The Foreign Service Journal, July-August 2005

60 F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L / J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 0 5 F O C U S O N F S I / F S T R A I N I N G T HE FSN E XECUTIVE C ORPS : A W IN -W IN I DEA f you work outside of the State Department’s six regional bureaus, you might not be aware that each of them has its own FSN Executive Corps. This is a group of Foreign Service National employees possess- ing technical and administrative expertise in various fields, ranging from general services and financial management to information technology and human resources. They share their expertise not only with other FSNs, but also with U.S. Foreign Service generalists and specialists serv- ing at other posts within each region. The initiative for the FSN Executive Corps started in the Bureau of European Affairs in 2000. EUR’s Executive FSN Corps now consists of 21 experienced local employees who have assisted thousands of their col- leagues over the past five years. Posts within each bureau nominate FSNs to join the corps. In EUR’s case, the posts provide the Regional Support Center in Frankfurt with detailed résumés of candidates and additional data. RSC/Frankfurt makes the selection based on the personal experience and qual- ifications of nominated employees. No specific qualifica- tions or training are required, but nominees typically have several years of experience working in a specific sec- tor (i.e., HR, GSO, etc.) and have, therefore, attended related training courses (e.g., position classification for HR). Once accepted into the Executive Corps, FSNs are given a one-week training course in Frankfurt and are then ready to start assisting colleagues at other embassies. Any official request for assistance from the EUR FSN Executive Corps members must first go to RSC/ Frankfurt, which checks to see if any member of the corps is available for the selected period and then obtains approval from the employee’s supervisor(s) for him or her to go on TDY. The typical commitment for each corps member does not exceed three weeks per year, generally spent among two or three posts. In addition, corps members provide significant support via e-mail and phone. To keep up their skills, FSNs in the program periodi- cally take training focusing on new programs and on training techniques. What Posts Get out of the Corps • On-site assistance. At a reasonable cost, personnel at serviced posts receive professional assistance specifically targeted at pending issues/problems. Most of the time, the problems faced at one post have probably been experi- enced by others, so a solution has already been found. I S INCE 2000, F OREIGN S ERVICE N ATIONAL EMPLOYEES HAVE POOLED AND SHARED THEIR EXPERTISE WITH THOUSANDS OF COLLEAGUES AROUND THE WORLD . B Y A LDO N EGROTTI