Why the military will be America's chief diplomatic tool for years to come

The State Department is supposed to direct American foreign policy, but it lacks the human and financial resources to fulfill its mission. R. Nicholas Burns, a foreign service veteran, may have summed up the problem best when he said that we have more musicians in the Pentagon than we have diplomats in the State Department. The department’s budget for 2009 is $39 billion — less than 8 percent of the amount allotted to the Defense Department…

Defense Secretary Robert Gates recognizes the imbalance and has called for increasing the State Department’s budget. But this is a long-term proposition. As he rebuilds his team in a new administration, Mr. Gates should see to it that every command has civilian officials to work alongside their military counterparts.