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MAY 2015




Security and Engagement



Shawn Dorman is the editor of

The Foreign Service Journal.

risk option other than closing up shop

altogether, so the efforts of security and

diplomatic professionals alike

must be on finding the best

way to support engagement

while minimizing and mitigat-

ing risk. What level of risk is

tolerable? How is that deter-

mined? When and where do the

lines change?

In “Effective Diplomacy after Benghazi,” FSO Michael Dod-

man, consul general in Karachi from 2012

to 2014 and winner of the first Ryan C.

Crocker Award for Outstanding Leader-

ship in Expeditionary Diplomacy, offers

his take on how to conduct effective

diplomacy in a high-threat environment.

In “Diplomatic Security Triage in a Dangerous World,” Ambassador Antho


Quainton, who has served as assistant

secretary for diplomatic security, evalu-

ates where security priorities fall today

and how much has changed since the

Inman Commission recommendations

were made 30 years ago in the wake of

the 1983 Beirut bombings. He points

to responses at other critical moments,

following the 1998 East Africa embassy

bombings; Sept. 11, 2001; and Benghazi,

Sept. 11, 2012.

Finally, in “Keeping Embassy Security in Perspective,” veteran FSO James

Bullock takes a critical look at risk toler-

ance—or the lack thereof. He argues that

FS personnel “sometimes find ourselves

in harm’s way because that is the only

way we can do our jobs. Our objectives

do not become less

compelling just

because some dan-

ger is involved.”

In our cover story, “Build- ing a Foreign Service for 2025 and Beyond,” Director Gener


Arnold Chacón and Senior Advi-

sor Alex Karagiannis offer an overview of

the challenges facing the Foreign Service

and the Bureau of Human Resources’

goal: to recruit, retain and sustain a

diverse workforce.

On a related note, in “Tips from the Belly of the Python,” FSO John Fer offer


suggestions for how to optimize profes-

sional development and strengthen the

Foreign Service while negotiating a chal-

lenging mid-level passage.

Speaking of challenges facing the

Foreign Service, please see AFSA News

for coverage of the American Academy of Diplomacy’s new report, “Diplomacy at Risk,” which was released as we went

to press. The full document is available

at, and is well

worth reading.

We will feature a more in-depth look

at the study in our July-August focus on

diplomacy as a profession. In the mean-

time, we look forward to hearing your

thoughts on the report and its recom-

mendations. Please write to journal@ with subject line “AAD Report.”

And please, remember to vote in the

AFSA election before June 4.



April focus on Vietnam

was, we are almost certain,

the largest


focus in 90

years, and included a first- ever FSJ online supplement. In my

introduction, I quoted from the June



editorial calling for a post-mor-

tem of the Vietnam era from the career

Foreign Service and noted that there is

little evidence such an assessment was


Then we heard from retired Ambassa-

dor David Lambertson, who reported that,

actually, such an evaluation


done in

1975 at the request of the White House,

and the resulting memo—“Lessons of

Viet-Nam”—brought together the views of

dozens of FSOs. He was the drafter.

However, that document apparently

died on Secretary of State Henry Kiss-

inger’s desk, and instead quite a different

memo went forward to the White House.

Wouldn’t it be fascinating to see both ver-

sions? Look for them in the July-August



This month, we consider an issue that

is on everyone’s mind today but is also

evergreen, as shown by these covers from

past years of the


: managing risk. The

critical question of how to do diplomacy

and development in a dangerous world—

the tension between protection and

engagement—must be

constantly considered

and reconsidered,

balanced and rebal-


There is no zero-