The Foreign Service Journal - January/February 2018

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2018 67 Good News for Foreign Service Parents A significant expansion of AFSA’s 91-year-old scholar- ship program was included in AFSA’s 2018 budget, approved by the Govern- ing Board at its November meeting. Thanks to prudent man- agement of the now-$9.3 million AFSA Scholarship Fund, including efficiencies to trim the cost of administer- ing the program, AFSA will nearly triple funding for Merit Aid in 2018—from $45,500 in 2017 to $129,000. That will allow AFSA to award 41 scholarships, up from 24 last year. The value of the typical award will also rise from $2,500 to $3,500. With 105 applications received last year, the program is highly competitive. Funding for AFSA’s Finan- cial Aid program will remain at $221,550 in 2018—with $156,000 coming from the AFSA Scholarship Fund and $64,500 from gener- ous donors such as DACOR. Awards range from $3,000 to $5,000 based on need. In 2017, 98 Foreign Service youth applied and 67 received grants. The deadline for applica- tions for AFSA’s scholarship programs is March 5. See the AFSA website for details. n AFSA ON THE HILL AFSA NEWS Partnering with Congress and Others to Defend Our Institution As I write this, nine days remain before the Continuing Resolution expires on Dec. 8. By the time this issue of the Journal is published, we’ll know whether Congress has passed its FY 18 authoriza- tions bill or a second CR, or whether instead the govern- ment has shut down. Con- gress faces difficult issues as leaders try to negotiate a deal to lift the caps on defense and non-defense spending, vote on the tax plan, fund disaster relief and deal with immigra- tion issues. So where does funding for foreign affairs agencies stand in all this? AFSA has been pressing for funding at Fiscal Year 2017 enacted levels. This is a “big ask,” especially after appropriators spared us the 32 percent cut the adminis- tration requested, but left us somewhere between the 19 percent cut recommended by the House and the 10 percent cut recommended by the Sen- ate. The only way to fund us fully this late in the game is if the caps are lifted on defense spending, a deal is cut to lift non-defense spending, and some of the newmoney comes to us. Not easy, and in fact, all budgets remain in peril until a deal on caps is made. Wherever the numbers end up, however, the dialog is shifting among support- ers in both houses and both parties, from pride in avoiding the 32 percent cut to growing consensus for fully funding foreign affairs, concern about the loss of Foreign Service leadership and strangled intake, and consternation about the so-called redesign. Members of Congress also are researching how they can compel the department to spend appropriated funds. We are witnessing a his- toric split between the admin- istration’s desire to diminish U.S. diplomacy and the sup- port of many in Congress who know that the world’s best diplomatic corps is a founda- tion of America’s greatness. No doubt you have seen in the press the letters Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) and the Democrats on the House For- eign Affairs Committee sent to the State Department, and the comments of Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair- man Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and ranking member Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.). They share our desire to maintain U.S. power and influence.We want to see the United States field a winning team. Let me close with a shout- out to our partners in support for the Foreign Service. Thank you to the American College of National Security Leaders, a group of retired flag officers, ambassadors and senior executive service members. Your letter to congressional leaders, and the visits we paid them together, sent the clear message that defense and diplomacy are inextricable elements of power.When a retired general and admiral walk in the door of a congressional office with two Foreign Service officers, it sends a powerful message. Thank you also to the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, which brings together over 500 businesses and non- profits to advocate funding for diplomacy and development, and with whomwe are work- ing closely. Thank you to the Ameri- can Academy of Diplomacy, and to the scores of retired diplomats who are making the case for diplomacy both in the press and on the Hill. And thank you to all active members of the Foreign Service. Time and time again, members of Congress cite their experiences with you in the field as the foundation for their support of the Foreign Service. n —Mary Daly, Director of Advocacy and Speechwriting