Page 18 - Foreign Service Journal - April 2013

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April 2013
the foreign Service journal
AFSA needs to do more to engage its
newer members’ experience.
and-out rules and time-in-class limits
have created a tranche of “young retirees”
for whom annuities are necessary, but
not sufcient, for post-Foreign Service
lives. Tese members are “moving on,”
and AFSA needs to do more to engage
their post-9/11 experience and perspec-
tive—both to beneft from their immedi-
ate operational insights and to enlist their
energetic promotion of Foreign Service
interests throughout the government, on
Capitol Hill and elsewhere in the U.S.
Promoting Professionalism
We also need to launch a drive to
redeem the term “elitism.” Far from being
a dirty word, it is more vital than ever,
now that the United States can no longer
assume innate power will make up for the
shortcomings of its diplomats.
AFSA needs to endorse a “core
curriculum” for prospective Foreign
Service candidates; present a model
oral examination (the graduate record
exams should sufce for the “written”);
require 3/3 competence in a world lan-
guage and/or comparable competence
in a “hard” language upon entry; and
reinstate rigorous mid-career and Senior
Seminar training, combined with regular
professional recertifcation.
Moreover, a direct defense of profes-
sionalism—a naming of names—against
the frequent incompetence of political
appointees must be a top priority. AFSA
should present a list of qualifed career
professionals for the most prominent
posts and give the equivalent of a negative
American Bar Association review for nomi-
nees selected without AFSA endorsement.
Tere are certainly many diverse chal-
lenges facing the Foreign Service in the
second decade of the 21st century. Te key
to addressing themwill be to engage the
Foreign Service community and leader-
ship of the foreign afairs agencies with
vigor and creative imagination.