As where you sit is all-too-important in the foreign-policy bureaucracy, I wonder what the "lower" relocation of the Under Secretary's Office means for public diplomacy in the Obama Administration. My inclination, perhaps wrong-headed, is to think that this move is something of a demotion for PD (see my March 2, 2009 article, Smart Power In, Public Diplomacy Out?). Consider this quotation:
--From Harry W. Koop and Charles A. Gillepsie, Career Diplomacy: Life and Work in the U.S. Foreign Service (Washington DC: Georgetown University Press, 2008), p. 38; above image from
Washington jargon gives buildings human powers and characteristics: The White House says, the Pentagon wants, Treasury insists, Commerce drags its feet. In the Department of State, this kind of language is applied to floors -- and to letters. Letter codes designate all State Department offices. The secretary of state is S. The executive secretariat is S/ES, which manages information to seventh-floor principals like P, the undersecretary for political affairs, or M, the undersecretary for management. The Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs is EAP, the Office of Japanese Affairs (also called the Japan desk) is EAP/J, and so forth. It is quite possible for the seventh floor to be furious when S/ES bounces a memo that P tasked to EAP back to J, because the sixth floor did not sign off. ...
The office of the secretary of state would probably hold some two dozen employees if it were on the third or fourth floors.