The Country Team: Restructuring America's First Line of Engagement

By Oakley, Robert B.; Casey, Michael, Jr. | Strategic Forum, September 2007 | Go to article overview

The Country Team: Restructuring America's First Line of Engagement


Oakley, Robert B., Casey, Michael, Jr., Strategic Forum


Expansion of Engagement

U.S. Embassies face unprecedented challenges. The kinds of issues that confound governments today--from organized crime, drug trafficking, and terrorism to nuclear proliferation, human rights, ethnosectarian conflict, global disease, and climate change--no longer fit within diplomacy's traditional categories. (1) Just as nonstate actors everywhere are becoming more powerful, regions of geostrategic importance in the developing world find themselves beset by weak or dysfunctional governments and increasingly perilous socioeconomic situations. While some might reasonably question the categorical quality of the 2002 National Security Strategy's assertion that "America is now threatened less by conquering states than we are by failing ones," there is still plenty of reason to be concerned about the trends. (2)

What does this mean for Embassies? First and foremost, Embassy staffs--our U.S. Country Teams--must continue to engage with allied, partner, and competitor countries, even as the terms of these engagements grow more complex. Indeed, the number of programs operated out of Embassies is expanding. A Country Team in Paris, for example, must partner with local authorities on counterterrorism, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and the European Union, as well as country-specific operations such as Afghanistan and Kosovo. The team must also further commercial interests and cooperation within regional and international financial institutions. In Moscow, the Country Team must promote democratic reform efforts while enhancing opportunities for U.S. businesses in a dynamic emerging market, as well as improve nuclear security initiatives and monitor avian flu. It must do this while working on global and regional energy problems as well as traditional diplomacy. In Abuja, Nigeria, the Country Team must monitor and help to deal with instabilities in the Niger Delta, engage in HIV/AIDS relief and economic development programs, and assist in the first civilian transfer of political power. In Bogota, Colombia, the Country Team faces major counternarcotic and counterinsurgency problems as well as regional political problems.

All of these tasks must be coordinated and deconflicted, and the Country Team must work with unified purpose. In practice, this often does not happen. This is especially true in the area of stabilization and reconstruction missions, where the wars in Afghanistan and, more acutely, Iraq, revalidate the sacrosanct principle of unity of effort. However, this principle can be applied more broadly. As Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice notes, "More and more, solutions to the challenges we face lie not in the narrow expertise of one agency acting in one country, but in partnerships among multiple agencies working creatively together to solve common problems across entire regions." (3)

Despite some positive steps toward this objective, senior policymakers in and out of office in both the executive and legislative branches lament the continued inability of the United States to integrate all elements of national power. Their frustrations apply not only to the national level, but also to the Country Team, the critical intersection where plans, policies, programs, and personalities all come together. The Country Team builds the American image abroad and implements strategy. Without an effective Country Team, there can be no prospect of success in achieving national security objectives. The question is whether Country Teams are structured properly and resourced sufficiently to be effective. A brief examination of the Country Team's evolution helps dispel some common misconceptions about the answer to this question.

Evolution of the Country Team

The struggle to gain control over unwieldy interagency activities at the country level is not of recent vintage. (4) As the United States emerged from World War II, it engaged in massive nationbuilding and foreign assistance efforts to reconstruct European states and to counter Soviet influence. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Country Team: Restructuring America's First Line of Engagement
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.