A story in the New York Times in the Week in Review section talked about the reassertion of the civilian role in US foreign policy (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/12/weekinreview/12filkins.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=holbrooke&st=cse). Under Secretary of State Clinton, one of the goals of the State Department is to reassert its centrality in making foreign policy. The article notes that for the past eight years, Rumsfeld sidelined Secretaries Powell and Rice and dominated the country's interaction with the world and the military also took on roles traditionally reserved for diplomats like overseeing reconstruction and development projects. Richard Holbrooke has and is willing to use a whole range of tools like diplomacy, persuasion, and money. It also talks about how Holbrooke and Admiral Mullen make a good team talking to parties in the region. Admiral Mullen himself has decried the militarization of American foreign policy and believes that the State Department should retake many traditional roles of foreign policy.
An astonishing fact mentioned is that the State Department has less diplomats working around the globe than musicians playing in military bands. The Pentagon's budget is 24 times larger than the State Department and USAID's combined.