Page 13 - Foreign Service Journal - September 2013

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THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
|
SEPTEMBER 2013
13
‘buying fans’ who
may have once
clicked on an ad or
‘liked’ a photo but
have no real interest
in the topic and
have never engaged
further.” (Te
Diplopundit
blog
fags similar short-
comings involv-
ing the bureau’s
150 social media
accounts.)
OIG also identifed the issue of over-
lapping Farsi-language outreach eforts,
as both IIP and the Bureau of Near
Eastern Afairs have separate Facebook
and Twitter accounts geared to Irani-
ans. Commenting that it “is not efcient
for the department to have competing
Persian-language Facebook and Twitter
sites,” the report suggests NEA take the
lead.
—Steven Alan Honley, Editor
The Atrocities
Prevention Board:
Of to a Slow Start
I
n the 1990s, genocides in Bosnia and
Rwanda served as painful reminders
that atrocities can still take place, even
in an era characterized by relative peace.
Te tragedies unfolding in Syria and the
Democratic Republic of the Congo are
just the latest examples.
To focus more resources on combat-
ing this ongoing problem, the Obama
administration issued a Presidential
Study Directive on Mass Atrocity Preven-
tion (known as PSD-10) establishing the
Atrocities Prevention Board on April 23,
2012.
Te APB brings together ofcials at
the assistant secretary level or higher
from State, the U.S. Agency for Interna-
tional Development, the
U.S. mission to the United
Nations, Defense, Treasury,
Justice, Homeland Secu-
rity, the Joint Chiefs of Staf,
the Ofce of the Director of
National Intelligence, the
Central Intelligence Agency
and the Ofce of the Vice
President.
Chaired by the National
Security Council’s senior
director for multilateral afairs
and human rights, the board
develops proposals for prevent-
ing atrocities. But rather than creating
policy as a body, the board was designed
as a process by which members would
discuss policy options at APB meetings
and then initiate them from within their
respective agencies.
In the board’s frst year, this approach
has led to new sanctions by the Treasury
Department, asset seizures by Justice,
and atrocities prevention training pro-
grams for FSOs in both State and USAID.
Tough the
Center for American
Progress
is among organizations that
have applauded the board’s eforts to
raise the profle of these issues, in June
the
CAP released a report
identifying
major faws in the APB’s structure and
implementation. Among them: a reluc-
tance to share unclassifed information
and exhibit transparency (for instance,
the APB lacks a website), and a dearth
of engagement with Congress. Further-
more, by declaring itself “budget neu-
tral,” the APB has severely constrained
its ability to advocate U.S. government
action.
Others question the APB’s role in
ongoing humanitarian crises. Writing for
the
Seattle Times
,
John Roth and Samuel
Totten observe
that the board and rel-
evant agencies have done little to noth-