The Foreign Service Journal, September 2014

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | SEPTEMBER 2014 53 Many interesting things have been happening in FCS world in addition to the ongoing celebration of AFSA’s 90th birthday. Ten Commerce offi- cials (including Deputy Under Secretary for International Trade Ken Hyatt and Deputy Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Ser- vice Judy Reinke), along with a number of FCS officers and their guests, attended the star-studded birthday bash. We have also been meet- ing continuously with Foreign Commercial Service Direc- tor General Arun Kumar and management about a long list of concerns—Interna- tional Trade Administration consolidation, Office of For- eign Service Human Capital staffing, language training programs, When Actually Employed assignments— but more on that in future columns. What I want to talk about this month is our stellar new commercial officer class— our largest and the second consecutive group after a long drought. Our commer- cial officer corps had drifted down to a dangerous, unsus- tainable 228 officers during prior administrations. Now, with the addition of 42 new officers these past two years, we’re up to levels not seen in more than a decade: 250-260 officers. The downward spiral has turned into a virtuous circle— or so we hope. The 25 new officers sworn in on June 24 by Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritz- ker are a diverse group, but nearly all have international business backgrounds. In fact, a cursory review of their resumes shows they have spent on average more than 11 years in international business, demonstrating the success of our search for international trade profes- sionals. As to why the class of 10 women and 14 men joined Expanding Our Ranks: FCSWelcomes New Officers the Commercial Service, several cited Sec. Pritzker’s all-hands meeting remarks summarizing the “three legs” of American foreign policy and prosperity: security, diplomacy and economic security. It is this third leg, and the role of FCS, that several officers pointed to as the reason they joined. “Foreign trade is a vital part of the U.S. economy, and I will strive to raise awareness and help U.S. businesses When asked what they hope to get out of a Foreign Service career, these new officers most frequently cite developing their international business expertise. succeed as a Foreign Com- mercial officer,” says one. Another talked about how he is “passionate about working with companies wanting to expand overseas.” When asked what they hope to get out of a Foreign Service career, these new officers most frequently cite developing their international business expertise. Others add enhancing cross-cultural communication skills, travel and giving their family (including one officer with six kids!) the opportunity to see and experience firsthand new and potentially vastly differ- ent cultures than our own. Once again, please wel- come our new FCS officer class of 2014! n “STATE DEPARTMENT: F I LE 649” AFSA SCREENS FORE I GN SERV I CE F I LM On July 15 AFSA opened its doors for a screening of the 1949 movie, “State Department: File 649,” which was the subject of a witty discussion by retired FSO Don Bishop in the July- August issue of The Foreign Service Journal . A large crowd enjoyed this campy classic, laughing along with the highly implausible depiction of the Foreign Service. Free popcorn, courtesy of a fancy popcorn machine secured specially for the occasion, made the evening even more festive. Given the success of this event, AFSA may hold additional screenings of Foreign Service- related films in the future. Stay tuned! FCS VP VOICE | BY STEVE MORRISON AFSA NEWS Views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the AFSA FCS VP. Contact: or (202) 482-9088 AFSA/ÁSGEIRSIGFÚSSON