The Foreign Service Journal, May 2014

AFSA NEWS CALENDAR THE OFFICIAL RECORD OF THE AMERICAN FOREIGN SERVICE ASSOCIATION Conducting Diplomacy in Dangerous Places On March 25, AFSA wel- comed Ambassador Gerald Feierstein to AFSA headquar- ters to discuss the challenges of conducting diplomacy in dangerous places. That is certainly a topic Amb. Feierstein—now principal deputy assistant secretary for Near Eastern affairs—knows firsthand. While serving as U.S. ambas- sador to Yemen from 2010 to 2013, he had the unenvi- able distinction of having an al-Qaida bounty put on his head; anyone who killed him was to be rewarded with six pounds of gold. Amb. Feierstein addressed the changing attitudes toward diplomacy in dan- ger zones, distinguishing between the pre- and post- Benghazi periods. From 9/11, and partic- ularly following the March 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, the emphasis was on expedi- tionary diplomacy. But since the tragic incident in Libya on Sept. 11, 2012, attitudes have shifted back toward risk- aversion, Feierstein pointed out. Zero tolerance for threats to a diplomatic mission has negative consequences in terms of the ability to main- tain a U.S. presence overseas, Senate Releases Hold on 1,800 FS Careers Continued on page 60 May 2 10-10:30 a.m. AFSA Memorial Ceremony May 2 3-5 p.m. AFSA Foreign Affairs Day reception May 4 Public Service Recognition Week Begins May 4 8 a.m. Public Service 5K Run/Walk May 7 12-2 p.m. AFSA Governing Board Meeting May 19 2-4 p.m. The Coordination of FEHB and Medicare May 26 Memorial Day; AFSA Offices Closed May 29 2-4 p.m. “Professionalism and the Foreign Service” June 4 12-2 p.m. AFSA Governing Board Meeting June 8-13 AFSA Road Scholar Program June 18 4-6 p.m. Annual AFSA Awards Ceremony Amb. Gerald Feierstein addresses a full house at AFSA on March 25. PHOTOBYÁSGEIRSIGFÚSSON Continued on page 53 THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | MAY 2014 51 A V I CTORY ON CAP I TOL H I L L On April 11, thanks in large measure to AFSA’s advo- cacy, the Senate confirmed the commission, tenure and promotion of all but a handful of the nearly 1,800 members of the Foreign Service whose careers had been held up by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In some cases, these indi- viduals’ careers had been on hold for as long as 15 months, with this unprecedented situation directly affecting more than 10 percent of our colleagues. Over the past several months AFSA has been deeply involved in efforts to rectify this injustice, meeting repeatedly with management from the foreign affairs agen- cies and with SFRC members and committee staff from both sides of the aisle. A Well-Coordinated Strategy On March 7, AFSA’s presi- dent, State vice president and director of advocacy brought all parties together to seek agreement and an end to the hold. Through these discus- sions, AFSA learned that the committee staff was seeking an enhanced vetting process for those put forward for confirmation, while making it clear that they were not questioning the integrity of any individual. Negotiations continued, and on March 27 AFSA sent a letter to SFRC Chairman Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Ranking Member