The Foreign Service Journal - October 2017

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | OCTOBER 2017 19 area studies) would ensure retention of the information, and make it easier for an FSO facing a situation in the field to find a resolution. This won’t be easy to implement. Change is unsettling, and this would require significant changes to the way courses are taught at FSI. It would also require more buy-in from bureaus, offices and posts, requiring them to release people for training even if it means suffering gaps in staffing for short periods of time. I’m convinced, though, that the pay-off would be worth it. Having a well-qualified individual arrive late for a position is more beneficial to the organization in the long run than hav- ing a position filled by someone who is ill-equipped to handle the demands that will inevitably arise. I would also recommend that FSI consider introducing a course on ethical decision-making, focusing on assess- ing the ethics of the decisions we make across the board. As a start, such a course could be online, and it could be made a requirement for promo- tion to FS-1, or even lower. Eventually, though, a resident course should also be established, because more benefit is gained when face-to-face interaction is enabled. We live in interesting, and uncertain, times. Effective diplomacy is needed now as much as, if not more, than ever before. We might not be able to forestall significant reductions in our capability in terms of numbers of people or pro- grams, but we can ensure that those we do retain operate at optimum capacity. The ability to make good decisions in an environment of uncertainty should not be overlooked as an essential skill for every member of the U.S. Foreign Service. n