Episode 3: Diplomacy and the State Department

Episode 3: Diplomacy and the State Department


Dr. Mary Thompson-Jones, Walter Braunohler



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The State Department is the oldest Cabinet-level agency in the United States, with over 250 U.S. diplomatic posts worldwide and 70 to 80 thousand employees, almost half of whom are U.S. citizens. The structure of the State Department and career tracks for our nation’s diplomats both at home and abroad can sometimes be opaque for understanding the full range of activities and missions it serves. Unpacking these matters are Dr. Mary Thompson-Jones, professor and chair of Women, Peace and Security at the U.S. Naval War College and retired career diplomat in the Senior Foreign Service, and Walter Braunohler, Minister Counselor in the Senior Foreign Service and professor of national security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College.

About the Speakers:
Dr. Mary Thompson-Jones is a career diplomat, professor, and published author on U.S. foreign policy and the practice of diplomacy. Her book, To the Secretary: Leaked Embassy Cables and America’s Foreign Policy Disconnect (Norton 2016), was praised by Joseph Nye as “a fascinating account of how diplomacy really works from the bottom up.” Her diplomatic experience spans a 23-year career as a foreign service officer in leadership roles in the Czech Republic, Canada, Guatemala, Spain, and Washington, D.C. She retired with the rank of Minister-Counselor and is the recipient of several Superior and Meritorious Honor awards. Before coming to the USNWC, she directed a master’s program at Northeastern University.

Walter Braunohler is the State Department's senior faculty advisor at the U.S. Naval War College. A U.S. foreign service officer for over 20 years, Mr. Braunohler was most recently the counselor for public diplomacy at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine from 2020-2022. Prior to that, Mr. Braunohler was the U.S. consul general in Krakow, Poland from 2015-2018 and the spokesperson for the U.S. Mission to Thailand, Bangkok. He has also served in Sudan, Australia, Iraq and Washington, D.C. A graduate of the University of Michigan and the U.S. Naval War College, Mr. Braunohler speaks Thai, Polish and Ukrainian, and is originally from western Michigan.

The views presented by the faculty or other guest speakers do not reflect official positions of the Naval War College, DON or DOD.

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U.S. Naval War College, National Security Affairs, international security, professional education, podcast series, State Department, diplomacy, civil service

Episode 3: Diplomacy and the State Department