The Foreign Service Journal - October 2014 - page 35

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
|
OCTOBER 2014
35
like it did for Saul Wahl, but the experience will stay with me. And
the new insights will no doubt improve my management of the
Ambassador’s Protective Detail, ensuring it functions as smoothly
as possible.
W. Paul Margulies Jr. departed Embassy Valletta as Acting
Deputy Chief of Mission in August. He is the new Regional Secu-
rity O cer for Embassy Bishkek. He joined the Foreign Service in
2002 and is also a Lieutenant Commander with the U.S. Coast
Guard reserve. In addition to Valletta and Bishkek, his Foreign
Service assignments include Kabul, Belgrade, Bucharest and
Washington, D.C.
A To-Do List
from a Financial
Management Ocer
By an FMO at an Asia Post
I am happy to see the State Department return to the care and
development of the Foreign Service Specialist corps. What can I
say after 15 years of service? I’ve been fortunate to serve in fasci-
nating places, and the trajectory of my career leaves nothing to
complain about. As my time with the State Department is nearing
its natural end, I o er some suggestions for consideration—in
the form of “A To-Do List for Management”—in the hope that
things will continue to improve for future employees.
• Increase the number of Senior Foreign Service positions.
When one gets to the FS-1 level, especially while serving out of
detail or two, but I had never been the prin-
cipal. I often tried to visualize the impact
of a security-related rule or regulation on a
post or an individual. In most cases, since
I live by these same rules, it was pretty easy
for me to understand other people’s per-
spectives. But, I have to admit, I never gave
too much thought to protection; it comes
with the job—mine as the occasional prac-
titioner and the principal as someone who
needs to be protected.
When the Front O ce announced that
I would be the chargé in December 2013,
the Assistant Regional Security O cer said,
somewhat tongue in cheek, “Are you going
to keep the detail?” I have to admit my ini-
tial thought was to ditch the protection, but
it was only a eeting thought. A leadership conversation ensued
in my head: Malta’s chief of mission, and the chargé d’a aires in
her absence, has a dedicated Ambassador’s Protective Detail. I am
a rule-follower. If the deputy chief of mission asked not to use the
detail, my response would be a simple “no.”
So I embraced the idea in spite of a little ribbing frommy col-
leagues in the process. I announced, a bit sheepishly at rst, that
the detail would carry out their normal duties.
A few things stand out from the experience. My schedule was
no longer my own. I was used to sharing my calendar with my
sta , the front o ce and a few others, but knowing I needed to be
mindful about last-minute changes was new to me. I adapted.
I liked being picked up for work. I got to sit in the back of the
limo and read through emails unencumbered and unconcerned
about the tra c gridlock around me.
I did not, however, like having the detail shadow (sometimes
literally!) me during my not-so-daily afternoon run.
e thing I
really like about running is the solitude—no emails, just me and
the road for 30 minutes.
is time I had two runners, the limo and
the follow, and a little claustrophobia! We live on a small island,
about 19 miles long by 7 miles wide at its widest; but it was the
detail that made me feel penned in.
Spontaneity was out the door.
at quick run to the pharmacy
looked very di erent when four minders and two cars became
part of the equation.
at controversial movie I was thinking
about going to? Not this week.
ere were many more pros—and
cons—of being in that position.
My biggest takeaway from the experience was just that—the
experience. My two days at the helmwon’t go down in history
AFSA/Jeff Lau
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