THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
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:
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.
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.