The Foreign Service Journal - January/February 2016
Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  10 / 104 Next Page
Basic version Information
Show Menu
Previous Page 10 / 104 Next Page
Page Background





Working with the Military

My compliments for the excellent

articles in the October


about work-

ing with the military. Ted Strickler’s “10 Things the Foreign Service Needs to Know” is insightful and thought-

provoking, prompting complementary

assessments such as that by Ambassa-

dor Steve McFarland in his November

letter to the



George Staples’ common-sense

suggestions for understanding the role

of the military in interagency decision-

making and Jonathan Addleton’s

first-person account of serving with U.S.

troops in Kandahar provide excellent

macro- and micro-level perspectives on

this essential civilian-mili-

tary partnership in national

security affairs.

I’ve highlighted these

two editions for our foreign

policy advisers (POLADs)

in the field, all 90 of

them. Our program has

expanded and matured

to the point that FSOs—

from SFS to FS-3—advise

commanders and com-

mands in 12 states and nine countries


As testimony to the importance of

these positions, the U.S. military has

asked for additional POLADs, nearly

300 FSOs bid on these positions each

year and promotion boards increasingly

recognize POLADs’ contributions.

Having been fortunate to serve as

a POLAD myself, I highly recommend

these positions, which enable incum-

bents to influence policy, to learn from

(and teach) our military colleagues

about our differing “cultures” and

perspectives, and to maintain the close

collaboration necessary to confront the

many current and prospective global

challenges effectively.

I encourage POLADs past and pres-

ent to provide additional stories and

letters to the



David E. Henifin

Coordinator, POLAD Program

Bureau of Political-Military Affairs

U.S. Department of State

Washington, D.C.

Leadership and Equality

Two articles in your October issue—

“The Value of Military Training for Diplomats” by George Staples and “Seek- ing Parity Between Civil and Foreign Services” by Larry Roeder—brought back

old memories.

In 1951, following graduation from

law school, I joined the Cen-

tral Intelligence Agency and

was enrolled in its first junior

officer training program. At the

end of it, those of us who had

no military service were asked

to enlist (I joined the Air Force)

for exposure to the leadership

skills military service offered.

Ambassador Staples stresses

the importance of leadership and

management training and experience

for Foreign Service officers approaching

the senior threshold. A State Depart-

ment inspection report many years

ago concluded that the overwhelming

majority of first-tour deputy chiefs of

mission failed in that area. Most DCMs

at the time were political and economic

officers who had had little management

experience; consular and management

officers had the large staffs.

Fortunately, leadership and manage-

ment training at the Foreign Service

Institute took off under the able leader-

ship of Prudence Bushnell in the early


In 1961 the CIA enrolled me in a

personnel management internship at the

Civil Service Commission, part of which

was a detail to State’s Office of Career

Development. My task: perform research

and produce a study recommending

closer integration between State’s For-

eign Service and Civil Service. Though

praised by my immediate supervisors,

the study went nowhere. It did result,

however, in an offer to join the State

Department in 1972, which I accepted.

More than 40 years later, the debate

apparently continues. I agree entirely

with Mr. Roeder that Foreign Service and

Civil Service professionals deserve treat-

ment as equal partners.

Donald C. Leidel

Ambassador, retired

Sarasota, Florida

A Plea for Transparency

The State Department’s recent lack of

communication transparency regard-

ing reduction or elimination of danger

pay for certain posts has had a negative

impact on morale around the world. This

has weakened trust in the institution as

a whole, and caused people to question

whether the department supports its

employees overseas.

Let’s say you are flying somewhere.

Your flight is scheduled, tickets pur-

chased. As boarding time approaches,

there is no airplane at your gate, there

have been no announcements, but the

monitor still shows an on-time depar-

ture. Then every 10 or 15 minutes, the

estimated departure time is changed.

Finally, an airplane taxis in, and the flight

crew announces, “We’re sorry for the

late departure, but the incoming flight

was delayed.” You realize they knew well

in advance the flight was going to be

delayed, but said nothing.

All too often, something similar hap-

pens at State. Supervisors know some-