The Foreign Service Journal, June 2013

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | JUNE 2013 29 • Be professional and courteous. • Be an agency advocate. • Listen and make note of Congress’ concerns. • Work out message, roles and materials with fellow briefers and Washington beforehand. Don’t — • Use jargon, acronyms or USAID-speak. • Condescend or offer personal opinions. • Answer questions outside the scope of your work. • Provide or promise information that may be internal. • Ask for or criticize earmarks or funding levels. • Blame other agencies, departments or the White House. • Be partisan, interrupt or get into an argument. • Check your watch or BlackBerry during a meeting. • Talk about sensitive matters in the lobby, hallway or elevators. Maximizing the Value of Codels and Staffdels When codels and staffdels visit your country, consider the following suggestions: • Know your audience. State and USAID’s legislative affairs offices can provide background on the interests and concerns of delegation members, as well as biographical information. • Familiarize yourself with the Washington position on each issue and any information previously submitted to Congress on the subject. Headquarters can help with this research, as well. • Identify one or two main points you wish to make in your briefing and the results you hope to achieve. Remember that members of Congress and their staff have limited time. • Avoid requests to the delegation for legislative initiatives not previously cleared with Washington. • Report any significant issues that arise during a delega- tion’s visit. Congressional oversight committee members and staff are generally supportive of effective, efficient U.S. foreign policy and international development and humanitarian assistance programs. But some may be critical of certain policies and programs. State and USAID are committed to developing and main- taining congressional support, and to responding to concerns in an open and transparent manner. Foreign Service officers, both in the field and in Washington, play an important role in this effort, in coordination with State’s and USAID’s legislative affairs offices. n