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76

SEPTEMBER 2017

|

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

AFSA NEWS

Diplomatic Security as a Leader on Security Initiatives

AFSA CONSTRUCT I VE D I SSENT AWARDS

F. ALLEN ‘TEX’ HARRIS AWARD FOR CONSTRUCTIVE DISSENT BY A FOREIGN SERVICE

SPECIALIST

ELZAR T. CAMPER

In January 2017, Spe-

cial Agent Elzar Camper

authored a dissent cable

encouraging the department

to empower and promote

the Bureau of Diplomatic

Security to fully imple-

ment its visa and passport

security program mandate

overseas.

Mr. Camper noted that

many of the objectives

spelled out in executive

order 13769 (Protecting the

Nation from Foreign Ter-

rorist Entry into the United

States) related directly to

the Department of State’s

mandate as laid out in 22

U.S. Code 4802 and 4807

and to programs already

developed and implemented

by the Bureau of Diplomatic

Security.

Although Mr. Camper

believed that current inter-

agency efforts to screen visa

applicants were satisfac-

tory, he felt compelled to

highlight what he saw as

deficiencies and a lack

of coherent policies from

the State Department. In

particular, State’s failure

to support and promote

the Bureau of Diplomatic

Security as the interagency

lead for ensuring visa and

passport security overseas.

Mr. Camper’s well-

researched and constructive

dissent provided a neutral

and objective viewpoint on

a controversial executive

order and, crucially, pro-

vided department leader-

ship with a series of specific

recommendations to effect

positive change.

In the dissent cable, Mr.

Camper explained why he

felt current visa security ini-

tiatives were not as effective

as they could be and also

highlighted the threat of

outsourcing visa security to

a third party agency. “Diplo-

matic Security most clearly

understands the importance

of fairly and safely facili-

tating travel for all foreign

nationals who meet our

nation’s requirements,” he

said at the AFSA awards

ceremony. He also stated

that the Diplomatic Security

agency “should be promoted

through interagency policy

as the department’s leading

operational authority on

overseas visa and passport

security initiatives.”

With his permission, Mr.

Camper’s cable was shared

with senior leaders in the

Bureau of Diplomatic Secu-

rity, where it had an immedi-

ate impact. The recommen-

dations contained therein

were used to create talking

points for DS working group

sessions with the Bureau

of Consular Affairs and

also during meetings with

officials from the National

Security Council to discuss

future security initiatives.

Speaking about the

significance of dissent, Mr.

Camper said, “History has

shown dissent is central to

any democracy, and the sus-

tainability of a healthy and

productive organizational

culture.”

Elzar Camper joined the

Foreign Service in 2008. He

has served in the Bureau

of Diplomatic Security’s

Washington Field Office and

overseas in Kabul and Kara-

chi, and was most recently

the assistant regional secu-

rity officer for investigations

(ARSO-I) in Cairo.

n

Diplomatic Security Special Agent Elzar Camper receives the F. Allen ‘Tex’

Harris award from Ambassador William Harrop.

AFSA/TOYASARNOJORDAN

Profiles of award recipients compiled by Gemma Dvorak.

Mr. Camper’s dissent provided

department leadership with

specific recommendations.