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FSOs. At more than one embassy, people

assumed I was in the Foreign Service, for

why else would I be there? That view is

harmful to comity between the services,

and it runs counter to the training we’ve

all had that warns against profiling peers

in other countries.

While some Foreign Affairs Day

speakers did acknowledge the role of

the Civil Service in the formulation

and implementation of foreign policy,

especially in embassy country teams,

the State Civil Service contingent was

depicted mainly as a side note. Instead,

the emphasis was on Foreign Service

officers and chiefs of mission as the face

of U.S. diplomacy, an image that has

been stale for a couple of decades.

Please understand that I am not

being critical of the Foreign Service,

which continues to be vital to U.S. diplo-

macy. However, it is long past time for

us to treat the Civil Service and Foreign

Service as equal partners. Not only does

that approach reflect reality, but it will

freshen our policy development and the

management of programs.

With that in mind, here are some spe-

cific institutional changes State should


• Allow FAOs the opportunity to

convert directly to the Foreign Service at

equal rank.

• Give FAOs greater access to foreign

postings, especially hardship posts, and

consider them for ambassadorships.

• Develop an agenda for the 2016

Foreign Affairs Day that constructively

explores how the two services can more

effectively evolve together.

• Treat Foreign Service and Civil

Service professionals as equal partners,

and include the latter in the National

Museum of American Diplomacy.

It’s only fair.


It is long past time for us to treat the

Civil Service and Foreign Service as

equal partners.