Page 11 - Foreign Service Journal - April 2013

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the Foreign Service journal
April 2013
top talent? If it is the former, all of the
specialist’s diversity cheerleading—that
State is “like one big family...amplifed
by camaraderie and close relationships,”
etc.—cannot obscure the fact that the
taxpayers are getting the short end of the
Hiring and promoting people with
a view to their gender, sexual orienta-
tion, ethnicity and skin color necessarily
promotes both the exclusion and the
non-retention of top talent. Whatever its
origins and background, top talent goes
where it can compete freely and with
least limitation, not where its prospects
are confned to this or that group created
by some Equal Employment Opportunity
counter of ethnologic beans.
And how is diversity working out for
State, and for the taxpayer? According
to AFSA President Susan Johnson (see
“Building a Truly Diverse, Professional
Foreign Service,” December
, the For-
eign Service is failing to “bind a diverse
group of ofcers and specialists into a
cohesive cadre.” Nor do Foreign Service
members share a “common understand-
ing of their mission and of their role in
achieving it.” So the Service needs the
infusion of a “consistent, career-long
ethos of excellence, discipline and pro-
All of this suggests to me that there
must be a destructive tension at State in
the relationship between professionalism
and the search for diversity, at least in the
way that search is carried out.
I do not believe that the professional
problems raised by the AFSA president
are as amenable to structural and train-
ing reforms as she goes on to suggest.
Besides, why should State be tasked to
train up ofcers in the ways of “excel-
lence, discipline and professionalism”?
Are new FSOs no longer expected to have
such qualities?
Perhaps the source of the difculty
lies with Foreign Service recruitment. Are
recruiters, examiners and EEO monitors
so beguiled by diversity that, too often,
they judge a book by its cover? Are they
sufciently tuned to the importance of
values, to the need to seek and reward
not only top talent, but optimal educa-
tional and cultural formation, as well as
dedication to country?
Without such basics coming in at the
bottom of the State employment pyra-
mid, there can be no efective Foreign
Richard W. Hoover
FSO, retired
Front Royal, Va.
In the obituary for Michael Bricker
(February, p. 65), retired Senior FSO
Timothy C. Lawson, who shared his
recollections of Mr. Bricker, was inad-
vertently misidentifed. When he served
with Mr. Bricker in Seoul, Mr. Lawson
was an information management ofcer,
not the deputy chief of mission.
In the March issue, there is a typo-
graphical error in the caption on p. 33.
Te assistant secretary of State for popu-
lation, refugees and migration is Anne
Richard, not “Richards.”
We regret the errors.