The Foreign Service Journal - May 2014 - page 51

AFSA NEWS
THE OFFICIAL RECORD OF THE AMERICAN FOREIGN SERVICE ASSOCIATION
Conducting Diplomacy in Dangerous Places
On March 25, AFSA wel-
comed Ambassador Gerald
Feierstein to AFSA headquar-
ters to discuss the challenges
of conducting diplomacy in
dangerous places.
That is certainly a topic
Amb. Feierstein—now
principal deputy assistant
secretary for Near Eastern
affairs—knows firsthand.
While serving as U.S. ambas-
sador to Yemen from 2010
to 2013, he had the unenvi-
able distinction of having an
al-Qaida bounty put on his
head; anyone who killed him
was to be rewarded with six
pounds of gold.
Amb. Feierstein addressed
the changing attitudes
toward diplomacy in dan-
ger zones, distinguishing
between the pre- and post-
Benghazi periods.
From 9/11, and partic-
ularly following the March
2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq,
the emphasis was on expedi-
tionary diplomacy. But since
the tragic incident in Libya on
Sept. 11, 2012, attitudes have
shifted back toward risk-
aversion, Feierstein pointed
out.
Zero tolerance for threats
to a diplomatic mission has
negative consequences in
terms of the ability to main-
tain a U.S. presence overseas,
Senate Releases Hold on 1,800 FS Careers
Continued on page 60
Amb. Gerald Feierstein addresses a full house at AFSA on March 25.
PHOTOBYÁSGEIRSIGFÚSSON
Continued on page 53
THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
|
MAY 2014
51
A V I CTORY ON CAP I TOL H I L L
On April 11, thanks in large
measure to AFSA’s advo-
cacy, the Senate confirmed
the commission, tenure and
promotion of all but a handful
of the nearly 1,800 members
of the Foreign Service whose
careers had been held up by
the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee.
In some cases, these indi-
viduals’ careers had been on
hold for as long as 15 months,
with this unprecedented
situation directly affecting
more than 10 percent of our
colleagues.
Over the past several
months AFSA has been
deeply involved in efforts to
rectify this injustice, meeting
repeatedly with management
from the foreign affairs agen-
cies and with SFRC members
and committee staff from
both sides of the aisle.
A Well-Coordinated
Strategy
On March 7, AFSA’s presi-
dent, State vice president and
director of advocacy brought
all parties together to seek
agreement and an end to the
hold.
Through these discus-
sions, AFSA learned that the
committee staff was seeking
an enhanced vetting process
for those put forward for
confirmation, while making
it clear that they were not
questioning the integrity of
any individual.
Negotiations continued,
and on March 27 AFSA sent
a letter to SFRC Chairman
Robert Menendez, D-N.J.,
and Ranking Member
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