"There are, believe it or not, more people in American military bands than in the entire U.S. diplomatic corps."

Jeremi Suri has an excellent proposition:
American diplomacy will only achieve the serious status it deserves (and the world needs) when it draws on the most promising people in American society. The State Department must start at the grass roots, opening a process of recruitment and training that reaches the most talented college students who are committed to global change, but uncertain how to plan their careers. Today, these talented students most often go to the military, the Peace Corps, or a non-governmental organization. The State Department should develop a track to recruit and retain them in large numbers...

The State Department needs its own ROTC program. The key institution for American diplomacy could select the most talented college students, provide them with scholarships, and prepare them for immediate contributions to American foreign policy after graduation. Think, for example, of how the nation and its allies would benefit from more talented, idealistic, and hard-working trained young experts on the Middle East traveling to that region for assistance with reconstruction and nation-building efforts. Think how the nation and its allies would benefit from more young people trained in Chinese and other Asian languages, working for the American embassies in that vitally important region. The State Department needs more talent and it could inexpensively recruit and nuture that talent though a program of college scholarships with limited service requirements. This has worked so well for the American military; it would work even better for the under-staffed and frequently disparaged American diplomtic corps. (sic where necessary)
There's much, much more at the link -- you'd be doing yourself a great disservice to only read my excerpt.