Conventional wisdom in Washington in recent years has maintained that the US State Department is dramatically undernourished for the work required of US civilian power. Developed in reaction to the proposition that America's civilian agencies could not be made as successful as the military, State of Disrepair: Fixing the Culture and Practices of the State Department shows how the deficiencies in focus, education, and programmatic proficiency impede the work of the State Department and suggests how investing in those areas could make the agency significantly more successful at building stable and prosperous democratic governments around the world.
Kori Schake explains why, instead of burdening the US military with yet another inherently civilian function, work should focus on bringing those agencies of the government whose job it is to provide development assistance up to the standard of success that our military has achieved. Schake presents a vision of what a successful State Department should look like and seeks to build support for creating it. She offers suggestions aimed at creating a solid basis for civilian-led US diplomacy, imagining a State Department that actually does lead US foreign policy and makes possible the projection of US civilian power as well as US military force.