The Foreign Service Journal - July/August 2014 - page 53

Expert on Professions Kicks Off New AFSA Forum
On May 29, AFSA welcomed
Don Snider, a senior fellow
in the Center for the Army
Profession and Ethics at
West Point and an adjunct
research professor at the U.S.
Army War College, for a pre-
sentation on the concept of
what constitutes a profession
and how that might inform
the professional Foreign
Service and the Department
of State.
Snider’s presentation
marked the launch of a new
lecture series at AFSA, the
Expert Speakers Forum. The
new forum has been estab-
lished in the spirit of the 90th
anniversary of the Rogers
To promote the Foreign
Service as a profession, AFSA
will bring experts on profes-
sionalism, ethics and leader-
ship to speak. The events will
all be shared online through
the AFSA website for those
who cannot make it to AFSA
Through a slide presenta-
tion and subsequent ques-
tion-and-answer session,
Mr. Snider gave an excellent
overview of the considerable
research and implementation
efforts undertaken to further
the U.S. Army as a profes-
Much of this work was
performed at the U.S. Military
Academy at West Point, the
seat of the Army’s Center for
the Army Profession and Eth-
ics, known as CAPE.
What Makes a
Snider pointed out that
there are certain essentials
to every profession. These
include a moral founda-
tion, self-discipline within
the profession, the ability to
utilize abstract knowledge
in an expert manner and a
career-long education sys-
tem. He mentioned how he
thought some of the Army’s
work might inform other U.S.
government organizations,
including the Foreign Service
and the Department of State.
Snider addressed the
differences between a pro-
fession and a bureaucracy,
and why we should care
about those differences. He
explained that professions
offer unique benefits that
bureaucratic organizations
do not. “Professions provide
a vital service to the society
which it cannot provide for
itself, but must have to flour-
ish,” Snider said. “They are
therefore granted relative
autonomy in the application
of their art and expertise.”
A dynamic Q-and-A ses-
sion followed his presenta-
tion. To view Mr. Snider’s
remarks and the discussion
online, please visit
org/video. The slides used
during the event are available
upon request; please email
for a copy.
—Cecilia Daizovi,
Communications Intern
Don Snider speaking at AFSA on May 29. Below, a slide from his presentation lists the differences between a
profession and a bureaucracy.
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