The Foreign Service Journal

 


The Foreign Service Journal covers foreign affairs from an insider's perspective, providing thought-provoking articles on international issues, the practice of diplomacy and the U.S. Foreign Service. Including the AFSA News section, The Journal is published monthly (January-February and July-August issues combined) by the American Foreign Service Association.

This month, the FSJ takes an in-depth look at the state of diplomatic reporting today. What are the main challenges to reporting officers? Do instant communications and the threat of another WikiLeaks-type release of information put constraints on what reporting can achieve? We get two viewpoints, one from a veteran producer of reports and the other from a longtime consumer of diplomatic reporting inside the intelligence community. We also offer a selection of views from current reporting officers.

Also this month, Joash Omondi looks back at the Westgate terrorist attack and its effects in Kenya. Retired FSO Donald Bishop takes a humorous look at the 1949 "classic" film, State Department: File 649. Luciano Mangiafico reflects on spy-vs-spy, Romanian style. Retired Ambassador Dennis Jett wonders how we can get better ambassadors, and AFSA President Bob Silverman looks forward to the second QDDR exercise in his President's Views column.

We always welcome short, focused letters about FSJ content; please send them to journal@afsa.org.

Featured Content

FOCUS: EMBASSY REPORTING TODAY

The Art of Political Reporting

Despite the challenges, reporting from the field—in whatever form it takes—is still the indispensable ingredient of any meaningful foreign policy discussion.
BY DAN LAWTON


Diplomatic Reporting: Adapting to the Information Age

While technology enhances brainpower, it is no substitute for the seasoned diplomat’s powers of observation and assessment, argues this veteran consumer of diplomatic reporting.
BY JOHN C. GANNON


A Selection of Views from Practitioners


FEATURES

It Deserved an Oscar

For those of us in the Foreign Service, “State Department File 649” is our cinematic showcase, William Lundigan our star, and Virginia Bruce our Best Actress.
BY DONALD M. BISHOP


Westgate: The Other Nairobi and the Future of Kenya

In the shock and tragedy of the terrorist attack, the outpouring of charity from Kenyans toward all those affected demonstrated the power of the “Kenyan Spirit.”
BY JOASH OMONDI


COLUMNS

President’s Views

The New QDDR Offers Hope
BY ROBERT J. SILVERMAN


Letter from the Editor

Reporting Matters
BY SHAWN DORMAN


Speaking Out

How to Get Better Ambassadors
BY DENNIS JETT


Reflections

Spy vs. Spy, Romanian Style
BY LUCIANO MANGIAFICO