The Foreign Service Journal, June 2023

10 JUNE 2023 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL LETTERS Gold-Standard Gaming I found Robert Domaingue’s Novem- ber 2022 FSJ article, “Why the State Department Needs an Office of Diplo- matic Gaming, ” and Fred Hill’s March 2023 Letters-Plus response, “Gaming at State: Needed but Not New, ” both inspiring and a source of pride and fond memories. I especially remembered how delighted we on the senior management team in the School of Language Studies were when Fred Hill agreed to conduct games in foreign languages as a subset, or sidebar, to his policy and strategic games on national security and global issues. Working with Fred’s team, we were able to provide our students who were studying French, Spanish, and more difficult languages like Russian, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean with some of the most effective language experiences in their studies. The students had authentic language experiences working on topics that would soon be part of their jobs at post. The stu- dents had those experiences working with native-speaking subject matter experts, making gaming in a foreign language the gold standard in language learning. James E. Bernhardt Director (ret.) for Innovation, Curriculum, Student and Staff Development School of Language Studies, FSI Arlington, Virginia Bring Back Gaming Let me second the March 2023 FSJ piece by Fred Hill, “Gaming at State: Needed but Not New, ” advocating for gaming at State. I had the honor of serving as a Senior Army Fellow at the Foreign Service Institute and worked for Hill when he ran the Office of Special Programs. By that point in my career, I had been involved in military exercises and “war games” for 23 years, culminating as director of the Strategic Crisis Exercise at the Army War College. I cannot overstate the importance of looking “over the horizon” at the potential national security issues the United States may face. In that light, Special Programs reached out to the regional bureaus to solicit their concerns, developed scenarios vetted by those same bureaus, and then, given the unique location of FSI and influence of the Policy Planning Office, brought in senior interagency officials to consider options and solutions. Our exercises often included combat- ant commanders and senior intelligence and Foreign Service officers as players, and so truly had a strategic focus. For example, after my fellowship and return to the Army War College, we collaborated on and supported the exercise that looked at possible outcomes of a U.S. invasion of Iraq six months before that happened, an exercise that Hill points to and led. Diplomats serving in missions worldwide recognize that the churn of daily activities leaves little room for deep strategic thinking and planning. Special Programs helped fill that gap by providing insights and supporting Main State and the chiefs of mission in out-year planning, including the appropriate allocation of scarce resources. The absence of strategic planning informed by gaming, on the other hand, risks unnecessary, reactive crisis responses, inefficient use of resources, and potential failure. Special Programs had a proven track record at minimal cost to the benefit of the nation. I strongly urge State to bring it back in some form. Dennis Murphy Colonel (ret.), U.S. Army Sneads Ferry, North Carolina Data Analysis for Reform I found the March 2023 issue of The Foreign Service Journal to be one of the best ever! Extremely well written, it includes a pleasant balance of viewpoints on key subjects pertinent to its readership. One of my favorites, Dan Spokojny’s “From Instinct to Evidence in Foreign Pol- icy Decision-Making, ” was a bit reminis- cent of a piece I used to circulate to fellow management officers, “The Department of State: Formal Organization and Informal Culture, ” a March 1969 AndrewM. Scott piece on why, historically, Foreign Service officers often fail to get the data analysis part correct. Some called it out of date; I chose to call it “historical.” The March edition’s cover title, “Refin- ing Reforms,” is almost poetic in its scope, and we can always use more poetry. Just another reason to keep The Foreign Service Journal on our bookshelves and in our hearts. Raymond Maxwell FSO, retired Washington, D.C. Recalling Successful Education and Training I was heartened to read in the March 2023 FSJ about the modest progress in desperately needed Foreign Service reform. A recurring theme in the articles was the need to expand professional edu- cation and training. As we design training programs for the 21st century, we need to recall success- ful 20th-century training programs that disappeared. Beatrice Camp’s article on rotational job opportunities, “Learning the RopesThrough Rotations, ” particularly caught my attention. The State Department, as well as the U.S. Information Agency, at one time assigned incoming junior officers as junior officer trainees (JOTs). Following