Page 8 - Foreign Service Journal - April 2012

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Esprit de Corps
I had to laugh out loud when I read
Carol Urban’s letter in the January
commenting on Jon P. Dorschner’s
November 2011 Speaking Out column
(“Why the Foreign Service Should Be
More Like the Army”). In it, she al-
leges that Mr. Dorschner failed to cite
any specific examples of the lack of es-
prit de corps and lack of concern for
subordinates he says is prevalent with-
in the Foreign Service. However, I
thought he hit the nail on the head.
SinceMs. Urban requests examples,
allow me to offer one from my time at
the International Security Assistance
Force regional command in Afghan-
istan. The deputy commander was an
American colonel who would walk
through the offices, common areas and
dining hall, picking people at random
with whom to sit down and talk.
It didn’t matter whether they were
in uniform or not — he just wanted to
ask how they were doing, let them
know their work was important, ex-
press his appreciation for what they
were doing for the mission, and thank
them for their dedication to duty and
By contrast, in the small State De-
partment office where I worked, there
was absolutely no communication, ca-
maraderie or the slightest bit of appre-
ciation for the contribution that each
employee made to the mission.
I could cite many other examples,
but I feel confident that most of my
Foreign Service colleagues see the
truth of Mr. Dorschner’s assessment.
Too bad Ms. Urban does not.
Daniel Reagan
Regional Information
Systems Security Officer
Embassy Beijing
FS Code of Conduct
Thanks for the great and timely col-
umn by AFSA President Susan John-
son, “Essential Ingredients for a
Professional Career Foreign Service,”
in the February
. I couldn’t
agree with her more.
We have operated far too long on
assumptions of devotion to duty and
adherence to proper codes of ethics;
but speaking as someone who has
chaired several promotion panels, I’ve
seen that far too many of our col-
leagues fail at both. That’s not because
they’re bad people, but because they
don’t have a “Code of Conduct” to
guide them as the military has.
As a retired military officer and an
about-to-retire Foreign Service officer,
I’ve tried to instill something of the
military code of ethics and behavior
when I’ve been in charge of anyone or
anything. Though AFSA is where it
will have to start, Foreign Service
members will need to get on board for
the concept to gain traction.
A good first step would probably be
for AFSA to set up a panel, or (sorry
for use of this word) commission, to
start discussing and drafting a code of
conduct and a guide to the general
characteristics expected —
— of all Foreign Service personnel. I
would be more than happy to work
with AFSA to help get something like
this going.
Charles A. Ray
Embassy Harare
A Bellwether for Technology
While I find all of your articles, ed-
itorials and assorted prose in each issue
of the
Foreign Service Journal
to be
consistently world-class and profes-
sional, I was especially delighted to
read the item in the January Cyber-
notes section titled “Leading the Way
on Cybersecurity.” I hope your read-
ership appreciates the truly substantive
importance of such outstanding tech-
nical progress for U.S. diplomacy and
The Information Resource Man-
agement Bureau’s determination and
diligence (in what I am sure is very
close collaboration with the Bureau of
Diplomatic Security) toward improv-
ing systems security serve as a kind of
F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L / A P R I L 2 0 1 2