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MARCH 2017


these places are free and independent

countries, out of bounds, off limits, not

grounds for poaching. Good fences make

good neighbors.

Richard A. Virden

Senior FSO, retired

Plymouth, Minnesota

Required Reading

on Russia

Congratulations on a superb analysis

of today’s Russia and the interview with

George Shultz in the December issue.

As a target of continuous Soviet dis-

information attacks from 1963 to at least

1993, I am sensitive to any effort by Rus-

sia to continue those practices. Because

they didn’t like what I was reporting as

DCM/chargé in Kabul (1980-1981), the

Soviets nearly derailed my successful

40-year career by convincing the govern-

ment of India to declare me persona non

grata, just as I was about to take my post

as political counselor in New Delhi.

But after reading the articles in the



—and, in particular, those

by Raymond Smith and Louis Sell—I can

see that there may be a better approach

to dealing with Russia than strict con-


Perhaps the somewhat controversial

choices by President-elect Trump for

Secretary of State and ambassador to

Moscow will find such a path. This


should be required reading for both of

them. Good luck!

George G.B. Griffin

Senior FSO, retired

Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania

The Critical Role

of IRM Specialists

As a modern-day information man-

agement officer (IMO) working to sup-

port the Foreign Service and our policy

objectives, I greatly enjoyed reading and

could certainly relate to Tim Lawson’s

excellent article, “Communications Behind the Iron Curtain,” in your De


ber issue.

Not unlike his own challenges facing

the Soviets during their dying days, my

team and I here at the U.S. mission in

Geneva often find ourselves pressured by

our own “nuclear reduction” goals and

objectives, as the last two years of delega-

tions and visits by the Secretary of State

will attest.

I would hope to see more articles and

stories like Mr. Lawson’s in

The Foreign

Service Journal

showcasing the important,

often critical role the Bureau of Informa-

tion Resources Management and IRM

specialists play in advancing U.S. interests

around the world.

Steve Mort


U.S. Mission Geneva

Professionalism and

Dedication Behind

the Scenes

As an information management

technical specialist (IMTS/T) who pre-

viously served in Moscow (2012-2014), I

was intrigued by Tim Lawson’s article in

the December



The dedication, effort and sacrifice

demonstrated by information resources

management (IRM) communicators

during the Cold War have rarely been

acknowledged outside IRM.

Twenty-five years on, communica-

tors continue to support the global

mission of the Foreign Service, often

behind the scenes and with little recog-

nition but, hopefully, with the highest

level of professionalism and dedication

for which our predecessors set the bar.

With the events of the recent period

taking place in Moscow and Washing-

ton, IRM’s mettle may soon be put to