The Foreign Service Journal, April 2018

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | APRIL 2018 13 A MESSAGE FROM THE HILL Standing Up for Diplomacy BY SENATORS CHR I S VAN HOL L EN AND DAN SUL L I VAN he global challenges con- fronting the United States are evolving and growing. Roiling conflicts in the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia have led to refugee crises across borders; terrorist networks have expanded their reach into the information space; and North Korea’s rapidly developing nuclear program has tested the security of our regional alliances. Russia’s election meddling has sharpened societal divisions in the United States and Europe. In this unpredictable environment, diplomacy—vigorous, tireless and opti- mistic—is an absolute imperative. Rec- ognizing this critical need, and the need for broader discussion in the Senate, the two of us undertook a bipartisan initia- tive to form the Senate Foreign Service Caucus in the spring of last year. Congressional caucuses are typi- cally formed as a way for members with like-minded interests to come together to support a common cause or constitu- ency and advance specific policy priori- ties. In the Senate, caucuses for every branch of the military—U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps—have been around for years and have formed a broad, bipartisan base of supportive senators. Noticeably, however, the Senate had not formed an equivalent caucus for the men and women of the U.S. Foreign Service. Like the Armed Services, whose members defend this country in uni- form, the Foreign Service is comprised of professionals who serve the elected lead- ers of our country regardless of party and who sacrifice—alongside their families— to advance American interests abroad. This mission underscores the purpose of the Senate Foreign Service Caucus and the bipartisan view that the State Depart- ment must remain at the forefront of American engage- ment around the world. Since its founding last year, 21 senators have come together from both sides of the aisle, and all commit- tees, in caucus meetings with Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan and Under Secretary of State Tom Shannon, to engage in active and open dialogue, focusing on the critical role the Foreign Service plays in our national security and foreign policy. As we progress into 2018, we remain committed to continuing that engagement with the State Department. In these discussions we all acknowl- Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the son of a Foreign Service officer. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) is a member of the Senate Armed Ser- vices Committee and a former assistant secretary of State for economic, energy and business affairs under Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. T Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan is flanked by Senator Chris Van Hollen, at right, and Senator Dan Sullivan in a meeting of the Senate Foreign Service Caucus on Dec. 20, 2017. U.S.SENATE