Annual Report 2014 | American Foreign Service Association
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14

International Affairs Budget

In addition to our traditional efforts to ensure adequate funding

for the foreign affairs agencies and pay equity for our members,

AFSA also actively advocated full funding of the Foreign Affairs

Security Training Center at Ft. Pickett, Virginia.

Personnel Security

AFSA continued to monitor congressional efforts to improve

personnel security and educated members and staff about the

importance of balancing risk and diplomacy and about the vital

connection between personnel security and language and situa-

tion-relevant training. We also advocated the provision of addi-

tional resources for much-needed language training.

In July, we hosted Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), a member of

the House Select Committee on Benghazi, for an off-the-record

roundtable discussion with recent returnees from high-threat

posts. Schiff subsequently cited AFSA during the committee’s

opening session. AFSA staff also held introductory meetings with

other members of that committee.

Diversity and Equality

AFSA worked diligently with both parties in Congress to secure

strong language in support of diversity outreach, recruitment and

retention efforts by State and USAID in the Senate version of the

State Department authorization bill. Although the legislation was

not introduced, we are committed to continue promoting such

language during the 114th Congress.

In addition, AFSA sought to bring attention to the nega-

tive consequences for both individuals and agencies of the State

Department’s current rules on assignment restrictions that af-

fect diverse groups. AFSA also co-hosted several events with the

Congressional Black Associates, including a panel discussion on

“Diversity in the Foreign Service.” The event brought together dis-

tinguished active-duty and retired professionals to discuss the past

and present of diversity in the foreign affairs agencies.

Consumer Affairs

In response to requests from our members and in collaboration

with Labor Management staff, AFSA initiated a formal dialogue

with U.S. telecommunications carriers and other companies to se-

cure the same benefits currently granted to members of the mili-

tary and other federal employees. We have made similar efforts in

the areas of air travel, health, real estate and taxes.

Family/Dependent Issues

AFSA continued to advocate more and better services and op-

portunities for Foreign Service family members. We worked with

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) to introduce H.R. 5206, a bill to allow

Foreign Service and other executive agency employees to specifi-

cally designate beneficiaries of their death benefits. The bill passed

out of the House Committee of Foreign Affairs in November, and

we expect it to be reintroduced at some point during the 114th

Congress. We support H.R. 517, Federal Employees Paid Parental

Leave Act, introduced by Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (D-

N.Y.). This bill would provide four weeks of paid parental leave to

federal employees for the birth, adoption or fostering of a child.

AFSA-PAC

AFSA has also tremendously benefited from the AFSA-PAC which

was created in 2002 and is separate registered entity from AFSA.

The AFSA-PAC supports members of Congress whose policies are

aligned with a stronger Foreign Service.

l

State VP Matthew Asada and USAID VP Sharon Wayne met with

Aaron Allen, legislative assistant for Congressman Juan Vargas

(D-Calif.) on February 2014.

AFSA’s Matthew Sumrak attended the AFGE Shared Prosperity

Rally on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, February 2014.