The Foreign Service Journal - May 2014 - page 19

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
|
MAY 2014
19
The burden of two very different
personnel systems, and a large and
growing cohort of appointees exempt
from the disciplines of either, is taking
a real toll on the Department of State—
and the Foreign Service.
BY HARRY KOPP
FOREIGN SERVICE, CIVIL SERVICE
T
he U.S. Department of State is one of
the few agencies—the Department of
Defense is another—with large num-
bers of employees in different personnel
systems. The two systems, Civil Service
and Foreign Service, have different
employee benefits, protections, rights
and obligations.
Conflicts between the systems have
long been evident. From the 1940s into the 1970s, a series of com-
missions, committees and panels of experts urged the depart-
ment to move to a single structure. The department’s leadership
agreed with these recommendations, but time and again found
reasons to delay or avoid acting on them.
State eventually abandoned the effort to integrate the two ser-
vices, but not the search for ways to strengthen a sense of team-
work and unity of purpose. The dual system, with its administra-
tive complexities and inevitable inequities, continues to burden
the department’s managers.
The Roots of a Dual System
The roots of the dual system reach to the 18th century, when
Thomas Jefferson, the first Secretary of State, created different
services to perform different functions: a diplomatic service to
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90TH ANNIVERSARY OF AFSA AND THE FOREIGN SERVICE
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