The Foreign Service Journal - March 2017
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MARCH 2017



the U.S. embassy suddenly had to establish new office space,

and thus reopened the old chancery compound that had been

vacated a year earlier.

This work required technical setup by DS security engineering

officers. Commercial flights were disrupted even as DS diplomatic

couriers had tomove critical equipment and diplomatic pouch

loads into and throughout the region. The CDC began placing

hundreds of health care staff in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone;

and the Department of Defense deployed 3,000 personnel to build

medical centers in Liberia. With the help of the United States act-

ing in concert with local authorities and international partners, the

world staved off a potential pandemic that, left unchecked, could

have hadmore disastrous consequences.

Other Risks, Other Challenges

Meanwhile, a growing number of seemingly unrelated or

loosely related trends are piling up, with pervasive negative con-

sequences for American and global security. For example:

Oil prices:

Volatile crude oil prices are well below the average

of the past two decades at roughly $50 a barrel in the final weeks

of 2016, a 50-percent cut in prices from as recently as 2014. This

severely strains the finances and the social structures of oil-

producing nations, many of which budget for oil revenue at $70 a

barrel. These nations often lack economic diversity and use their

petro-earnings as a social lubricant.

Population growth and the youth bulge:

Decades of global

humanitarian work have had a dramatic impact on world popula-

tions. According to United Nations data, infant mortality in 1965

was an appalling 100 out of every 1,000 infants born. Today,

thanks to health, sanitation, economic and medical programs,

that figure is closer to 37 out of 1,000. Hundreds of millions of

people are alive today who, a generation ago, might have died in

infancy. This means enormous growth in populations under the

age of 25, most of themwith extensive access to global informa-

tion via social media.

Climate change:

Regardless of what causes climate change,

it places more stress on fragile economies. Throughout human

history, people could pack up and move somewhere else if

local conditions changed. Our modern nation-state borders are

Our embassies and missions

are more essential than ever.

At the same time, diplomacy

has evolved into much more

than formal office calls.

The Diplomatic Security Memorial, dedicated in 2015, is located in the lobby of DS headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. The memorial

honors all who lost their lives in the line of duty while in service to the Bureau of Diplomatic Security. The names include host-nation

security personnel, employees of DS, military personnel assigned to or supporting DS and contracted security personnel.