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On June 9, the Senate

Foreign Relations Commit-

tee voted the Department of

State Operations Authoriza-

tion and Embassy Security

Act, Fiscal Year 2016, out

of committee. The move is

significant, as it brings the

Congress one step closer to

passing an authorization bill

for State, something which

has not happened since


The House Foreign Affairs

Committee’s markup of its

2015-2016 authorization is

postponed at this time.

AFSA has been working

hard to advocate enactment

of the authorization. Dur-

ing the past several months,

AFSA has visited more than

three dozen offices on the Hill,

hosted a congressional recep-

tion and submitted testimony.

While neither the Senate

nor the House bill is perfect,

each includes positive ele-

ments. AFSA continues to

engage House and Senate

staff on the problematic

issues. The Senate bill con-

tains the following notable


Section 304

calls for a

report on special envoys,

representatives, advisers and

coordinators at State in an

effort to identify and prevent

duplicate responsibilities.

Section 310

seeks to

ensure that FS compensation


State Authorization Update

levels are achieving the pur-

poses of recruiting, retaining

and maintaining a premier

diplomatic corps. However,

AFSA is concerned about the

potential misuse of this provi-

sion and its possible negative

impact on the compensation

packages of prospective FS


Section 313

will bring

more transparency into the

chief of mission nomination

process by requiring certifi-

cates of demonstrated com-

petence to be posted online.

Section 314

instructs the

Secretary to establish the

right for employees to appeal

any assignment restriction or

preclusion. It also proposes

to amend section 503(a)(2)

of the Foreign Service Act of

1980 to ensure that mem-

bers are not assigned to or

restricted from a position on

the basis of their race, ethnic-

ity or religion.

Sections 317, 318 and 319

promote equal opportunity

for all races, ethnicities, ages,

genders and service-disabled

veterans; expansion of inter-

national affairs and develop-

ment fellowships available

to minority students; and

increased retention of mid-

and senior-level profession-

als from underrepresented



—Javier Cuebas,

Director of Advocacy


September saw the usual turnover in the Foreign Service Journal’s Editorial Board, as old members departed for

new adventures and new blood arrived.

The board has a new chair, State Foreign Service Officer Beth Payne, a continuing board member who took over

the chair in June upon the departure of State FSO Jim DeHart, who was moving on to a position as deputy chief of

mission in Oslo.

Our other new members are USAID FSO James Bever, State Foreign Service Specialist Angela Bond and State

FSOs Eric Green and Kara McDonald.

In addition to Jim DeHart, departing members are Ruth Hall, Richard McKee and Maria Livingston. They will be

missed. Happily, Maria has taken the position of associate editor of the


and editor of AFSA News.

The all-volunteer board is comprised of active-duty and retired Foreign Service members, and is open to select

representatives from all the foreign affairs agencies who are also members of AFSA. Editorial Board members are

appointed by the AFSA Governing Board and meet each month to evaluate manuscripts, decide on future issue

topics and help ensure that the


speaks effectively to the issues of importance to the Foreign Service.

Those interested in serving on the board should keep an eye out for notices about upcoming vacancies, which

are generally publicized every spring. Or, send a note of interest at any time to Editor Shawn Dorman at dorman@