The Foreign Service Journal, January-February 2019
22 JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2019 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL we need to have more, rather than less, information on what economic currents are shaping a country. Who among us is immune from the impact of economic events at home? No matter what anyone does for a living or believes as a faith, the economy touches us all. I would argue that both for the sake of growing our economic officers and— most importantly—effectively promoting U.S. interests, we urgently need to get more FS-2 economic positions overseas. AFSA is urging the State Department to add 300 econ jobs in the field. We don’t need 300 new FSOs to do that—we just need to shift 300 jobs out of Washington. The unprecedented levels of bipartisan support for U.S. global leadership has translated into funding in the appropri- ate line item of the department’s budget to do so. While I’m no longer in the depart- ment, I hear that there are efforts under- way to recreate a more positive career path for economic officers. That would be good for them and, more importantly, would pay dividends for the United States. America’s businesses are innova- tive and agile. They deliver what they promise, and when they get to compete on a level playing field, they win. Our Foreign Commercial Service and Foreign Agricultural Service colleagues contrib- ute enormously to achieving those wins. But they can’t do it without economic sections working on the structural con- text in which U.S. businesses seek to land a deal. n We urgently need to get more FS-2 economic positions overseas.