Page 56 - Foreign Service Journal - September 2013

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56
SEPTEMBER 2013
|
THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
THE CASE FOR A
PROFESSIONAL
FOREIGNSERVICE
The long-term deterioration in the role of
the Foreign Service that is already under
way should be the subject of a public
discussion that has not yet taken place.
BY THOMAS BOYATT, SUSAN JOHNSON ,
RONALD NEUMANN AND THOMAS P I CKER I NG
Tomas D. Boyatt, a former ambassador to Colombia and Burkina
Faso, and a former AFSA president, is president of the Foreign Afairs
Council and chairs the Academy of American Diplomacy’s “Foreign
Afairs Budget for the Future” project. Susan R. Johnson, a Senior
Foreign Service ofcer, was AFSA’s president from 2009 to 2013.
Ronald E. Neumann, a former ambassador to Algeria, Bahrain
and Afghanistan, is president of the American Academy of Diploma-
cy. Tomas R. Pickering served as ambassador seven times, including
at the United Nations and in Moscow, as well as under secretary for
political afairs.
T
he comments we have received on
our recent
Washington Post
opinion
piece (“Presidents Are Breaking the
U.S. Foreign Service”)
were over-
whelmingly positive. Most of the
critiques we have seen were descrip-
tive, dismissing the piece as divisive
and elitist, and deeming it an attack
on the Civil Service and political
appointees.
But none of the critics have challenged our fundamental
observations: that the presence of the Foreign Service ofcer
corps in senior positions at the State Department has steadily
shrunk, relative to other personnel categories, and that the
Foreign Service’s input into the foreign policy process (and
management of the department) has similarly declined.
Since the mid-1970s, the percentage of positions at the
FEATURE