Page 19 - Foreign Service Journal - March 2013

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THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
|
MARCH 2013
19
sible pushback by those opposed to the
government there caused many in the
bureaucracy to recommend against even
discussing the issue. Tis was despite
the fact that the security situation at the
time called for a review of our ability to
provide adequate protection for mis-
sion personnel in the absence of better
or closer relations with local security
forces.
Recovering the Edge
On the carousel of life, the Foreign
Service too often prefers to ride the
inner horses instead of getting on the
outside, where the ride is faster and the
brass rings are there to reach for.
Te Foreign Service doesn’t have to
become like the Pentagon to recover its
edge. But there’s nothing wrong with
drawing on the best practices of other
institutions to improve efectiveness.
And the only way for us to regain our
pre-eminence within the foreign policy
establishment is to come out of the bun-
ker and promote innovation, managed
risk-taking and innovation.
Risk-takers and innovators, as well
as those willing to challenge the system,
shouldn’t just receive AFSA’s construc-
tive dissent awards, important as those
are. Tey should be recognized by the
foreign afairs agencies where they work.
Promotion precepts should include
managed risk-taking as one of the
benchmarks for advancement. In
addition, there should be courses, in
residence at FSI or distance learning,
on innovative leadership in a Foreign
Service context. Tis won’t change the
culture overnight, but it will start the
process. A journey of a thousand miles
begins with a single step.
n
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