The Foreign Service Journal - October 2014 - page 8

Specialists Today
Shawn Dorman is the editor of
e Foreign Service Journal.
members—specialist, o cer/generalist,
o cer, diplomat—can be perceived as
perpetuating hierarchies, both between
specialists and generalists and among
some specialists.
To address these and other concerns,
we have tried to bring as many Foreign
Service Specialist voices into our cover-
age as possible, reaching out to them for
input through various channels, includ-
ing an AFSAnet invitation.
Still, I am concerned that a number
of potential authors were reluctant to
write for attribution this month. We lost
at least two articles for that reason, and
another was not submitted because its
authors were unable to get clearance.
One specialist who declined to give
his name speculated that specialists may
fear that speaking up about professional
concerns can hurt their promotion
potential, which is already highly limited
in many cases. Nonetheless, we hope
this focus will open the door to more
articles and contributions, both by and
about Foreign Service Specialists.
Francesca Kelly’s cover story explores
the wide world of “ e New Specialists”:
who they are; the critical roles they play
at overseas missions and in the United
States; how their work has evolved; and
what their concerns are. One comment
stands out: “Specialists are hired on
experience; generalists are hired on
is month’s Speaking Out column
is a collection of comments getting at
“What Specialists Want You to Know.”
And we close our focus with a compila-
tion of three short commentaries and
one to-do list from specialists in various
career tracks.
Elsewhere in this issue, Foreign
Service Know-How takes an in-depth
look at child custody. As if divorce and
the related custody issues aren’t hard
enough, add the FS lifestyle and you get
a truly dizzying array of complicating
ree experts walk us through
how to navigate such a situation.
Sandya Das from the State Depart-
ment’s Bureau of Population, Refugees
and Migration writes about “Learning
from Women’s Success in Afghanistan.”
And on the lighter side, follow the brave
team at Embassy Colombo on a mad-
cap adventure in Chris Teal’s “Flying
Monkeys in the Embassy.” And in his
President’s Views column, Bob Silver-
man shares “Two Secrets of the Foreign
Finally, a note on style. Bowing to
“the pressure of the acronym” (yes, that
is a thing) in this month’s focus, we have
taken some liberties with capitalization.
Our usual style (following Associated
Press) is to minimize capitalization of
job titles unless they come before a
But that gets awkward when lower-
casing makes them sound generic,
so this month we are swinging the
pendulum toward the upper case. In
other words, we’ve gone wild with caps!
Should this be a one-time exercise, or
does it make reading easier? Please
weigh in with feedback.
Next month, look for our popular
annual focus on books by Foreign Service
authors, “In
eir Own Write.”
any members of the Foreign
Service community lack
a complete picture of the
wide variety of critical roles
Foreign Service Specialists play. So this
month we shine the spotlight on Foreign
Service Specialists, both to give a sense
of what they do and to illustrate com-
monalities between life and work for
them and the rest of the Foreign Service.
First, some basics. About 40 percent
of the current State Department Foreign
Service corps are specialists; as of June,
there were 5,832 FS Specialists and 8,076
FS Generalists. FS Specialists also make
up about 40 percent of AFSA members.
Specialists follow 19 distinct, profes-
sional career tracks (as spelled out by
State’s Human Resources Bureau):
Financial Management O cer, Gen-
eral Services O cer, Human Resources
O cer, Construction Engineer, Facility
Manager, Information Management
Specialist, Information Management
Technical Specialist (Radio), Informa-
tion Management Technical Specialist
(Uni ed Communications), English
Language O cer, Information Resource
O cer, Health Practitioner, Regional
Medical O cer, Regional Medical O -
cer/Psychiatrist, Regional Medical Labo-
ratory Scientist, O ce Management
Specialist, Diplomatic Courier, Security
Engineering O cer, Security Technical
Specialist and Diplo-
matic Security Special
Foreign Service
language to categorize
1,2,3,4,5,6,7 9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,...76
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