New State Department Ethos

On April 26, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo introduced the Department’s new ETHOS or its “operating principles.”[1] They are set forth below along with the Secretary’s explanations.

“I am a champion of American diplomacy.  We need to have the competitive mentality of a team trying to win a championship. Inside the department, we should have a healthy competition of ideas in which the best idea is victorious. And outside of it, we need to win the battle of competing ideologies. Our mission is to champion the American way of life.” Diplomacy is “our DNA; it’s who we are. It’s why we come to work every day. We need to keep this at the forefront of everything that we do.”

“My colleagues and I proudly serve the United States and the American people at the Department of State, America’s first executive department. 

We support and defend the Constitution of the United States.[E]very one of us, when we were sworn in, took an oath to the Constitution. It sets forth the foundational principles of American life. It guarantees our rights. It must guide our work. We have to support and defend it in everything that we do.”

We protect the American people and promote their interests and values around the world by leading our nation’s foreign policy. The “American People: Never forget who it is that we work for. Their interests, not ours, not yours, not those with whom we’re interacting, unless they’re Americans – the American people are whose interests we must protect.”

As a member of this team, I serve with unfailing professionalism, in both my demeanor and my actions, even in the face of adversity. [P]rofessionalism – adhering to a set of common commitments to be best. Professionalism isn’t dependent on position or salary. It’s about disagreeing without being uncivil, and building up our institution, not tearing it down, marching forward as a team.”

“I act with uncompromising personal and professional integrity.[Integrity] integrity. This goes for all of us, every single one. Honesty and trust are absolutely essential to everything that we do, and a high-performing team has never existed without a deep understanding of a common effort to have integrity in everything that we do.”

I take ownership of and responsibility for my actions and decisions. We’re putting an awful lot of effort into ensuring a new focus on personal accountability. Let’s do the job right, let’s hold ourselves accountable, each and every one of us, and hold others around us accountable for their efforts as well.”

I show unstinting respect in word and deed for my colleagues and all who serve alongside of me. We need to make sure we show unfailing respect for each other, simply because we are all human beings created by God. And if we don’t, our mission will splinter. It’ll fall apart.”


[1] State Dep’t, One Team, One Mission: Introducing Our Ethos (April 26, 2019).


Published by


As a retired lawyer and adjunct law professor, Duane W. Krohnke has developed strong interests in U.S. and international law, politics and history. He also is a Christian and an active member of Minneapolis’ Westminster Presbyterian Church. His blog draws from these and other interests. He delights in the writing freedom of blogging that does not follow a preordained logical structure. The ex post facto logical organization of the posts and comments is set forth in the continually being revised “List of Posts and Comments–Topical” in the Pages section on the right side of the blog.

Leave a Reply