The Foreign Service Journal - September 2014 - page 19

Is the work of the
Foreign Service
so easilymastered
without special
training or
(2) Abolition of the “senior thresh-
old,” which is largely meaningless in
the Foreign Service assignment pro-
cess. Many senior positions are filled by
more junior officers on “stretch” assign-
ments. These are usually officers who
have been promoted quickly and are—
ironically—most likely to be thinned
out early because so few can make it
to the top. Requiring such officers to
compete for nominally senior status
is demeaning and irrelevant; they will
either be promoted into more senior
rank or not.
(3) Continued selection-out, but
only for serious breaches of discipline
or provable errors.
(4) Substantial intake at the mid-
level of capable specialists to meet new
or unexpected shortages, as and if they
(5) Continued tailoring of Foreign
Service generalist promotions to the
flow-through desired, but without
presenting the criteria as foolproof or
scientific. They can change as needs
evolve. Law firms, universities, the
media and other comparable profes-
sions also have hierarchies, but they
do not struggle to maintain perfect
pyramids in their organizations. They
recognize that numerical bulges of
experienced seniors below the top
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