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THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

|

DECEMBER 2014

15

Ki-moon delivered a broadside

against

the terrorist movement, calling it the

“Un-Islamic Nonstate.”

e Foreign Service Journal

generally

follows AP style and, accordingly, will

refer to the organization as “the Islamic

State group.”

—Susan B. Maitra,Managing Editor

State Ends Transgender

Exclusions in Employee

Health Plan

T

he State Department is taking the

lead within the federal govern-

ment when it comes to o ering health

insurance to transgender employees and

family members. At the department’s

I

n truth the Service has never made up

its collective mind about the proper role

of dissent and open discussion. We are

schizoid on the question. On one hand, we

are dedicated to the proposition that we are

loyal servants of constituted authority. This

principle is never seriously attacked. On

the other, we feel that as career oœcers,

we know, or should know, more than any-

one else about how the Service should be

run, and that we have a duty to indicate

the path to those charged with making

decisions.

In controversial and important matters it comes down in the final analy-

sis to a judgment as to where the dividing line lies between constructive com-

ment and obstructionism. We have generally resolved the dilemma by dissent-

ing only on trivia, or in such cautious terms that our dissent is all but inaudible.

This accomplishes nothing.

The central truth, however, seems to me to be another—namely, that little

can be expected to result from isolated expressions of opinion, no matter how

well founded or how skillfully phrased. They may point to the existence of prob-

lems, but they can do little to resolve them. (How many of the splendid letters to

the

Journal

have any e¢ect?)

What the Service needs for the long term is an institutionalized approach, a

prestigious group, immune from censorship, and recognized as having not only

the right but the duty to study and to express itself, if need be in public, on all

questions relating to the strengthening of the career principle. If such a group

had existed in the past, many of our current problems might have been avoided.

The Foreign Service Association is on the right track when it announces

the intention to establish a committee to “deal systematically with the career

service principle and the relationship of current policy and administration to the

strengthening of the Foreign Service as an instrument of foreign policy.”

This is a hopeful beginning. Let us hope it does not die aborning.

—“On Dissent” by Foreign Service Ocer William E. Knight,

FSJ

, November 1964.

50 Years Ago