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54

SEPTEMBER 2017

|

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

FOCUS

ON EXEMPLARY PERFORMANCE & CONSTRUCTIVE DISSENT

Diplomatic Security programs can help protect the United States

from the threat of terrorist entry, but the State Department

hasn’t promoted DS as the interagency lead.

DS Could Advance

Overseas Visa

and Passport Security

O

bedience is not patriotism. History

has shown that dissent is central to

any democracy and to the sustain-

ability of a healthy and productive

organizational culture. The State

Department is unique in having a

formal avenue to express an alterna-

tive viewwithout fear or frustration.

The importance the department has

historically placed on the value of dissenting opinions speaks to the

ideal of fairness; regardless of political affiliation, beliefs or bureau

represented, freedom to express your opinion remains a core value,

and is a State Department tradition that must be preserved.

BY E L ZAR T. CAMPER

Elzar T. Camper is the 2017 recipient of the F. Allen “Tex” Harris Award for Constructive Dissent by a Foreign Service

Specialist. Mr. Camper has served in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security’s Washington Field Office, as branch chief of

operational threats and analysis at Diplomatic Security headquarters, and overseas in Karachi, Cairo and Kabul. Born

in Norristown, Pennsylvania, Mr. Camper earned a B.S. degree in criminal justice with a minor in computer science from

West Chester University of Pennsylvania in 2005. He also earned master’s degrees in software engineering and information science

from Pennsylvania State University in 2012 and 2008, respectively.

This article is based solely on the author’s opinion, is written from his perspective and does not represent the views of the U.S. gov-

ernment. The author acknowledges that he is not an expert in the complexities and potential legal and bureaucratic hurdles that exist,

in any current Diplomatic Security–Consular Affairs negotiations or in broader U.S. government initiatives.

President Donald Trump’s Jan. 27, 2017, Executive Order,

“Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the

United States,” started a nationwide conversation about pro-

tecting our borders. The Dissent Channel cable I sent immedi-

ately afterward, “Empower and Promote Diplomatic Security

to Achieve Its Visa and Passport Security ProgramMandate

Overseas,” specifically focused on the State Department’s imple-

mentation of policies mandated by 22 U.S. Code 4802 and 4807.

These laws cover the responsibility of the Secretary of State for

conducting investigations relating to illegal passport and visa

issuance or use, and for establishing a Visa and Passport Security

Program in the Department of State.

I did not discuss the travel restrictions coupled with the