In 2016, AFSA met with numerous members of Con-
gress and their staffs in both the House and Senate,
and were encouraged to find robust support on both
sides of the aisle for maintaining strong American
global leadership and appreciation for the critical role
that the Foreign Service plays in that effort. AFSA’s top
legislative priorities included protecting the integrity of
the Foreign Service personnel system, supporting
Foreign Service families, ensuring members of the
Foreign Service have the resources and support to
carry out their duties in a reasonably safe and secure
manner, and preserving a balanced and fair system of
payment and benefits.
For the first time since 2002, the Congress passed a
State authorization bill, the FY17 Department of State
Authorities Act, which contained many provisions on
which AFSA had direct input. While there were some
items that we would have preferred to have more time
and a better process to work out with Congress, there
were many positive elements, including, among many,
provisions related to diversity and inclusion, challenges
to career opportunities pertaining to tandem couples
as well as couples for whom only one spouse is in the
Foreign Service, and best value contracting for local
security guard forces.
AFSA also endeavored to work with the Senate and
House Subcommittees on State, Foreign Operations
and Related Programs on workforce issues, such as
maintaining a healthy flow through of Foreign Service
personnel by ensuring stable and predictable hiring,
protecting due process rights, and improving security
To aid us in our advocacy outreach, AFSA established
the Ambassadorial Advisory Council—a group comprised
of well-regarded, retired career ambassadors who are
the face of AFSA’s advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill and
serve as a sounding board for AFSA in its development
of policy positions.
The AAC is supported by the AFSA professional staff,
who track legislative developments and prepare briefing
papers on AFSA’s advocacy positions. Those positions
are shaped by member feedback gathered in AFSA’s new
structured conversations initiative (see page 30).
We’ve also sought to fortify our partnerships with
champions of the U.S. foreign affairs budget, foreign
assistance and international exchanges, including with
the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, Global Ties U.S. and
their affiliates across the U.S. These efforts will continue
to be a focus in 2017.
Stephenson with Denver
Mayor Michael Hancock.
Stephenson with Rep.