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More Diversity on


Pages, Please

I read with interest the September

issue of

e Foreign Service Journal

, in

particular AFSA State

Vice President Mat- thew Asada’s article on diversity. e

e orts of AFSA and

the State Depart-

ment to promote

greater diversity

both abroad and

inside the depart-

ment are commendable.

One of the unique aspects of the

United States, our culture and history, is

that we value diversity for its own sake

and believe that including people from

all walks of life will make a team, an

organization and a country stronger and


Nevertheless, I noted that, ironically,

the September issue itself exhibited

very little demographic diversity. All

four o cers featured on the

cover—the winners of this

year’s dissent awards—were

from the same demographic

group (white males). Nearly

every author, some of whom

receive cash honoraria for their

contributions, was also from that

same demographic.

I congratulate the winners of

the dissent awards for their e orts, and

commend the authors of the articles, as

well—because anyone who can squeeze

the considerable time it takes to produce

a publishable article out of our busy days

deserves praise.

But there is something not quite right

when the bulk of awards, public recogni-

tion and voice go to predominantly one

demographic group, no matter which

one it is.

Fixing this is tricky. Maybe we could

each recognize that we are going to be

biased in favor of our own demographic,

then make an e ort to mentor, guide

and nominate for awards those who are

not like us. Otherwise, we will probably

continue to be an organization that pays

lip service to diversity without making

any concrete di erence.

Rachel Schneller


Consulate Toulouse, France

FMOs: More to the Story


October issue of the Journal

contained a very good recap of life in the

Foreign Service for specialists.

However, as a nancial manage-

ment o cer for 18 years, I found the job

description for FMOs to be incomplete,

and I suspect other job descriptions

were, as well.

e FMO description could have

included participating in the sta -

ing rotation as duty o cer and

frequently serving as acting man-

agement o cer. It also could

have included routine coverage

as either a human resources

o cer or general services

o cer.

Most FMOs have to be at

least minimally quali ed in

these other duties, and will

have to function in those jobs accordingly

during their careers.


FMO, retired

Royal Palm Beach, Florida

About FS Lab Scientists

Speaking as a regional medical labora-

tory scientist, I would like to point out

that your October article, “ e New Spe-

cialists,” contains an outdated descrip-

tion of the work regional medical labora-

tory scientists perform. For starters, we

no longer maintain X-ray equipment.

While the article does mention

that we perform routine visitations to

regional area health units to evaluate

performance of local laboratory sta and

manage the laboratory at post of assign-

ment, there is no mention of our other


ose include assessments of local

healthcare facilities and local blood prod-

ucts, food sanitation inspections, training

in food-handling and blood-borne

pathogens, medical waste management

and monitoring water testing for bacte-

rial contamination.

Perhaps in the future an article can

feature our small group of 10.

James R. Adams

Regional Medical Laboratory Scientist

Embassy Addis Ababa


An astute reader points out an error in

the article, “ e New Specialists,” regard-

ing titles for o ce managers.

e article

states: “O ce management specialists

become o ce managers, or OMs, when

they reach FS-3 or FS-4 or are assigned to

chiefs of mission.”

However, the title change actu-

ally occurs at the FS-5 grade level. As

a Bureau of Human Resources docu-

ment on bene ts and compensation,

“Titling Practice,” posted on the HR/RMA

intranet page, says:

“ e o cial title for positions classi-

ed in the 9017 skill code is o ce man-

agement specialist (OMS).

e approved

title for OMS positions at the FP-06 grade

level and below is O ce Management

Specialist; for OMS positions at the FP-05

grade level and above the approved title

is O ce Manager.”