The Foreign Service Journal - March 2018

10 MARCH 2018 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL Blome offers some answers in “Still Waiting” (that’s a hint), along with some suggestions for riding out the period of limited hiring. (Note to FS family members seeking work: We pay for articles pub- lished in the FSJ ; we have revived the AFSA News Family Member Matters column; and we are building our list of FS pho- tographers who can get paid for photos we use in the magazine. In fact, three FS family member photos are on this month’s cover.) Associate Editor Donna Gorman takes on the difficult topic of “Surviving Divorce in the Foreign Service,” offering perceptions from those who have been through it along with guidance on where to find the right resources and support, while FS Specialist Mikkela Thompson shares a collection of perspectives on what it’s like to be single overseas in “Singles Speak.” In FS Know-How, “Taking Care of Our Own,” AFSA VP for Retirees John Naland explains how the Senior Living Founda- tion of the American Foreign Service can help retirees financially when facing difficult situations. This was not the easiest edition of the Journal to put together. You will find many more anonymous comments than usual in the articles. There is a general chill in the air at State, as some fear LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Checking In with Foreign Service Families BY SHAWN DORMAN T here are so many facets to the issues faced by Foreign Service families, so much that makes FS life exciting and rewarding. And there are so many challenges FS families face, even in the best of times. These are not the best of times. In Speaking Out, Kathi Silva shares the serious concerns in the FS community today regarding diminishing support for families with special needs kids. Some fear that the new model at State is simply to keep families with special needs kids from serving overseas. Against the backdrop of today’s #MeToo and #MeTooNatSec movement, our cover story by Ambassador (ret.) Leslie Bassett takes on the problem of sexual harassment at State in “#StateToo: Ending Harassment at the State Depart- ment.” We asked former FSJ Associate Editor Debra Blome to update us on the State Department hiring freeze as it relates to family member employment. (Donna Gorman’s look at this topic for the July- August issue, “Out in the Cold,” was our most-read article of 2017, and painted a rather bleak picture of the job situation for family members overseas.) The Secretary of State’s Dec. 12 town hall offered hope: he said the hiring freeze on family member employment would be lifted for 2018. Great news! But what has come through since then? Is there reason for optimism now? Shawn Dorman is the editor of The Foreign Service Journal. reprisal for speaking candidly. The Journal seeks to spotlight topics of concern to members of our community and to share their voices. While we avoid publishing unattributed articles and let- ters, we are willing to publish comments without attribution as long as our authors know who the people they quote are and can vouch for them. Some readers disagreed with our decision to publish the critique of U.S. assistance, “When Criticism Falls on Deaf Ears: The Case of U.S. Foreign Aid” (November FSJ) . But the Journal is a vehicle for discussion and debate on foreign affairs issues and work. Accordingly, Letters-Plus features two thoughtful responses to that artic le, from former USAID FSOs Terry Myers and Raymond Malley. May the dialogue continue. On the cover, you’ll see the provoca- tive line, “Time for a National Conversa- tion.” This is the title and central tenet of the Message from the Hill from Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who con- tinues to be a strong advocate for U.S. diplomacy and development and for the Foreign Service. In President’s Views, Ambassador Barbara Stephenson echoes that theme, and lays out the budget case to show that America should be building up its core diplomatic capability rather than pulling the team off the field. n The Journal seeks to spotlight topics of concern to members of our community and to share their voices.