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THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

|

JUNE 2016

11

Instead, she was a management-coned

officer with assignments in Africa, a year

at National Defense University and an

academic background that included a

bachelor’s of science in psychology and a

master’s of public administration.

She also had done something else that

proved to be of particular value: a Pearson

Fellowship on Capitol Hill.

In just a few years, Jonita transformed

PM/POLAD from a “mom and pop” niche

market into a major player. To be sure,

she benefited from the conclusions by

State and the Department of Defense that

our “long war” against terrorism needed

more effective Foreign Service-military

cooperation.

During this process, Jonita orga-

nized relentlessly. The POLAD program

expanded into Iraq and Afghanistan with

cadres of FSOs matched with military

commanders at multiple levels. She

arranged Washington POLAD conferences

coinciding with major military confer-

ences, and then persuaded senior military

commanders to speak frankly to advisers.

With clever creativity, she devised

POLAD symbols, including a flag and a

much-valued coin. And she convinced

PM to publish

The Future of POLADs

in the 21st Century

, useful for years as a

backgrounder and recruiting tool, as a

hard-copy study.

Jonita did her own stint as a political

adviser to the Commander of the U.S.

Sixth Fleet in Naples before her final posi-

tion as minister-counselor for administra-

tive affairs at Embassy Pretoria. Creative

charmwas her hallmark.

David Jones

FSO, retired

Arlington, Virginia

CORRECTION

In the May Local Lens by John F. Krotzer the body of water pictured is

mis-

takenly identified as “Pokhara Lake.”The

proper name is “Phewa Lake.” We regret

the error, and thank attentive reader Larry

Fields for bringing it to our attention.

n

FSO Steve Banks responds to the April Speaking Out, “The Department of State: Mission and Vision Examined,” by Ambassador (ret.) Ed Marks.

This is a “solution” in search of a problem. It’s clear to me that the

department is extraordinarily well-served in Washington by its extremely

capable and effective Civil Service personnel. Meanwhile, it’s senseless

to try to convert the bulk of Civil Service positions into FS positions.

It’d be a disaster for every headquarters job to change over every two

years with the FS bidding cycle. There’s a body of expertise unique to

the Washington headquarters milieu that we do not gain overseas. I have

greatly benefited during my domestic assignments from the specialized

knowledge and hard-won experience of my CS colleagues. Plus, we’d be

forcing hundreds of Washington-hating FS personnel to do a lot more

D.C. tours.

Basically, this idea—seemingly based on little more than FS chauvin-

ism—would create huge management headaches to implement, and for

what? The article doesn’t really articulate how we’d allegedly be better

off were this idea put into effect.

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