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AFSA Annual Report 2013


As AFSA and the Foreign

Service celebrate our 90th

Anniversary this year, there

is some very good news to

report. Increased hiring in

recent years brought the

Foreign Service ranks to an

all-time high of 13,800. But

here’s the bad news: our

numbers may start to decline.

The State Department’s

Bureau of Human Resources

says that the current budget climate will likely require hir-

ing below replacement levels in the years ahead. For 2014,

the expected level is one new hire for every two leaving the

Service. It is safe to say that the number of career profession-

als, both Foreign and Civil Service, will remain below what

is needed to staff our country’s foreign policy.


The Foreign Service faces many challenges in addition to

budget and personnel shortages. One social trend to note

is that general interest and expertise in foreign affairs

among the American public has broadened and democra-

tized over the years. This is a positive development, but one

that leads to more interest from those outside the Foreign

Service and Civil Service in appointments to positions in

the foreign affairs agencies. To some extent, this demand

for limited-term, non-career appointments is a reflection

of the changing nature of the U.S. job market, and the shift

away from staying with one employer for one’s entire

working life.

I don’t think it is useful for us to complain about this

phenomenon, any more than I would advise King Canute

to command the waves to stop. But I do think it is in our

interest to periodically remind the administration, Congress

and the public of the value of having experienced, diverse

career professionals at the front and center of our foreign

policy-making process, both in Washington, D.C., and the

field, because that will strengthen our national security and

prosperity. And we must insist that those seeking leader-

ship positions within the foreign affairs agencies have the

requisite experience. Recent indications are that Secretary

of State John Kerry agrees with us; at present five of the six

Assistant Secretaries of State for the regional bureaus are

career professionals.


What is AFSA’s role in these challenges? I was a bit sur-

prised when I started this job six months ago to discover the

important role that AFSA can and does play in addressing

the many issues before the Foreign Service. In doing so,

AFSA calls on many strengths. It starts with our talented

staff of 34 persons and our strong financial situation, which

includes two charitable foundations—the Scholarship Fund

and the Fund for American Diplomacy, which supports

AFSA educational and outreach programs.

It continues with the critical contributions of thousands

of AFSA members from all five foreign affairs agencies. Our

members participate in many ways, including serving on

the Board of Governors and on the 10 committees, writing

articles for

The Foreign Service Journal

, speaking to college

groups, writing letters to and meeting with members of

Congress, and donating to AFSA funds. These activities and

more are described herein.


Finally, we all rely on the leadership of our elected AFSA

officers. The 2013-2015 AFSA Governing Board took the

reins in July from the very capable elected officials who

served before us, and I thank our predecessors who left this

organization in excellent shape. This annual report show-

cases the achievements of the past year.

Friends, working for AFSA has many feel-good moments.

Two such moments for me were seeing the reinstatement

of the four State Department officers who were put on

administrative leave following Benghazi, and the oppor-

tunity to advocate for worker’s compensation for Foreign

Service colleagues who contract an infectious disease while

on assignment overseas. This year will have many more,

including some celebratory events for the Foreign Service’s

90th anniversary. We invite you to join us.


President’s Report: Robert J. Silverman

Left to right, front row: Amb. David Greenlee, Nancy Rios-Brooks,

Steve Morrison, David Mergen, Amb. Charles A. Ford, Bob Silverman,

Matthew Asada, Lillian Wahl-Tuco, Sharon Wayne. Back row:

Amb. Ed Marks, Sue Saarnio, Barbara Farrar, Everett “Alex” Copher,

Michael Thomas, Rachel Nelson, David Zwach, Clayton Bond, Todd

Crawford. Not pictured: Andre de Nesnera, Angela Dickey, Lawrence

Cohen, Chuck Fee, Ken Kero-Mentz, Elise Mellinger, Andrew Levin,

Jason Singer, Mark Petry, Marshall Adair, F. Allen “Tex” Harris.

AFSA Governing Board

FS Employees by Agency


163 / 1%


239 / 2%


1,749 / 11%


36 / 0%


20 / 0%


13,667 / 86%