AFSA Statement on Concerns Regarding New Foreign Service Exam

For Immediate Release
April 26, 2022
Contact: Executive Director Ásgeir Sigfússon |

Washington, D.C. – The American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) is deeply concerned about fundamental changes announced by the State Department to the Foreign Service Officer (FSO) admissions process.

The Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT) has been a key component of the State Department’s intake system since the modern U.S. Foreign Service was created in 1924.

Eliminating the requirement of passing the test as a part of this process, and without any consultation with the relevant union (AFSA) or other employee groups, goes against both the letter and the spirit of many commitments made by this administration to its public servants. AFSA remains concerned that these unilateral changes risk being seen as excessively subjective and subject to partisan influence.

The President's executive order and public commitments, as well as those of Vice President Harris and Secretary Blinken, established the policy of this administration to encourage worker organizing and work collaboratively with Federal unions on reform. As the union representing America’s Foreign Service, AFSA does not feel that presenting key hiring changes as faits accomplis without consultation lives up to these standards.

We urge fuller transparency regarding hiring decisions made through this new system, as well as further discussions with the stakeholders on its implementation.

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 U.S. Agency for Global Media, and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.