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the most innovative elements of the
State Department model, says Susie
Adams, chief technology officer for Mi-
crosoft’s federal practice. “The biggest
problem is: You have a finite number of
resources, so how do you know what to
do first?” she says.
State’s programhas limitations, to be
sure. It concentrates on fixing known
security vulnerabilities, which means
that previously unknown modes of
computer attack won’t be detected.
But security specialists say 80 percent
of cyber infiltrations occur through
known security gaps.
In addition, the program only scans
computers that runWindows, and does
not yet monitor routers or other net-
work equipment that cyberattacks tar-
get, according to a July 8, 2011,
Government Accountability Office as-
The GAO report, “Information Se-
curity: State Has Taken Steps to Im-
plement a Continuous Monitoring
Application, but Key Challenges Re-
, also found that
the program didn’t scan all machines
every three days, as it is designed to do.
State says it plans to expand its mon-
itoring to include routers and other de-
vices, and is working with the National
Security Agency to obtain information
about new cyberthreats. But its trans-
formation from a laggard to a leader in
cybersecurity is already worth celebrat-
— Steven Alan Honley, Editor
Rolling Up the Welcome Mat?
Writing in the Nov. 11 issue of the
National Post
), a Toronto newspaper, Lee Ber-
thiaume reports that the CanadianDe-
partment of Foreign Affairs and Inter-
national Trade recently instructed over-
seas staff not to exceed established
standards when it comes to treatment
of visiting dignitaries and officials.
According to the DFAIT report,
“The use of discretion to exceed service
standards has resulted in inconsistent
service delivery to stakeholders across
missions.” This, in turn, purportedly
sows confusion and dissatisfaction
when those visitors do not receive sim-
ilar treatment at other embassies and
In their defense, Canadian diplo-
mats told evaluators that a degree of
flexibility in applying the standards was
necessary, given the different contexts
and environments in which they oper-
ate around the world. They also noted
that smaller diplomatic posts generally
get fewer visits from senior officials, so
picking dignitaries up at the airport
gives the envoys an important opportu-
nity to discuss strategic issues.
Former Canadian diplomat Daryl
Copeland applauds the reminder to en-
voys to do the real analytical and intel-
ligence-gathering work for which they
are sent overseas, not odd jobs like run-
ning to the airport, which others can
do. “Anything that didn’t fit into some-
body else’s job description just got
dumped on the [diplomats],” he said.
For that reason, he called the memo
“overdue and necessary.”
Canadian diplomats will soon have
an additional incentive to be less lavish
in greeting official visitors: DFAIT, like
all federal government departments,
must submit proposals on how to cut 5
to 10 percent from its budget. Experts
expect travel and hospitality funds to be
one of the first areas to be hit.
— Steven Alan Honley, Editor
F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L / J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 2
he U.S., Britain, Australia and our other allies did not wage war in Iraq and
Afghanistan merely to remove a threat to peace but in the confidence that,
given a chance, almost everyone would prefer a life in which you “treated
others as you would have them treat you.” The U.S. has led the first army ever
to enter Afghanistan to liberate rather than to conquer. Given the history, it’s a
monumental task, but it’s vital for the welfare of the Afghan people, the stability
of a dangerous region and the safety of the wider world.
I know, sir, that the Australian forces serving in Afghanistan are grateful for the
American logistical assistance that sustains our commitment. They are proud to
be fighting and building alongside their U.S. comrades in the Uruzgan Provincial
Reconstruction Team. As well, they hope that their mission is continued until
their task is done: the establishment of a stable, effective and humane govern-
ment, at least by Afghan standards, backed by reliable security forces.
They know that victory in Afghanistan won’t resemble the unequivocal reso-
lution of World War II. It will be more like success in Northern Ireland. It will in-
volve a process as much as an outcome. Our soldiers in Afghanistan also
understand that giving up prematurely would be a defeat and no less disastrous
for not being sustained on the battlefield. …
American world leadership may only truly be appreciated after it’s gone. None
of us should want to find out the hard way what a shrunken America might be.
— Tony Abbott, Australian opposition leader, addressing Parliament on the
occasion of President Barack Obama’s Nov. 17, 2011, visit to Canberra