Press Release

January 12, 2022
Cardin, Hagerty Lay Out Plan for Enhanced Training for U.S. State Department Personnel

Bipartisan legislation calls for prioritizing professional training and development that will strengthen national security

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Senator Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Chair and Ranking Member respectively of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on State Department Management, introduced legislation Wednesday that would provide State Department staff – foreign service officers and civil servants alike – with the highest level of training at every stage of their careers. Expanding and encouraging professional training opportunities will better prepare State Department personnel for their roles promoting and defending U.S. national interests around the world.

The bipartisan legislation calls for the State Department to move beyond its current “on-the-job training” approach and move toward a more robust professional training continuum, incorporating innovative education and training courses, methods, programs and opportunities with a clear link between required employee training, and promotional opportunities and assignments. The bill also requires the establishment of a Chief Learning Officer position to serve as the principal advisor and strategist for State Department training and development, as well as the establishment of a non-partisan Board of Visitors to provide independent oversight, including providing advice and recommendations regarding training at the Foreign Service Institute.

“The Department of State is a crucial national security agency. It’s time to modernize and prioritize the training and professional development they receive – enabling these public servants to more effectively promote our national security interests abroad,” said Senator Cardin. “We must continue to recruit and retain the best and brightest to represent America around the world, so we must invest in their skills and constantly add value to their experiences.”

“When I served as U.S. Ambassador to Japan, I had the privilege of working alongside some of the State Department’s brightest and most capable men and women, so we must look for more effective ways to train all members of the State Department,” said Senator Hagerty. “This bipartisan legislation calls for the State Department to build a more professional diplomatic corps, with a clear link between required employee training and promotional opportunities and assignments, and to establish a Chief Learning Officer to spearhead that effort. I am pleased to partner with Senator Cardin to modernize the State Department as we work to meet the full range of global challenges in the 21st century.”

The full text of the Act to Improve Training at the State Department can be found at this link.

A summary of the bill can be downloaded here.