Kerry: Diplomats cannot avoid risks in their work

tsr intv labott john kerry iran nuclear talks_00001120.jpg

Washington (CNN)The State Department significantly narrowed the scope of its outline of strategic priorities for American diplomacy in a new document released Tuesday.

The 2015 Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) is far shorter in length -- 90 pages instead of 242 -- and puts far less emphasis on initiating sweeping reforms.
The last time the review -- only the second of its kind -- was published was in 2010 under then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
"By design the QDDR does not attempt to include everything," Secretary of State Kerry told reporters. "There is a difference between a blueprint and an encyclopedia."
    Instead, the review focuses on the need to improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the department's work, all the while seeking to mitigate threats to U.S. personnel.
    But Kerry acknowledged that diplomats and USAID workers would always face dangers.
    "It's impossible to conduct diplomacy without some element of risk," Kerry said. "The fact is diplomats and development professionals, as we just learned too sadly in the last few days, willingly accept danger in order to serve."
    The shorter 2015 review document is also an acknowledgement of the constantly evolving environment in which diplomats operate -- perhaps best demonstrated by the fact that neither the conflict in eastern Ukraine nor the modern iteration of ISIS existed when the last QDDR was written.
    The first priority listed in this year's review is the prevention and mitigation of conflict and violent extremism -- which has become a focus of the Obama administration since the rise of the terror group ISIS last year.
    The review also prioritizes the promotion of open, resilient and democratic societies, as well as the advancement of inclusive economic growth.
    The final priority listed in the report has long been an area of focus for both Kerry and the Obama administration: Mitigating and adapting to climate change.
    "Each of these priorities is related to the need for better governance across the globe," said Kerry. "They're all linked."