The Foreign Service Journal - March 2014 - page 11

MARCH 2014
classified material [i.e., unlike at every
other airport on the long itinerary], so
a second courier is sent from Bangkok
ahead of time to act as a
cleared escort. …The escort
has to be joined by a U.S.
Transportation Security
Administration employee
Is a commissioned U.S.
government courier who
is cleared to handle top-
secret documents really
not trusted to stand next
to the plane and retrieve
the classified pouches
he has brought to Guam? Think
of the expense required to have a second
courier sent from Bangkok to carry out
that task. And even this second courier
needs a minder from the Transportation
Security Administration?
I find that difficult to fathom, espe-
cially since it is a regular occurrence with
the same limited group of couriers—all
of whommust already be known to
TSA personnel in Guam. Has the State
Department even
to rectify this
nonsense with the Department of Home-
land Security?
Harvey Leifert
FSO, retired
Bethesda, Md.
A True Story
I enjoyed James B. Angell’s article,
as a novel (p. 26) is an error.
Surely Mr. Angell knows that this grip-
ping account of Louis Zamperini’s life
from the 1930s and 1940s is all too true.
That is what gives it its power.
Samuel V. Smith
FSO, retired
Arlington, Va.
Barriers to Equity on
USAID FS Evaluations
AFSA USAID VP Sharon Wayne deserves
praise fo
which advocates for clear
agency communication
on the promotion process.
Like many other
Foreign Service officers at
the U.S. Agency for Inter-
national Development, I
have often wondered about
the number of promotions
given, how the cutoff was
determined and how many FSOs were
considered. Transparency and commu-
nication about the process would give
employees a sense of equity, but barriers
are not limited to the promotion board
As stated in USAID Human Resources
Automated Directive System Series
300, appraisal committees—involved in
every aspect of the Employee Evaluation
Program—are responsible for ensuring
evaluations are equitable and objective,
while principal officers form and select
the members of those bodies.
Overlooked or ignored in this is the
supervisor who evaluates an employee
of the same rank and backstop, creat-
ing a culture of competition (instead of
mentorship) for finite promotion oppor-
tunities. The promotion board may not
be aware of the supervisor’s rank (the
annual evaluation form only includes the
employee’s rank), even though appraisal
committees and principal officers have
access to that information.
As a recently retired contracting
officer, I can still remember my supervi-
sor—who was the same rank as I—tell-
ing me, “Chris, you need a mentor, but
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