AFSA’s guiding policy objective is to promote the long-term health and vigor of the Foreign Service as an institution, certain in the conviction that a career Foreign Service, characterized by excellence and professionalism, is in America’s national interest.
The Foreign Service Act of 1980 is the legal foundation for the Foreign Service and opens by declaring that “a career foreign service, characterized by excellence and professionalism, is essential in the national interest.” The main purpose of the Act was to develop a Foreign Service structure that could “meet the challenges of the next century.”
The Act’s language goes on to discuss how the Foreign Service is to recruit, tenure, assign, and promote its members, with the clear understanding that Foreign Service professionals are stewards of the institution.
The Professional Policy Issues (PPI) directorate of AFSA has as its primary goal to promote the long-term well-being of the corps, including the soundness of the Foreign Service career path, the integrity and effectiveness of tenure and promotion boards, and long-term career development that makes maximum contributions to the efficiency of the Service.
PPI analyzes, develops, and articulates approaches to workforce policies, conducts research on issues affecting the Foreign Service, and, by providing accurate and up-to-date information on the Foreign Service, works to burnish AFSA’s reputation as a thought leader with its strategic partners, Congressional leaders, the media, and the public. As such, PPI maintains a library of Foreign Service statistics and data.
PPI advocates for the optimum size and composition of the Foreign Service, keeping a close eye on hiring and attrition levels and promoting an expansive definition of diversity in the workforce (state of origin, race and ethnicity, socio-economic background, academic background) that can lead to a more creative, effective, and sustainable foreign policy.
PPI assists Foreign Service members in executing the duty of care they have to each other as stewards of the institution, whether that means holding workshops to deepen professional knowledge, to strengthen workforce resilience, or to call attention to the value of reasoned dissent
Listening to our members is a PPI priority. PPI sponsors regular Town Halls, structured conversations, and regional embassy and consulate listening sessions so that the AFSA President can hear concerns directly from members. PPI also periodically surveys AFSA members to receive general feedback or to obtain feedback on specific issues important to the well-being of the Service.