The Foreign Service Journal - January/February 2017
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Call on Chas Freeman

Recruit retired Ambassador Chas W. Freeman Jr. as soon as

possible for the transition team, and also for subsequent policy

posts in the foreign affairs and/or national security fields.

Helen Bridget Burkart and James E. Burkart

FSOs, retired

Bethesda, Maryland

Sustain the Peace Corps

Support and sustain the Peace Corps, a hallmark of America’s

engagement in the world that redounds to the betterment of all

and pays dividends in terms of influence and access.

Robert E. Gribbin

Ambassador, retired

Springfield, Virginia

The Rogers Act Established the

Professional Foreign Service

The 1924 Rogers Act established the Foreign Service as a profes-

sional corps of commissioned officers approved by the Senate and

serving at the pleasure of the president. In 1923 Representa-

tive John Jacob Rogers (R-Mass.) led the initiative to create and

maintain a flexible and democratic diplomatic corps that would

attract and retain the best people for worldwide duty on the

basis of proven merit. Admission into the Foreign Service was

based on a competitive examination, probationary assignments

and merit promotion into the career service. This act was further

strengthened by legislation in 1946.

The 1980 Foreign Service Act amended these previous laws

and solidified anew that the Foreign Service is a professional

corps of officers whose mission is to support the president and

the Secretary of State in the conduct of U.S. foreign affairs. It fur-

ther stated that this professional corps includes consular officers

and agents, and that the Foreign Service is deemed essential to

the national interest.

The long history of the Foreign Service and the names

engraved in stone in the Department of State’s diplomatic

entrance of those officers who have given their lives in service

to our country attest to the need to maintain the independent

integrity of the Foreign Service and its personnel and promo-

tion systems, apart from other U.S. government recruitment and

employment systems.

Members of the Foreign Service include specialists in many

fields—all of them in the several foreign affairs agencies serve

our government and the American people on the front lines of

U.S. national security around the world.

Bruce K. Byers

FSO, retired

Reston, Virginia

USAID Plays a Vital Role

Temperature extremes, more intense droughts and less predict-

able rains have had an impact on harvests, food security and

livelihoods globally, with a potential to accelerate instability

and conflict as resources become increasingly scarce. Through

targeted programs and interventions, USAID Foreign Service

officers have given communities and small-scale farmers the

technology, information and skills to adapt crops and liveli-

hoods to a changing climate, and to build resilience to natural

disasters. Through a combination of early warning systems and

natural resource management techniques that have evolved

with a changing climate, these programs are supporting USAID’s

goal to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic

societies to advance our security and prosperity.

Ani Zamgochian


U.S. Embassy Guatemala City, Guatemala, and

Janet Lawson


Washington, D.C.

Make Fair Pay for Locally

Employed Staff a Priority

Locally Employed (LE) staff members are the backbone of

embassies and consulates around the world. Americans leave

after a few years, but LE staff members stay in place, providing

technical expertise, administrative support, security, language

skills and host country expertise. Many of these dedicated pro-

fessionals have died in the line of duty.

Yet the State Department has failed to provide fair compen-

sation for these indispensable employees. A 2009 report from

State’s Office of Inspector General found that the LE staff com-

pensation system is “inappropriate and inefficient” and “cannot

be regarded as professional treatment of an irreplaceable, valued

group of employees.”

OIG found that lower-grade LE staff members in some coun-

tries were paid at a rate that fell below minimum living stan-