Thomas Shannonis the U.S. Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs. Also see comments by State Department SpokesmanSean McCormackand U.S. Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian AffairsRichard Boucher
As any professional pollster will tell you, this kind of survey is imprecise and misleading. The survey does not include a representative sampling of the Foreign Service and it collates only the opinions of those who respond. It is a snapshot of a self-selecting group, and should not be understood to reflect the views of the nearly 12,000 members of the Foreign Service.
More to the point, it does not reflect my views. I have had the honor of working for Condoleezza Rice at the National Security Council and at State Department. She stands in the great tradition of George Marshall, George Shultz and Colin Powell as a Secretary committed to the State Department as an institution, the Foreign Service as an organization, and Foreign Service Officers as individuals.
Her confidence in the Foreign Service is expressed by her appointments: five out of the six regional assistant secretaries are Foreign Service Officers, myself included. It is expressed by her daily interactions: she has frequent contact with all levels of my Bureau; desk officers brief her before her trips, she meets with these same officers when she returns, she opens meetings to office directors and DASes, and she listens to and acts on the advice and guidance she receives. It is expressed by her outreach to our Embassies: she calls Ambassadors, reads and comments on cables, meets with Embassy staff and family members during her visits, and has used trips to hold sub-regional Chiefs of Mission conferences.
Finally, she has made the State Department the center of our foreign policy process. For those who care about the Foreign Service, nothing could be more important. None of us joined the Foreign Service because of salary, benefits, or locality pay. We joined because we want to serve our country and make a difference in the world. Under Secretary Rice's leadership, we are again at the helm. In the Western Hemisphere, the results are palpable and positive. I am proud to serve under such a fine person and a great Secretary of State.