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[ACDA EXCERPTS] TRANSCRIPT: 4/29

TOWN MEETING ON REORGANIZATION

(begin transcript)

PARTICIPANTS

MADELEINE K. ALBRIGHT, Secretary of State
PATRICK K. KENNEDY, Assistant Secretary
Bureau of Administration
JOSEPH DUFFEY, Director, USIA
J. BRIAN ATWOOD, Administrator, USAID
JOHN HOLUM, Director, ACDA
..............

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: 
As you know, the President has announced a plan for reorganizing our
foreign affairs agencies. His decision resulted from a deliberative
process that involved ACDA, USIA, and AID, and the Department of
State.

I support the plan, as do my colleagues, and our purpose this morning
is to explain why and to answer your questions as best we can at this
very early stage in the plan's implementation.

The current structure of our foreign affairs agencies reflects the
needs of an era that no longer exists. Almost every aspect of our
foreign policy has been affected by the end of the Cold War and by the
steady advance of technology. Some even argue that these developments
have made our entire diplomatic establishment obsolete. I clearly
don't have much to say to those people because that is obviously
nonsense. But there is no denying that a transformed world requires a
transformed diplomacy.
.....................
We have to minimize duplication and show zero tolerance for waste, and
we have to welcome accountability. And we have to instill in everyone
who works with us the clear understanding that we are being paid not
to spend our time serving institutions, but to make our institutions
serve the times.

During the past few years, impressive reform efforts have been made at
each of the four agencies. The leadership and employees of each have
demonstrated their commitment to improved performance, but we would
not be honest with ourselves if we did not admit that redundancies
still exist and reengineering is still required.

The President's plan centers around the concept of integration and
streamlining which is where sound management begins. During the first
year, ACDA will be fully integrated into a reformed State Department.
By the end of the second, USIA will be integrated. AID will remain a
distinct agency under the direct authority of the Secretary while
merging certain administrative and public affairs functions with the
Department.

As we implement this plan, we will bear in mind several guiding
principles:

First, the reorganization should enhance, not detract from, our
effectiveness in fulfilling the critical core missions of ACDA, USIA,
and AID. These missions are critical to America's national interests
and to the success of our foreign policy.

Second, the reorganization should occur in phases, taking into account
the immediate importance of reforming the State Department itself, the
relative complexity of other agencies, and the need to preserve unique
capabilities.

Third, we will consult regularly with the appropriate committees of
Congress.

Finally, we will strive to minimize disruptions in your lives and
careers to the extent we can, consistent with the overall goals of
this reorganization. We cannot succeed if we ignore the human
dimension. We must make full use of your skills while training and
retraining to develop new skills. And we must have your input and
participation and that of your colleagues now stationed overseas.

Starting now we will be creating specialized units to address specific
issues and develop action plans. These teams will draw on employees
from all four agencies, both civil service and foreign service. A
system will also be set up to solicit and receive comments from those
not serving on the teams. In addition, we will be working closely with
the unions that represent our employees. A core group, headed by Pat
Kennedy, the Acting Under Secretary of State, and Management, will
coordinate the effort.

We intend to complete the action plan within 120 days. That's not a
lot of time to design the most far-reaching reorganization of our
foreign policy institutions in 50 years. But I consider it a firm
target. We have and we should seize the historic opportunity to
reshape and reinvigorate the way we conduct our foreign affairs.
................
I now would like to turn to John Holum to begin the remarks by my
other colleagues and then respond to all your questions. John?

MR. HOLUM: Again, I'd like to thank Secretary Albright for her
openness to creative solutions in redesigning our foreign affairs
agencies. Last week's magnificent success on the chemical weapons
convention shows how the foreign policy structure works best. Our
voice is strongest and clearest when we join together.

The thought of being ACDA's last Director is painful. This is a small
agency with a large purpose and a mighty legacy. At our 35th
anniversary last year, I observed what a privilege it is to walk in
the footsteps of giants and also to stand shoulder to shoulder with
them every day.

But having spent a good deal of time on survival over the last several
years, I also stand here totally convinced that the President's
decision will materially strengthen the arms control non-proliferation
and disarmament missions and the entire foreign affairs structure.
That will happen in major part because Secretary Albright is deeply
committed to this mission and has shown it tangibly, not only by
making arms control and non- proliferation central to her public
service and now to the Department of State, but by stressing the
importance of independent arms control advocacy, including from within
the Department, when arms control and diplomacy may be at odds.

The President's decision at once saves what has been most crucial to
ACDA's historic value and yet adds what has been most needed--a spirit
of teamwork and elevation of arms control and non-proliferation within
the Department. And these missions will be strengthened because there
are giants in this work in the State Department, too. I know that
personnel and PM and elsewhere in State approach the coming months
with as much trepidation as many in ACDA do. It's probably fair to say
that we have unsettled everyone equally with almost mathematical
precision.

But this is not about displacing or downgrading people. Indeed, we
have been working together for two years, under the Vice President's
leadership, to address duplication and overlap, and there's precious
little of it. Now our task is to fill in the details of the President
and Vice President's decision and still keep advancing what the
President has described as the most ambitious agenda to dismantle and
fight the spread of weapons of mass destruction since the atom was
split.

In other words, we are going to rebuild the airplane while we are
still flying in the middle of a race. That will require our best
talents and energies. It will require an unyielding commitment to a
safer world and to cooperation and its pursuit, not with our elbows
out but with our arms linked.

Given all we've accomplished together over the last several years,
there is no doubt we will succeed. Thank you.
...............

MS. HENLEY: My name is Cheryl Henley. I'm with USIA, and I'd like to
know how do you plan to accomplish this consolidation, streamline,
reduce duplication, all within two years?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT:  Well--

MS. HENLEY:  Without job losses.

(Laughter.)

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT:  Well, we are very efficient.

(Laughter.) 

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: 
Let me say that I think it's very important, first
of all, to make two points: that we do have a target date, it's
essential that we stay with that; two, that we are going to be working
a process in the next 120 days that will create a road map, a plan in
order to accomplish this. And we will all be soliciting advice from
you. It has to be a transparent process. It has to be one that does
have a plan and a target date; otherwise, it will never happen. And
Pat Kennedy, as I said, will be leading the group and will be giving
you many more details on how these targets will be accomplished.

I don't know, Pat, if you'd like to say a little bit more right now.

MR. KENNEDY: Basically, we have been talking with our other agency
colleagues about a structure which will consist of planning teams and
a series of task forces. And we believe that by breaking the subject
down into, in effect, bite-sized morsels and involving people from all
agencies and all the specialties and the technical abilities that we
have, that we can come up with a plan in 120 days. It will obviously
have to be fleshed out and certain additional implementation measures
needed, but I have every confidence that we can do it because I
believe, as the Secretary has said before, the greatest strength in
the foreign affairs community is in our colleagues and in our people
and in ourselves. And if we put this together, if we put our minds to
it, we can do it.

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: 
Could I just say, the way we're going to do it is
with your help. And I think that the very best--I wish the logo people
would get to work and do John's statement, without elbows out but arms
linked. I think that should be our motto, not an acronym because God
knows what it would end up being.

(Laughter.) 
........................

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I have to say that every minute of the day I
realize how many of you are out there making me look good, and I
appreciate it deeply. And I can assure you that the people at the
working level, although I kind of think everybody's at the working
level, will be considered. This is not a RIF. This is an attempt to
make our foreign policy structure work better. And I hope none of you
even think for one millisecond that we don't know how much those of us
that have the honor of representing all of you, how much we depend on
everything that you do.
.............

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I had the gall to sit in New York and tell the
United Nations that it needed to reform itself inside and out or we
wouldn't pay our money. So I think it behooves us to take a look
inside and figure out how to make this all work better.

The structures here were set up in various phases during the height of
the Cold War. We are blessed to have that war over. We now need to
structure ourselves to deal with a different kind of world, one in
which arms control will be central to the message, one in which
long-term sustainable development will be central to the message, and
one in which public diplomacy will be involved in a strategic way in
helping us to plan how to deliver a message and receive a message from
abroad.

So I ask you all to give this your best shot. We've got to do it if we
are going to represent this nation properly as we move into the 21st
century. I want this process to be transparent, I sure want it to be
collegial, and most of all, with your help, I want it to work.

Thank you.

(Applause.)

(end transcript)