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20
JANUARY 2013
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THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
The key question is how to preserve the
unique competencies and results-driven
culture that have made the Commercial
Service respected and valued in the
American business community.
retain a degree of oversight, though
responsibility for the budget would pass
to the foreign afairs committees;
•An advisory council to the Secretary
of State, appointed by the White House
and comprised of both large corpora-
tions and small and medium-sized
enterprises, would protect an entre-
preneurial, client-facing and service-
oriented focus. District export councils
would be represented on the advisory
council and continue to infuence the
product and promotional oferings of the
overseas feld through this channel.
The Best of Both Worlds
For a traditional State ofcer, the
notion of an FCS acquisition is one thing,
but a merger? A merger implies that the
two entities respect each other’s cultures
and competencies, even if one is vastly
bigger than the other. But if State absorbs
FCS and smothers its culture, the Ameri-
can business community will sufer as a
result.
State is simply not geared to deliver
the fexible, innovative, high value-
added services that FCS has developed
over the years. Just as large companies
celebrate and value diferent subcultures
in marketing, manufacturing, fnance
and engineering, so the State Depart-
ment would do well to nurture rather
than crush the FCS culture.
Tere is a growing recognition that
our economic security forms the founda-
tion of our national security; thus, the
wasteful overlaps between our functions
make less and less sense. We have an
opportunity to create something better
for the American business community.
A merger of the FCS international feld
into State is only one of several possible
approaches to deliver greater value to
the business community at less cost to
the taxpayer, but it has obvious advan-
tages.
As Foreign Service ofcers, State and
Commerce personnel have much in
common. We share a deep dedication
to protecting and advancing America’s
economic security and our foreign policy
goals, and we have worked well together
over decades.
Even the diferences in cultures
should be seen as positive and mutu-
ally benefcial. Done well, the mission
of creating jobs through exports and
inbound investment would be strength-
ened through a more rational integration
of talent and resources.
Te key question is how to preserve
the unique competencies and results-
driven culture that have made the Com-
mercial Service respected and valued in
the American business community.
n