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56

SEPTEMBER 2017

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THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

issue that causes DS to be undervalued and frequently unrec-

ognized within the broader interagency community for its work

to protect the integrity of the global visa security program. The

department’s response highlighted DS-specific initiatives within

the context of what DS is trying to achieve as a single bureau

negotiating and competing with large domestic agencies.

Unlike other bureaus, DS does not wield influential com-

mand of the department, especially pertaining to visa security

and law enforcement matters within the interagency commu-

nity. DS strategic initiatives in terms of visa and passport security

measures and law enforcement action have not been fully

adopted, understood or supported by the State Department.

The point of my dissent was to show that the department does

not empower or promote DS to achieve its Visa and Passport

Security Strategic Plan. In responding, the department sup-

ported my overall belief that it appreciates the contributions DS

makes to the U.S. government’s visa and passport security and

law enforcement programs, and will approve the expansion of

the ARSO-I program in support of these initiatives.

However, it seems that the State Department is still not ready

to use its influence to raise DS’s stature within the law enforce-

ment community. The idea of promoting DS to the interagency

community as the lead for overseas visa passport security is still

a bridge too far, and may result in overseas visa and passport

security initiatives being completely outsourced to a third-party

agency.

Lessons Learned

Perception and perspective are critical components to

consciously weigh when forming and distributing an opinion.

Everyone handles contradictory information differently, and

possesses an instinctive and often emotional bias that can

distort the way an author’s message is received. In addition, the

importance of “framing,” and the effect it has on how a message

is interpreted, cannot be overstated.

n

The idea of promoting DS to the

interagency community as the

lead for overseas visa passport

security is still a bridge too far.