The Foreign Service Journal - May 2014 - page 54

MAY 2014
As we celebrate 90 years
of the Foreign Service and
AFSA, our legislative team
is engaged on an increasing
number of fronts to serve
our membership. Our goal
is to ensure that AFSA’s
voice is heard on Capitol Hill,
making it a vital resource
going forward—for another
90 years!
Priority Issues
In accordance with the
AFSA Governing Board’s
strategic plan, our key issues
remain career development
and professional capacity,
overseas security and over-
seas comparability pay.
These are the themes
we hit in every meeting we
have on the Hill, and we are
pleased to note that con-
gressional staff members
are becoming increasingly
conversant on these issues as
a result of our advocacy. Not
every member of Congress
will support our issues, but
maintaining strong relation-
ships across the board is
important for AFSA.
In recent weeks, AFSA has
been very much engaged in
pushing through the commis-
sioning, tenure and promo-
tions of close to 1,800 mem-
bers of the Foreign Service
at the Department of State,
USAID, Foreign Commercial
Service and Foreign Agricul-
tural Service.
This is a tremendously
important issue to our
members, directly affecting
your salaries, onward assign-
ments, living arrangements,
family-member employment
and educational options. (See
page 51 for up-to-date infor-
mation on this issue.)
Similarly, we have pushed
hard on the Senate to clear
the logjam of ambassadorial
nominations that are lan-
guishing on the Senate floor;
as of this writing 33 such
nominations await confirma-
New Alliances
Our recent advocacy for
AFSA’s “Guidelines for Suc-
cessful Performance as a
Chief of Mission” is another
way we are showcasing our
value to Congress and the
White House.
AFSA has been able to
engage with a large number of
stakeholders on the guide-
lines issue, and in the process
has made new alliances with
congressional offices with
which we previously had very
little contact.
We are also engaging more
with state legislatures. For
instance, in Virginia we are
working to establish a new
state license plate honor-
ing the Foreign Service and
diplomacy. Any Virginia resi-
dent who is interested in this
initiative should let us know at
AFSA is also working on a
resolution honoring the For-
eign Service and the associa-
tion on the occasion of this
year’s 90th anniversaries.
Keeping and maintain-
ing healthy relationships on
Capitol Hill is our number-one
People Over Programs
The more people we reach
on Capitol Hill, the better
are our chances of promot-
ing our core issues. “Friends
of friends,” as we like to call
them, have become increas-
ingly influential and beneficial
as we expand the AFSA brand
and talk about the brave men
and women of the Foreign
“People over programs”
is our motto when we talk to
Members of Congress. You
are the face of the nation
abroad, and Congress needs
to know the importance of
your work, wherever you may
be serving.
Capitol Hill is changing
fast, and so are the players.
As Congress continues to
see members retire in record
numbers, AFSA is seizing the
opportunity to introduce our-
selves to new senators and
representatives, familiarizing
them with the Foreign Service
and our issues from their first
days in office.
We also continue to
educate appropriators and
authorizers on the impor-
tance of Foreign Service work
and the need for the right
amount of funding to do your
jobs successfully. We hope we
can continue to count on your
support as we work on your
behalf in Congress.
–David Murimi, Senior
Legislative Assistant
AFSA on the Hill: The Multiplier Effect
On March 28, AFSA State Vice President Matthew Asada, at left,
joined Pearson Fellows Dena Brownlow and Mark Shapiro for a panel
on Capitol Hill about life in the Foreign Service. Asada underlined the
importance of training to develop a professional diplomatic workforce.
He noted Congress’ decision not to fund the 2014 request for additional
personnel positions that would ensure officers and specialists receive
the language and security awareness training they need to work and
survive overseas. Shapiro stressed cultural differences between State
and the Hill and the need to improve understanding between the two.
A Panel on the Foreign Service Career
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