The Foreign Service Journal - November 2014 - page 81

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
|
NOVEMBER 2014
81
AFSA NEWS
For employees facing assignment restrictions, this is true
for several reasons. At the outset, the employee receives
limited information regarding the basis for the preclusion and
is not permitted to view his or her security file. In addition,
the only recourse available to an employee who believes that
Diplomatic Security has imposed a restriction in error is to ask
for reconsideration, which is done by the same office and same
individuals who approved the initial restriction.
For employees who fail to “pass-through” to their assign-
ment, there is a limited appeals process. However, while
employees with assignment preclusions receive a letter or
email briefly outlining the basis of the preclusions, employees
who fail pass-through do not receive anything in writing from
Diplomatic Security. Nor are they permitted to review their
security file in preparing for their appeal to the DG. This makes
it very difficult to appeal.
By contrast, if a State employee’s security clearance is
revoked (or an applicant’s clearance is denied) that individual
has recourse to an established appeals process with a final
appeal to the Security Appeals Panel chaired by three senior
officials from outside the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (see
12 FAM 234.3).
Unfortunately, the State Department’s database is unable
to identify the number of employees (and their demographic
data) affected by the assignment restriction or pass-through
programs. The department has also failed to conduct a com-
prehensive program review of the assignment restriction and
pass-through programs.
AFSA supports the Bureau of Diplomatic Security’s ability
to grant someone a clearance who might not otherwise get
one without an assignment restriction. We also accept that
heightened scrutiny should be applied to an employee who is
proposed for assignment to a critical HUMINT post. However,
we believe both programs are in need of reform in the areas of
communication, oversight and reporting.
Additionally, there needs to be a robust appeals process for
both programs. DS should provide employees with sufficient
information regarding the basis for their decisions, as well as
access to their security file. In the case of assignment preclu-
sions, appeals should be heard and adjudicated by officials
outside of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, similar to proce-
dures for the Security Appeals Panel.
AFSA has proposed, in meetings with Diplomatic Security
officials, practical changes to the assignment restriction and
pass-through programs that would achieve better employee
understanding of these programs and would provide a more
transparent appeals mechanism. We look forward to working
further with the State Department on a joint effort to bring
more clarity, transparency and accountability to both pro-
cesses.
n
BUS I NESS COMMUN I TY JO I NS AFSA I N URG I NG CONGRESS
TO CONF I RM AMBASSADORS
As the voice of the Foreign Service, AFSA is always looking for ways to promote the role and importance of diplomacy
among elected officials and the American public.
Recently, AFSA enlisted the support of the business community in the effort to urge Congress to confirm ambas-
sadorial nominees. As of press time there were 33 career nominees for ambassadorships awaiting confirmation in the
Senate; a large majority of them have already been through hearings and have been approved by the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee in bipartisan votes.
The Business Council for International Understanding, the International Stability Operations Association and the
United States Council for International Business—organizations representing the interests of more than 500 busi-
nesses—joined AFSA in signing a letter sent to leaders of the U.S. Senate on Sept. 12.
The letter made it clear that U.S. ambassadors are critically important to America’s national and economic security
interests overseas and urged swift confirmation of the career members of the Foreign Service.
The letter also noted that the signatories were concerned about the message the ambassadorial vacancies sends
and “the lost opportunities for American business and investment that those vacancies represent.”
AFSA’s engagements with members of Congress on the issue of stalled confirmations of ambassadors also allows
us opportunities to raise other issues in Congress.
–Javier Cuebas, Director of Advocac
y
NEWS BRIEF
1...,71,72,73,74,75,76,77,78,79,80 82,83,84,85,86,87,88,89,90,91,...100
Powered by FlippingBook