AFSA is both the principal advocate for the long-term institutional wellbeing of the professional
career Foreign Service and responsible for safeguarding the interests of AFSA members. AFSA also
seeks to increase understanding among the American people about the vital role of the U.S. Foreign
Service in sustaining American global leadership.
WHO WE SERVE
AFSA exists to support the United States Foreign Service, which deploys worldwide to protect and
serve America’s people, interests and values. The Foreign Service is the only U.S. government entity
that is globally deployed with an enduring physical presence in almost every country in the world,
creating an enormous competitive advantage for America and for Americans from all walks of life.
U.S. EMBASSIES, CONSULATES AND OTHER MISSIONS
Members of the
Foreign Service are
posted to more than
that are scattered across the globe—most in difficult
and many in dangerous environments.
of active-duty members of the Foreign Service
choose to join AFSA, the voice of the Foreign Service.
AFSA’s members are career professionals who volunteer to live and work
abroad for roughly two-thirds of their careers—usually serving abroad with
their families, but sometimes unable to—representing America to the people
and leaders of other countries.
Members of the Foreign Service are famously reticent about tooting their own horns. After all,
American diplomats pride themselves on coaxing a partner abroad to say “yes” without leaving a
trace of their advocacy efforts. What works so well abroad, however, can be a handicap at home,
where fellow Americans often know little about the Foreign Service. Those who know the
Foreign Service best, such as the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, are not so reticent with
their praise, calling the Foreign Service
“one of the most skilled, loyal, and motivated workforces of
any organization on the planet. Our foreign affairs and development professionals are truly among
the most dedicated of our public servants, on the front lines safeguarding our nation’s security.”
The Foreign Service Act of 1980, the legal foundation for the Foreign Service, opens by declaring
that “a career Foreign Service, characterized by excellence and professionalism, is essential in the
national interest.” AFSA speaks for its members individually, ensuring that the law is upheld and
due process followed, but also, crucially, for the long-term health and vigor of the Foreign Service
as an institution, certain in the conviction that a career Foreign Service, characterized by excel-
lence and professionalism, is in America’s national interest.