Statement on Senior Personnel Changes at the Department of State
For Immediate Release
January 26, 2017
Contact: Director of Communications Ásgeir Sigfússon, email@example.com
Washington, D.C. – The American Foreign Service Association (AFSA), the professional association and labor union of the United States Foreign Service, is aware of press reports of resignations, retirements and rotations within the Department of State’s senior management team. While this appears to be a large turnover in a short period of time, a change of administration always brings personnel changes, and there is nothing unusual about rotations or retirements in the Foreign Service. Indeed, both are essential to the development of a steady stream of experienced leaders ready to assume critical roles at State.
Said AFSA President Ambassador Barbara Stephenson: “Like the military, the career Foreign Service is an up-or-out system—those who fail to move up are forced out—and it relies on regular rotations (we typically move to a new job every 2-3 years) to perform a key mission—that is, developing a deep bench of experienced senior leaders year after year. Thus, both rotations to new positions and retirements after a fixed number of years of service are part of the DNA of the Foreign Service. Have no doubt that the next generation of leaders is eager to step up and serve, ensuring the continuity of this great institution.”
AFSA agrees with former State Department Chief of Staff David Wade – the skills that are needed for these positions are exceedingly rare outside the Foreign Service. Given the talent available in our diplomatic corps, we expect that the new Secretary will have no trouble finding the right people at State to fill out his senior leadership team.
AFSA, the voice of the Foreign Service, is the professional association and labor union of the U.S. Foreign Service. Founded in 1924, AFSA represents 31,000 active and retired Foreign Service employees at the Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development, Foreign Commercial Service, Foreign Agricultural Service, the Broadcasting Board of Governors, and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.