U.S. diplomats need tech skills to compete with China

The United States diplomatic corps is facing a new challenge: a rising China. According to a State Department official, the US needs to have diplomats with technical expertise to maintain its technological edge.

To address this, the State Department needs to reorient its bureaucracy to incentivize US diplomats to brush up on their tech skills in order to address pressing global challenges, help partner nations, and boost capacity. As evidence, the White House recently provided Costa Rica with $25 million to help respond to a ransomware attack and $25 million to Albania to help recover from an Iranian cyberattack. Furthermore, it has been stated that every credible candidate to be a chief of mission or future US ambassador must understand technology issues.

To this end, a proposal has been made to create a permanent fund for US cybersecurity assistance. It is clear that US diplomats need tech skills to compete with China, and the State Department must take action to ensure this is the case.

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