unparalleled support for the Department in the formulation and imple-
BOX ES-1 Examples of Issues with Significant STH Content and Foreign Policy Relevance in Selected Countries and Regions
mentation of a foreign policy that will contribute to the creation of a more secure, prosperous, and democratic world for the benefit of the American people.
Precisely because STH developments are such a pervasive force, they cannot be isolated from the fundamental workings of foreign policy. The Department needs the capability to understand how technological factors
European Union (regional)
Middle East (Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, West Bank, and Gaza)
influence political and economic developments. Indeed, an appreciation of how such factors are inextricably embedded in international relations is essential if the Department is to effectively avail itself of the expertise of the U.S. STH communities. More importantly, the Department must be equipped to reach its own conclusions, particularly when conflicting technical views are expressed by vested interests outside the Department.
Effective foreign policy must reflect a comprehensive approach within the Department to integrating STH competence into policy and program formulation and execution that rests on more concerted efforts in several areas:
Increasing the sensitivity of all Foreign Service Officers (FSOs) and other Department officials to the relevance of STE considerations to foreign policy;
Providing focused STH support at the highest levels of the Department, within several bureaus and offices, and at a number of embassies and missions to address current issues and to signal newly emerging issues;
Establishing mechanisms that facilitate ready access by Department officials to the U.S. STH communities for advice on complex issues and for support during intergovernmental negotiations, major international conferences, and implementation of international programs; and
Drawing on other departments and agencies to carry out STH activities that they are best equipped to address, thus enabling the Department to focus on the STH content that matters most for foreign policy.
Central to strengthening the capabilities of the Department in areas involving STH considerations is the need for a change in the orientation of the U.S. Foreign Service and indeed of the entire U.S. foreign policy community, which currently gives relatively little attention to STH considerations. To this end, the following interrelated recommendations are intended to stimulate an evolution of STH awareness within the Department. They emphasize the necessity for (1) leadership by the Secretary of State, (2) a strengthened organizational structure of the Department operating under the guidance of an Undersecretary of State, and (3) a motivated and informed workforce that will effectively address the multitude of STH-content issues during the next decade and beyond.
An essential first step in strengthening STH capabilities within the Department is a clear signal that the Secretary recognizes the significance of such capabilities, the importance of integrating informed STH considerations into foreign policy deliberations, and the need to strengthen STH capabilities. Also, the Secretary must demonstrate a commitment to taking steps to improve the Department's performance in carrying out its responsibilities that involve STH considerations. Thus, the first recommendation is critical and serves as the basis for the committee's further recommendations.
The Secretary should articulate and implement a policy that calls for greater attention to the STH dimensions of foreign policy throughout
the Department and provides guidance as to sources of STH expertise available to Department officials both in Washington and abroad. The Secretary's personal involvement is central to effecting substantial and lasting change within the Department. To this end, the Secretary should ensure that such a policy statement is regularly updated, widely disseminated, and coupled with an action agenda reflecting the recommendations set forth below. Implementation of these recommendations should proceed simultaneously on parallel but related tracks. (See page 25.)
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 STU throughout the Department by establishing promotion and career incentives for successful service in STH-related positions.1 In this regard, the Department should give greater attention to STH skills during the entrance examination for FSOs and expand the STH training offerings at the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) and elsewhere for both FSOs and civil servants. (See page 36.)
The Secretary should provide continuing leadership that ensures consideration within the Department of the STH aspects of issues. To this end, the Secretary should delegate to an undersecretary responsibility for ensuring consideration of STH factors in policy formulation, especially during meetings and consultations involving the Secretary and/or the Secretary's senior advisors and during day-to-day activities at all levels of the Department. The title of the selected undersecretary should be amended to include the phrase ''for Scientific Affairs," reflecting the new authority and responsibilities across a broad spectrum of STH aspects of foreign policy. The Secretary should make it clear that the oversight responsibilities of the undersecretary extend across the entire Department and involve coordinating the various clusters of STH expertise in the Department to provide an integrated approach to STH matters. The Undersecretary for Global Affairs currently has such responsibilities and should have the title of Undersecretary for Scientific and Global Affairs. Future secretaries, however, might consider that another undersecretary is the most appropriate official for assuming oversight responsibilities for STH activities. (See page 27.)
The Secretary should select a highly qualified STH Senior Advisor to the Secretary and to the selected undersecretary to provide expert advice, drawing on the resources of the American STH communities, as necessary, on current and emerging issues. The STH Senior Advisor, with a rank and title appropriate to his or her responsibilities and an adequate staff, should be housed in the office of the undersecretary and should work with senior officials throughout the Department in identifying and addressing important policy and personnel issues and in mobilizing external support for STH activities, which could include consultations with Congress. The STH Senior Advisor should also serve as Executive Director of the STH Advisory Committee discussed below. (See page 28.)
The Department should adopt the most appropriate organizational structure for the relevant bureaus and offices in order to meet its expanding STH responsibilities. If legislation is necessary to accomplish this, the Department should seek congressional authorization. The current structure is inadequate for the task. The roles, responsibilities, and capabilities of the various undersecretaries and assistant secretaries to meet the broad range of STH challenges highlighted in this report should be the focal point of a Departmental review as the first step in implementing this recommendation. (See page 29.)
The Department should establish an STH Advisory Committee to the Secretary and take other steps to further expand the roster of external experts actively engaged in advising the Department's leadership on emerging STH-related issues. This advisory committee should take into account activities of other more specialized committees that exist in the national security and economics areas. Other external advisory mechanisms that also should be considered include (1) preparation of an expanded list of consultants who are kept current on STH issues of interest to the Department and who are called upon frequently, and (2) tasking of U.S. organizations outside government to mobilize expertise on selected topics as needed. (See page 29.)
The Department should increase the resources available to meet the essential STH-related requirements that are recommended in this report. The committee's interim report of September 1998 called for allocation of about a dozen new positions to expand STH-related activities in OES, the Policy Planning Staff (S/P), and the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), and $500,000 annually to begin to support external advisory activities. In addition, adequate resources to support the STH Senior Advisor and a well-qualified staff are essential. Should major structural
changes within the Department be required to meet future STH responsibilities, further resources will be needed. (See page 30.)
The Department should assign at least 25 carefully selected Science Counselors to embassies in countries where STE-related activities are of major interest to the U.S. Government and to missions to international and regional organizations that support STH programs of considerable foreign policy significance. The number of Science Counselor positions in embassies and missions has been reduced from 22 in the mid-1980s to 10, and whereas almost all of the 22 had strong technical backgrounds, few of the 10 current incumbents have such backgrounds. In order to reverse the recent decline in effective STH representation and reporting by key embassies, these Science Counselors should have strong educational backgrounds and experience in STH and should be sensitive to the needs of the departments and agencies in formulating foreign policy and in implementing international STH programs. These positions could be filled by specialists recruited from the civil service, universities, or industry, usually serving on a limited-term appointment basis, or by uniquely qualified FSOs. Many other embassies and missions also should be staffed with diplomats responsible for STH activities, but in most cases the positions can be filled by FSOs who have undergone significant training and orientation concerning U.S. STH interests and capabilities. (See page 57.)
The Department should increase its use of specialists from other departments and agencies as rotating employees assigned to positions in Washington and abroad, as participants in international negotiations, and as advisors on topics in their areas of expertise. The Department's leadership should have a continuing dialogue with senior officials of other departments and agencies on the mutual benefits from such involvement of technical personnel in its activities and should establish more effective mechanisms that will help ensure continued interagency support for addressing both ad hoc and recurring issues. (See page 72.)
The Department, in consultation with other departments and agencies, should transfer responsibilities for STH activities to other appropriate and willing departments and agencies whenever there is not a compelling reason for retaining responsibilities within the Department. The Department is overloaded in attempting to handle both the administrative and the substantive aspects of an ever-growing portfolio of international programs. By dispersing responsibilities to agencies capable of adequately handling them, the Department should be able to move to-
ward a better balance of responsibilities and available resources. (See page 68.)
The Department, in consultation with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and other departments and agencies, should streamline the Circular 175 process, which calls for interagency reviews of proposed international agreements and bilateral memoranda of understanding (MOUs). The Department should address the criteria for determining the need for Circular 175 clearance, the appropriateness of sunset provisions for old and new MOUs, and procedures that will expedite preparation within the U.S. Government of satisfactory texts of proposed agreements and MOUs. Hundreds of STH agreements and MOUs are subject to Circular 175, and delays and inefficiencies in the process are a constant source of irritation among departments and agencies and sometimes create difficulties with foreign collaborators. (See page 69.)
The Secretary, the Administration, and Congress should ensure that the Department's five-year information technology modernization plan stays on course and is fully funded for its successful implementation and also for necessary ongoing maintenance and upgrades. Prompt implementation of the plan will not only reduce many internal communications problems repeatedly cited by Department officials but will provide greatly improved access to the information resources of the STH community. Also, the modernization program should improve the job satisfaction and productivity of many young employees who have grown up in the information age. (See page 46.)
These recommendations emphasize the importance of incorporating STH knowledge into the process of formulating and implementing foreign policy (science for diplomacy). At the same time, the Department has a responsibility to help facilitate the international programs and activities of Americans in both the public and the private sectors (diplomacy for science). As the Department strengthens its relationships with other organizations in formulating foreign policy, there will be many opportunities for close cooperation in furthering broad national interests through both science for diplomacy and diplomacy for science.
In sum, a comprehensive approach that expands opportunities within the Department for incorporating STH expertise into the foreign policy process and that provides stronger support for the international STH programs of a variety of departments and agencies and private-sector organizations can promote U.S. interests on many fronts. Given the U.S. strengths in STH, the Department can draw on unparalleled knowledge and on the hundreds of thousands of professional relationships that con-
nect American specialists to the STH communities of other nations. To this end, the foregoing recommendations, together with additional recommendations set forth in subsequent chapters of this report, provide a basis for institutionalizing the effective use of the nation's STH capabilities as a fundamental element of foreign policy.