Policy Planning Staff (United States)

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The Policy Planning Staff (sometimes referred to as the Policy Planning Council, the Office of Policy Planning or by its in-house acronym S/P [1] ) is the principal strategic arm of the United States Department of State. It was created in 1947 by renowned Foreign Service Officer George F. Kennan at the request of Secretary of State George Marshall to serve "as a source of independent policy analysis and advice for the Secretary of State." Its first assignment was to design the Marshall Plan.

United States Department of State United States federal executive department responsible for foreign affairs

The United States Department of State (DOS), commonly referred to as the State Department, is the federal executive department that advises the President and conducts international relations. Equivalent to the foreign ministry of other countries, it was established in 1789 as the nation's first executive department.

Foreign Service Officer member of United States Foreign service

A Foreign Service Officer (FSO) is a commissioned member of the United States Foreign Service. Foreign Service Officers formulate and implement the foreign policy of the United States. FSOs spend most of their careers overseas as members of U.S. embassies, consulates, and other diplomatic missions, though some receive assignments to serve at combatant commands, Congress, and educational institutions such as the various U.S. War Colleges.

George F. Kennan American advisor, diplomat, political scientist and historian

George Frost Kennan was an American diplomat and historian. He was best known as an advocate of a policy of containment of Soviet expansion during the Cold War. He lectured widely and wrote scholarly histories of the relations between the USSR and the United States. He was also one of the group of foreign policy elders known as "The Wise Men".


Past directors include George F. Kennan, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Jake Sullivan, Dennis Ross, Gregory B. Craig, Paul Wolfowitz, Paul Nitze, and Richard Haass, and past members include Zbigniew Brzezinski, Sandy Berger, Kori Schake and Michael Armacost. At least 14 past members of the Policy Planning Staff have served as Ambassadors. [2]

Anne-Marie Slaughter American academic, foreign policy analyst, and public commentator

Anne-Marie Slaughter is an American international lawyer, foreign policy analyst, political scientist and public commentator. She received a B.A. from Princeton University in 1980, an M.Phil from Worcester College, Oxford in 1982, a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1985, and a D.Phil in International Relations from Oxford in 1992. Most notably she is a member of the International Law Association, American Society of International Law, American Bar Association, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and World Peace Foundation. During her academic career, she has taught at Princeton University, the University of Chicago, and Harvard University. From 2002 to 2009, she was the Dean of Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Bert G. Kerstetter '66 University Professor of Politics and International Affairs. She was subsequently the first woman to serve as the Director of Policy Planning for the U.S. State Department from January 2009 until February 2011 under U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She is a former president of the American Society of International Law and the current President and CEO of New America. She married Princeton professor Andrew Moravcsik; they live in Princeton with their two sons.

Jake Sullivan American national security aide

Jacob Jeremiah Sullivan is an American policymaker and was a senior policy advisor to Hillary Clinton's 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign, with expertise in foreign policy. He was spoken of as a front-runner for the position of U.S. National Security Advisor under a potential Hillary Clinton administration, before she lost to Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential Election.

Dennis Ross American diplomat

Dennis B. Ross is an American diplomat and author. He has served as the Director of Policy Planning in the State Department under President George H. W. Bush, the special Middle East coordinator under President Bill Clinton, and was a special adviser for the Persian Gulf and Southwest Asia to the former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The Staff is headed by the Director of Policy Planning. The current head is Kiron Skinner.

Director of Policy Planning position in the U.S. state department

The Director of Policy Planning is the United States Department of State official in charge of the department's internal think tank, the Policy Planning Staff. In the department, the Director of Policy Planning has a rank equivalent to Assistant Secretary. The position has traditionally been held by many members of the U.S. foreign policy establishment. Former Directors of Policy Planning include two National Security Advisors, a President of the World Bank, and several presidents of the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations.

Kiron Skinner American writer

Kiron Kanina Skinner is the Director of Policy Planning at the United States Department of State. Previously, she was the Taube Professor of International Relations and Politics at Carnegie Mellon University, and the founding director of several entities at the university, including the Carnegie Mellon University-Washington Semester Program, Center for International Relations and Politics, Institute for Politics and Strategy, and the Institute for Strategic Analysis. She is also the W. Glenn Campbell Research Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.

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  1. Toosi, Nahal (October 26, 2017). "Tillerson's power play". Politico.
  2. Soylent Communications (2016). "US State Department Policy Planning Staff".