The Foreign Service Journal - March 2018

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | MARCH 2018 21 As the U.S. seeks to lead in the world, the president is making impor- tant investments on the military side, investments that I support. … But unless you accompany these military investments with political dip- lomatic investments, that stability that the military creates cannot be sus- tained. You have to work with the local community; you have to work with local leaders; you have to work with the international community to convert those military gains into long-term stability, prosperity for people—and that’s the job of the State Department. And so, we’ll never get our troops out of Raqqa, we’ll never get them out of Afghanistan, if you don’t pair diplomacy and the military. So, that’s the worry, that there’s just not enough diplomacy out there, and America is ceding the field to others with their own, less advantageous plans for those parts of the world. —Career Ambassador (ret.) Victoria Nuland, speaking with journalist Susan Glasser on the Global Politico, Feb. 5. Contemporary Quote civil servants, with distinguished records, serving administrations of both parties, tomove to performing tasks outside their area of substantive expertise.” “At the very least,” the lawmakers added, “this is a waste of taxpayer dollars. At worst it may constitute impermissible abuse and retaliation.” Questions remain concerning the surge in assignments to the FOIA office. State Reorganization: The Senate Weighs In O n Dec. 6, 2017, members of the Sen- ate Foreign Relations Committee sent a letter to Secretary of State Rex Til- lerson raising numerous concerns about the department’s planned reorganization. The letter—signed by senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Christopher Coons (D-Del.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.)—argues that there is a need for increased transpar- ency, including “details and a timeline.” The lawmakers request that the Secre- tary provide a “justification for personnel losses and the continued hiring freeze,” citing AFSA President Ambassador Bar- bara Stephenson’s column in the Decem- ber Foreign Service Journal , in which she argues that “the rapid loss of so many senior officers has a serious, immediate and tangible effect on the capacity of the United States to shape world events.” The senators also write of their concern that “reorganization and budget pressures on the department are depleting one of the core instruments of U.S. national secu- rity,” noting that “the price will be paid in American security and prosperity for decades to come.”They ask that Secretary Tillerson take “immediate measures to mitigate and reverse the damage.” The letter points to broad implications of the hiring freeze, not just on morale but on the ability of the department to perform its core functions. It questions the continued hiring freeze, including the problems associated with not fully lifting the freeze on family member employment; and raises con- cerns about the freeze in hiring of Boren Scholars and Fellows. The senators express puzzlement at the “arbitrary goals to reduce the depart- ment’s workforce,” noting the depart- ment’s lack of an explanation for their efforts at streamlining the workforce. “Not only do we have deep concerns about how State is seeking to achieve attrition goals,” the letter states, “we think that attrition as a strategy for managing a workforce is problematic because it does not allowmanagement to control for the skills, experience and workforces that it actually needs. When dealing with national security, the potential costs of such a mismatch can be fatal.” The legislators express alarm at the number of senior vacancies in critical posts and note the historically low pro- motion numbers across all levels. Ambassador Tracker T he new year started slowly as far as ambassadorial nominations are con- cerned. As of early February, only five new nominations had come forward since the holidays, with 19 nominations in various stages of Senate confirmation. A total of 41 vacancies were reported at the same time. Vacant, in this instance, means that no one has been nominated or con¬firmed for the posi- tion of ambassador and the previous incumbent has left post. Nominees for various senior posts at State and USAID were awaiting confirma- tion, including two under secretaries, six assistant secretaries and the nominee for Director General of the Foreign Service. At press time, the only nominee con- firmed so far this year was former Senator and Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, now serving as ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom. Embassies without an ambassador— South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, to