The Foreign Service Journal, June 2021

50 JUNE 2021 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL Seizing the Moment: Expand the U.S. Foreign Service AFSA ON THE HILL | BY KIM GREENPLATE In the upcoming 2022 federal budget process, AFSA plans to take advantage of recent Biden administration and congressional calls for more State and USAID resources to advocate expansion of the U.S. Foreign Service. The aim is to be able to field a full team of diplomacy and development profession- als overseas and at home. Specifically, AFSA is seeking 1,000 new State Depart- ment positions and 650 new USAID positions. The fact that the Fis- cal Year 2022 budget and appropriations process is off to a slower start than normal gives us an opportunity to make the case for the Foreign Service more thoroughly on Capitol Hill. The slowed budget process is a result of a new administration crafting the president’s budget request, as well as the bipartisan reintroduction of “community funding projects” (formerly known as earmarks) in the process of addressing the ongoing pandemic. At the same time, the idea of adequately equipping our foreign affairs agencies is alive and well on the Hill. Congress is sympathetic to AFSA’s request for more positions and has shown its desire to use the Foreign Service as the first line of defense. This new perspective on federal funding for diplomacy and development got a power- ful boost last spring, at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. The unprecedented repatriation operation carried out by the State Department impressed members of Con- gress from both parties who had constituents needing to get back home. The Biden administra- tion has hinted at its support for increasing the budget for international affairs and increasing the size of the Foreign Service already, ahead of the full budget request. In a March 16 letter, four legislators called for a $12 billion increase in the inter- national affairs budget.“It’s time to stop trying to solve non-military problems with military tools, and actually give agencies like the State Department and USAID the resources they need in the 21st century,”wrote Sena- tors Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Representatives David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Ami Bera (D-Calif.). It is up to AFSA to capital- ize on such calls for expanding resources. Creating and filling 1,000 new State Department posi- tions and 650 new USAID positions for the Foreign Service in FY 2022 will help accomplish three major things. First, it will create a training float so members of the For- eign Service can take advan- tage of professional training and be better prepared for their jobs. Second, it will allow expanded intake from an increasingly diverse U.S. population. And third, it will enable the State Department and USAID to meet growing mission requirements. The United States is facing a variety of new threats and concerns dip- lomats did not have to reckon with even 10 years ago. Seizing the moment also applies to Congress’s consideration of authoriza- tion bills, not just the budget and appropriations process. For example, Congress has demonstrated an appetite for passing a State Department Authorization Act, which is expected to be considered later this year as part of a big- ger legislative vehicle. It is also considering a broader 21st Century Foreign Service Act. Larger-scale authorization bills like this present oppor- tunities for more permanent policy changes to improve morale and retention in the Foreign Service career, creat- ing an environment ripe for expansion. n Theodore Roosevelt Island and elsewhere. Bennett Var- ghese of the Department of State’s Bureau of Administra- tion coordinated the installa- tion logistics. The 10 plaques are made of black granite with deep-cut sandblasted inscriptions in gold lettering. With this expansion com- pleted, the AFSA memorial plaques now honor 321 col- leagues and provide space for 102 future inscriptions. If the sad toll of deaths of Foreign Service members in the line of duty continues at the same rate it has since 1990, the new plaques will be full in 50 years. The plaques could fill up more quickly, however, if archival research continues to uncover additional histori- cal names, so AFSA will honor any newly identified early colleagues on a virtual AFSA memorial plaque on the AFSA website. That will save the remaining open space on the physical plaques to honor contemporary and future Foreign Service members. AFSA owns and manages the memorial plaques, which a joint resolution of Con- gress in 1933 authorized for placement on government property. Criteria for inscription are on the AFSA website under the Awards & Honors tab. For a history of the plaques and their inscription criteria, see “The Foreign Service Honor Roll” by John K. Naland in the May 2020 Foreign Service Journal (p. 44). n Memorial Plaques Continued from page 47