Annual Report 2016 | American Foreign Service Association
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MISSION

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.

80%

NEARLY

270

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.