The Foreign Service Journal, April 2020

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | APRIL 2020 61 AFSA NEWS AFSA ON THE HILL | BY KIM GREENPLATE Building on Fiscal Year 2020 Gains With passage of the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act and the final FY 2020 appropriations pack- age in December, AFSA has much to celebrate. An increase of more than $500 million for the State Department’s “Overseas Pro- grams” fund advanced AFSA’s initiative to see more mid-level FSOs serving abroad for the second year in a row. In its report about State/ USAID appropriations in the 2020 package, Congress was also clear that it supports an increase in the number of For- eign Service positions abroad. AFSA is keeping a close eye on the State Department’s imple- mentation of this goal and will continue to push for a “field- forward” Foreign Service. The FY 2020 NDAA also includes 12 weeks of paid parental leave for federal employees, something that has been a top AFSA priority for decades. AFSA is work- ing to ensure appropriate implementation guidance from the Office of Personnel Management and from human resource offices at each of the foreign affairs agencies. It is imperative that imple- mentation make sense for the Foreign Service as this new benefit is phased in by the federal government. Paid parental leave is set to take effect for births or place- ments after Oct. 1. This spring, AFSA will look to Congress for oversight of these legislative accomplish- ments and will seek to dis- cover ways to build on these gains in the next fiscal year, FY 2021. This is especially important given the 2020 election. Election years tend to be the least productive for Congress. AFSA anticipates that tough conversations will take place among congressional leadership regarding nonde- fense discretionary funding in FY 2021—without dramatic funding increases and within the constraints of the 2019 Bipartisan Budget Act. The 2019 BBA has set a non- defense discretionary fund- ing ceiling of $626.5 billion in FY 2021, just $2.5 billion above the FY 2020 ceiling of $624 billion. Other national priori- ties such as the politically popular federal veterans’ healthcare program are expected to cost even more to maintain in FY 2021. And these priorities will be com- peting for the same pool of money as the International Affairs Budget. The small budget cap increases, along with a proposed 22 percent cut in President Trump’s FY 2021 budget request, create unfavorable odds for even maintaining the IAB in FY 2021. While focusing on the outcomes from the big wins of FY 2020, it will be essential to protect the IAB increases we have seen over the past few years to support our diplomats and development professionals at home and overseas. n Retirement Planning Five to 10 Years Out AFSA Retiree Vice President John Naland led his annual presentation on Retirement Plan- ning Five to 10 Years Out on Jan. 29 at AFSA headquarters. Mr. Naland is the former director of the Department of State’s Office of Retire- ment. Mr. Naland summarized steps that mid- and late-career employees should take to best position themselves for life after the Foreign Service. Topics covered include: • Understanding your pension, aka annuity • FSPS annuity supplement • Social Security: When to start • TSP: Stocks vs. bonds AFSA • Health insurance and life insurance after retirement • Survivor benefit options • Long-term care insurance • Divorce and FS retirement benefits • Credit for prior civilian or military service • Beneficiary designations • Savvy financial moves during your last year • Federal reemployment after retirement • Prognosis on future retirement benefits • Retirement planning resources A video of Mr. Naland’s presentation is available to AFSAmembers at Also, see his article, “Retirement Planning 101” on page 67. n John Naland, AFSA Retiree VP, shares tips for retirement planning on Jan. 29 at AFSA headquarters.