The Foreign Service Journal - September 2014 - page 53

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
|
SEPTEMBER 2014
53
Many interesting things have
been happening in FCS world
in addition to the ongoing
celebration of AFSA’s 90th
birthday. Ten Commerce offi-
cials (including Deputy Under
Secretary for International
Trade Ken Hyatt and Deputy
Director General of the U.S.
and Foreign Commercial Ser-
vice Judy Reinke), along with
a number of FCS officers and
their guests, attended the
star-studded birthday bash.
We have also been meet-
ing continuously with Foreign
Commercial Service Direc-
tor General Arun Kumar and
management about a long
list of concerns—Interna-
tional Trade Administration
consolidation, Office of For-
eign Service Human Capital
staffing, language training
programs, When Actually
Employed assignments—
but more on that in future
columns.
What I want to talk about
this month is our stellar new
commercial officer class—
our largest and the second
consecutive group after a
long drought. Our commer-
cial officer corps had drifted
down to a dangerous, unsus-
tainable 228 officers during
prior administrations.
Now, with the addition
of 42 new officers these
past two years, we’re up to
levels not seen in more than
a decade: 250-260 officers.
The downward spiral has
turned into a virtuous circle—
or so we hope.
The 25 new officers sworn
in on June 24 by Secretary
of Commerce Penny Pritz-
ker are a diverse group, but
nearly all have international
business backgrounds. In
fact, a cursory review of
their resumes shows they
have spent on average more
than 11 years in international
business, demonstrating the
success of our search for
international trade profes-
sionals.
As to why the class of 10
women and 14 men joined
Expanding Our Ranks: FCSWelcomes New Officers
the Commercial Service,
several cited Sec. Pritzker’s
all-hands meeting remarks
summarizing the “three legs”
of American foreign policy
and prosperity: security,
diplomacy and economic
security. It is this third leg,
and the role of FCS, that
several officers pointed to as
the reason they joined.
“Foreign trade is a vital
part of the U.S. economy, and
I will strive to raise awareness
and help U.S. businesses
When asked what they hope to get out
of a Foreign Service career, these new
officers most frequently cite developing
their international business expertise.
succeed as a Foreign Com-
mercial officer,” says one.
Another talked about how he
is “passionate about working
with companies wanting to
expand overseas.”
When asked what they
hope to get out of a Foreign
Service career, these new
officers most frequently cite
developing their international
business expertise. Others
add enhancing cross-cultural
communication skills, travel
and giving their family
(including one officer with six
kids!) the opportunity to see
and experience firsthand new
and potentially vastly differ-
ent cultures than our own.
Once again, please wel-
come our new FCS officer
class of 2014!
n
“STATE DEPARTMENT: F I LE 649”
AFSA SCREENS FORE I GN SERV I CE F I LM
On July 15 AFSA opened its
doors for a screening of the
1949 movie, “State Department:
File 649,” which was the subject
of a witty discussion by retired
.
A large crowd enjoyed this
campy classic, laughing along
with the highly implausible
depiction of the Foreign Service.
Free popcorn, courtesy of a
fancy popcorn machine secured
specially for the occasion, made
the evening even more festive.
Given the success of this
event, AFSA may hold additional
screenings of Foreign Service-
related films in the future. Stay
tuned!
FCS VP VOICE
| BY STEVE MORRISON
AFSA NEWS
Views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the AFSA FCS VP.
Contact:
or (202) 482-9088
AFSA/ÁSGEIRSIGFÚSSON
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