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96

SEPTEMBER 2017

|

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

about key policy

initiatives and

plummeting morale

among State’s career

diplomats and civil

servants. This book

might offer key play-

ers at the White House and National

Security Council some much-needed

education.

Like an Audubon Society field

guide, which provides comprehen-

sive accounts of the traits, habitats

and behaviors of birds or insects, this

outstanding volume details nearly

every aspect of career diplomacy in the

United States. From the 13 oral assess-

ment dimensions and A-100 classes

to dissent, expeditionary diplomacy,

tandem couples and LGBT issues, the

authors dissect the Foreign Service as

an institution, describe the profession,

chart typical career trajectories and

contemplate the future.

This third edition, by Harry Kopp and

John Naland (taking over from the late

Charles “Tony” Gillespie), draws not

only on the authors’ decades of experi-

ence as career FSOs, but on interviews

with 140 current and former foreign

affairs practitioners.

What the authors have produced

is encyclopedic in breadth, offering

considerable detail on topics that would

be hard to find elsewhere. How does the

Foreign Service rank-in-person and up-

or-out system contrast with that of the

Civil Service? What are FSOs paid, and

A Field Guide to U.S.

Diplomacy

Career Diplomacy: Life and Work in

the U.S. Foreign Service, 3rd Edition

Harry W. Kopp and John K. Naland,

Georgetown University Press, 2017,

$89.95/hardcover, $29.95/paperback,

296 pages.

Reviewed By Carey Cavanaugh

This year may mark a historic shift in

American global leadership, as the new

administration raises questions about

the reliability of international secu-

rity commitments, moves away from

multilateral trade arrangements and

joint action on climate change, and de-

emphasizes the promotion of democracy

and human rights.

President Donald Trump’s contra-

dictory statements, tweets and actions

have left friends and foes uncertain

about exactly where Washington stands

on major policy issues and unsure

of how best to effectively engage the

United States. The task of addressing

such uncertainty and facilitating such

engagement—as

Career Diplomacy

recounts—traditionally falls to the

Department of State and the U.S. For-

eign Service.

Regrettably, Trump’s team has

largely sidelined America’s diplo-

mats, questioning both their value

and loyalty. It has shown neither an

appreciation for their deep, specialized

knowledge and expertise, nor an under-

standing of the critical roles that the

State Department and Foreign Service

play in protecting and advancing U.S.

vital interests.

The consequences of this have been

widely reported: easily avoided protocol

and policy missteps, uncoordinated gov-

ernment action, significant confusion

BOOKS

how does locality pay work? What was

the impact of the Palmer lawsuit? Why is

there controversy surrounding account-

ability review boards? There are few

important issues that are not addressed

herein.

As a reference work,

Career Diplo-

macy

could prove invaluable for

university career counselors, foreign

affairs journalists and the Washington

diplomatic corps. For some, however,

its inclusiveness will make for a difficult

read. Aspiring foreign affairs profession-

als, simply seeking to learn about the

functions of a U.S. diplomatic mission,

may be better served by Shawn Dor-

man’s

Inside a U.S. Embassy (

AFSA FS

Books, 2011).

Those who decide to take the plunge

and sign up for the Foreign Service

exam, however, will be well served by

the authors’ extensive elaboration of

what remains a unique and complex

entry process. New employees at State

(Foreign Service or Civil Service) cer-

tainly should add Kopp and Naland to

their personal professional libraries.

It is probably the best and the worst

time for a definitive work to be pub-

lished on this subject. Best, because a

greater understanding of the importance

of diplomacy and the contributions

made by the State Department and the

Foreign Service is desperately needed.

Worst, because even though

Career

Diplomacy

takes into account the early

days of the Trump presidency, there is

little doubt that some steps being taken

today will have lasting impact. The

authors would be well-advised to start

working on the next edition.

Many pundits forecast dire times

ahead for American diplomacy.

Career

Diplomacy

, however, describes a

Foreign Service and State Department

that remain professional, flexible and

It is probably the best and the

worst time for a definitive

work to be published on this

subject.