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Foreign Affairs Policy Board

The Foreign Affairs Policy Board was launched in December 2011 to provide the Secretary of State, the Deputy Secretaries of State, and the Director of Policy Planning with independent, informed advice and opinion concerning matters of U.S. foreign policy. The Board serves in a solely advisory capacity, with an agenda shaped by the questions and concerns of the Secretary. Its discussions focus on assessing global threats and opportunities; identifying trends that implicate core national security interests; providing recommendations with respect to tools and capacities of the civilian foreign affairs agencies; defining priorities and strategic frameworks for U.S. foreign policy; and performing any other research and analysis of topics raised by the Secretary of State, the Deputy Secretaries, and the Director of Policy Planning.

The Board meets in a plenary session several times a year and is chartered to have up to 25 members. The Board comprises a distinguished, diverse, and bipartisan membership with a wide range of expertise and background, including past government service, academia, politics, development, and business.

Secretary’s Open Forum

What Is the Open Forum?

“The Open Forum (S/OF), headed by an elected Chairperson who serves directly under the Secretary of State, brings new or alternative policy recommendations to the Secretary and other principals from U.S. Government employees, at all levels, of the Department of State and USAID. The Open Forum provides opportunities for any employee to express professional views (including dissenting views) candidly, free of bureaucratic constraints, and under safeguards against pressures or penalties.” [1 FAM 022.6]

The Secretary’s Open Forum was established by Secretary of State Dean Rusk in 1967 during U.S. involvement in the Vietnam conflict. The Open Forum strengthens the American foreign policy process by encouraging creative thinking on vital policy issues, including presentations of differing visions and viewpoints. The Chairman actively solicits speakers and participants from both State Department employees and sources outside the State Department and is elected by the employees of the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future