The Foreign Service Journal - March 2014 - page 15

MARCH 2014
hile the Internet is home to countless websites dealing with various
aspects of diplomacy,
American Diplomacy
stands out for the sheer
scope of its coverage. The online professional journal publishes commentar-
ies, analytical pieces, feature stories, Foreign Service memoirs, scholarly
research and reviews of books and Internet articles, as well as comments
from readers and announcements of upcoming events of interest to Foreign
Service members.
Established in 1996 by a group of retired FSOs in North Carolina, American
Diplomacy Publishers operates the site with the active cooperation of the
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s College of Arts and Sciences and
North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University.
All members of the Foreign Service community are invited to contribute
material to
American Diplomacy,
which also draws on submissions from
distinguished academicians. (All submissions are peer-reviewed.) The site’s
content is regularly refreshed. As of late January, it features artwork by “Dip-
lomats Who Are Painters,” as well as commentaries on Afghanistan, human
rights and former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ new memoir.
Traffic to the site has grown steadily over the years, reaching almost
300,000 visits in 2013.
where the U.S. has facilities under high
threat. Given the current resource-con-
strained budget environment, the com-
mittee is working with the IC to identify
resource gaps and realign assets to focus
on those gaps, especially in North Africa.
Although the IC relied heavily on open
source press reports in the immediate
aftermath of the attacks, the IC con-
ducted little analysis of open source,
extremist-affiliated social media prior to
and immediately after the attacks.
The IC should
expand its capabilities to conduct analy-
sis of open source information, including
extremist-affiliated social media, particu-
larly in areas where it is hard to develop
human intelligence or there has been
recent political upheaval. Analysis of
extremist-affiliated social media should
be more clearly integrated into analytic
products, when appropriate.
There were “tripwires” designed to
prompt a reduction in personnel or the
suspension of operations at the mission
facility in Benghazi and although there
is evidence that some of them had been
crossed, operations continued with mini-
mal change. Some nations closed their
diplomatic facilities in Benghazi as the
security conditions deteriorated during
the summer of 2012, but other nations
stayed along with the United States, con-
trary to some public reports and state-
ments that the U.S. was the last country
represented in Benghazi.
adequate security is not available, the
Department of State should be prepared
to evacuate or close diplomatic facili-
ties under the highest threat, as it has
in recent years in Sanaa, Yemen and
Damascus, Syria.
The commit-
tee supports the recommendations of
the Accountability Review Board to bring
greater collaboration and connectivity
between the State Department’s Bureau
of Diplomatic Security and the IC. The
Department of State must pay special
attention to the “on the ground” assess-
ments of IC and State personnel in the
field and IC analytic products about
assessed risks to specific U.S. facilities
The State Department personnel at the
Temporary Mission Facility in Benghazi
relied on the security officers at the CIA
Annex as a last resort for security in the
event of an attack.
There should
be more specific information exchanged
between DOD and the IC, through the
appropriate channels, to make regional
combatant commanders aware of the
general presence of IC personnel in their
areas of responsibility for the purposes of
emergency evacuations and rescue. This
information could have been helpful to
the commander of AFRICOM and should
have been more easily available to him.
There were no U.S. military resources in
position to intervene in short order in
Benghazi to help defend the Temporary
Mission Facility and its annex on Sept. 11
and 12, 2012.
It is imperative
that the State Department, DOD and the
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