AFSA President Seeks Your Views

Dear Foreign Service Colleagues,

I have two specific feedback requests and hope that you will take a few moments to respond:

  1. I would welcome your thoughts on my May 2012 President’s column in the Foreign Service Journal. I chose this topic because I want to know whether FSOs today agree that there is a need for better understanding of what “generalist” means in the context of the Foreign Service and the conduct of American diplomacy. Is it important to define the Foreign Service as a distinct professional cadre and to refurbish its professional standing? Do you agree with the points in the column? Want to suggest others? Disagree? Please let me know. If you don’t have your May FSJ handy, you can read it by clicking below.

    Time for FSOs to Stand Up for the Foreign Service

    It is time for Foreign Service officers to explain who they are, what they do and what the personnel term "generalist" really means. In the context of a disciplined, national diplomatic service, it signifies a multifaceted, multifunctional officer, expert in the practice and art of diplomacy. As with their military counterparts, FSOs are commissioned officers who have earned their status via a rigorous selection process, followed by highly competitive evaluations for promotion. No one thinks it makes sense to hire bird colonels from outside the ranks of the career military; the same principle should apply to our diplomatic service. Click here to read more.

  2. We are establishing an AFSA Professionalism and Ethics Committee with combined active-duty and retiree membership to help explore and define what we mean by professionalism, what kind and amount of professional education we need, developing a code of professional conduct, and more. If you might be interested and would like to know more about the mandate and agenda, or have ideas to suggest, please contact me at

Best Regards,

Susan Johnson