The ‘World Doesn’t Wait’ for D.C. to Fill Top Jobs

By Richard Boucher

Ambassador Richard Boucher served 32 years at the U.S. Department of State, including roles as Ambassador to Cyprus, Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia, and Spokesman for six different Secretaries of State. After retiring from the State Department, Boucher spent almost four years as Deputy Secretary-General of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Boucher currently teaches at Brown University, focusing on the intersection between diplomacy and economics.

North Korea is testing its nuclear program seemingly at will. Afghanistan and Iraq struggle with enormous security threats years after the U.S. intervened to help them.  Russian aggression and Chinese expansionism challenge the West.  Terror and cyber attacks are on the rise.  The national security challenges facing the United States are immense, yet the team of senior officials needed to confronts these dilemmas is sorely understaffed.  As compared to the same point of time in recent administrations, far fewer political appointees and career professionals have been nominated by the Trump administration and confirmed by the Senate for key positions at the Pentagon and State Department.

The Cipher Brief’s Callie Wang spoke with Richard Boucher, a retired career foreign service officer who served as assistant secretary of State for South and Central Asia and numerous other senior positions, about the implications the delay in appointments is having on U.S. national security policy.

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