The Foreign Service Journal, March 2024

14 MARCH 2024 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL introduced on Nov. 21, 2023. The bill was spearheaded by Reps. Jasmine Crockett (D-Texas) and Don Bacon (R-Neb.) and had 10 additional co-sponsors. On Dec. 19, the Senate introduced its version of the same bill, sponsored by Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.). Emmalee Greusen, a co-author of the act, wrote a letter about it in the JanuaryFebruary 2024 Foreign Service Journal, calling it “an initiative [that] creates a retention path for federally employed military and Foreign Service spouses during permanent changes of station.” Report Details DEIA Public Diplomacy Programming Overseas In November 2023, the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy (ACPD) issued a special report titled “Public Diplomacy and DEIA Promotion.” To compile the report, ACPD interviewed more than 150 public diplomacy practitioners at the State Department, three quarters of whom were serving overseas, to better understand how the current emphasis on diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) has influenced the practice of public diplomacy in the field. ACPD found that public diplomacy officers and locally engaged staff members have produced “significant, and in some cases remarkable, outcomes” given limited resources and capacity constraints. The report’s authors made recommendations for improvement focused on resource and capacity building that would enable posts to better promote DEIA principles. The full report can be found at State Announces Lateral Entry Program On Jan. 24, the State Department announced the launch of the Lateral Entry Pilot Program (LEPP), a fiveyear, congressionally mandated program to recruit mid-level professionals with expertise in areas critical to U.S. foreign policy. The current pilot will bring in up to 35 new mid-level FSOs. LEPP applicants must demonstrate proficiency in their designated specialties. The first jobs to be posted on the USAJobs website include cyberspace, climate diplomacy, and global health security. Applicants must be able to pass the Foreign Service Officer Assessment (FSOA). According to cable 24 State 6722, LEPP is open to current entry-level and former Foreign Service officers, Civil Service employees, contractors, and the general public. More information on the program can be found at AFSA does not support lateral entry into the Foreign Service. State Bypasses Congress As the clock approached midnight in December 2023, the State Department notified congressional committees that it would be bypassing a required congressional review process to send 13,000 rounds of tank ammunition, valued at more than $106 million, to Israel. The rounds are part of a larger, 45,000-round order that is currently under review. The New York Times reported on Dec. 9 that the department invoked an emergency provision in the Arms Export Control Act to bypass Congress. According to the Times, the department has used the emergency provision “at least two times since 2022” to rush weapons to Ukraine. In a statement, Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) wrote: “Congressional review is a critical step for examining any large arms sale. The administration’s decision to short-circuit what is already a quick time frame for congressional review undermines transparency and weakens accountability. The public deserves better.” U.N. Workers Accused of Participating in Oct. 7 Attack on Israel More than 150 employees of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) have died since the conflict in Gaza began on Oct. 7, when Hamas militants attacked Israel. On Jan. 26, Israel claimed to have evidence that at least a dozen UNRWA staff members were complicit in the Oct. 7 attack, causing the U.S., UNRWA’s largest funder, and many other governments to freeze their financial support of the agency. UNRWA was established in 1949 to provide humanitarian assistance to Palestinian refugees. The agency’s commissioner-general, Philippe Lazzarini, said in a statement that he had “taken the decision to immediately terminate the contracts of these staff members and launch an investigation in order to establish the truth without delay.” On Jan. 28, U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on UNRWA donors to resume funding, saying that while the “abhorrent alleged acts” of the 12 accused workers must have consequences, “the tens of thousands of men and women who work for UNRWA, many in some of the most dangerous situations for humanitarian workers, should not be penalized,” and the needs of the refugees they serve must continue to be met.