The Foreign Service Journal - July/August 2014 - page 20

anyone to assess an ambassador as my
students did.
The problem is that even though the
law says each post should be inspected
every five years, inspections occur only
about every eight years due to a lack of
resources. This means most ambassadors
will come and go without a thorough
review of their performance.
They do, of course, get annual evalua-
tions like every other officer; but those are
written in Washington and are not the best
measure of how well the mission is man-
aged. And they are never made public.
As part of the OIG inspection, every
employee at an embassy is required to
fill out a personal questionnaire in which
they are asked to rate the work environ-
ment and management of the post.
Instead of this happening only when an
embassy comes up for an inspection, an
abbreviated PQ could be sent in electroni-
cally by everyone at every post every year.
With these 360-degree evaluations,
the IG could quickly identify the embas-
sies with the most serious problems and
send a team to do a rapid review. A similar
system could also be used within the State
Department to rate the effectiveness of
every bureau and the assistant secretary
who runs it. And those results could be
added to the IG’s website.
Power and Responsibility
This systemwould apply to all ambas-
sadors. That could be challenging for
AFSA, because it is both the professional
association and the labor union of the
Foreign Service. In this case, for instance,
it can either work to improve the quality
of ambassadors and the professionalism
of the Foreign Service, or diminish both
by defending all of its members, including
the incompetent.
Thus far, thanks to the posting of the
inspection reports on the IG’s website,
four ambassadors have resigned. They
were all political appointees.
A system of abbreviated annual PQs
would have to apply to all embassies, even
though career ambassadors face bigger
challenges than their political counter-
parts. Morale problems are typically worse
at embassies with hardship and danger
pay—posts where political appointees
rarely tread.
The Quadrennial Diplomacy and
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