The Foreign Service Journal, September 2017

68 SEPTEMBER 2017 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL Views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the AFSA FCS VP. Contact: | (202) 482-9088 FCS VP VOICE | BY DANIEL CROCKER With 80 percent of Foreign Commercial Service AFSA members voting in the 2017 AFSA election, it’s clear that we are keenly aware of the unprecedented challenges that we face. I want to thank outgo- ing FCSVP Steve Morrison for serving our interests at AFSA since 2010 and for a smooth succession. Here are our three major pri- orities for the next two years. First, I will help Congress and the administration under- stand the importance of the work that we do on behalf of U.S. economic security—and the need to fund it accordingly. The proposal to close 35 posts overseas and a sig- nificant number of domestic field offices is quite simply at odds with the administra- tion’s desire to enforce trade obligations that help more U.S. companies compete on a level playing field overseas, grow more U.S. exports and attract more foreign investment—all of which contribute directly to the creation of good jobs in the United States. How do we serve that mission?With a unique global and domestic footprint and an unparalleled culture of outcome-oriented assistance that we document rigorously for more than 28,000 U.S. companies each year. I plan to let members of Congress know, both directly and through our clients and multipliers, what we do for their constituents—and ask for their support.With our FY16 results showing that we contribute $192 to the American econ- omy for every $1 of taxpayer money spent, there are better places to cut spending. Second, I will help the Com- merce Department spend its appropriations for this mission as effectively as possible. Commerce does so best when it continues to fund and pri- oritize its highest-performing client-facing professionals. I will work closely with administration officials to ensure that if any cuts do have to be made, they will have a minimal impact on our ability to serve the U.S. business community with our unparal- leled track record of direct, results-oriented engagement. Third, I will work with other members of AFSA’s Govern- ing Board to clarify FCS’ role at post, particularly given the ongoing restructuring of the State Department and USAID. In Panama, as part of Ambas- sador Barbara Stephenson’s outstanding country team, I experienced and appreciated her collaborative approach. I believe that our newAFSA board will be able to inform State’s new look and feel in a way that maximizes its ability to advance U.S. national inter- ests as efficiently as possible, with minimal role overlap. I’ll need your assistance to deliver on this platform. Contact me at daniel.crocker@ n Facing Unprecedented Challenges Views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the AFSA USAID VP. Contact: | (202) 712-1631 USAID VP VOICE | BY ANN POSNER Promoting USAID Interests After many years overseas, first as the spouse of a For- eign Service officer and for the last 20 years as a USAID executive officer (EXO), I am eager to use my busi- ness management skills, my EXO experience in overseas missions, my exposure to the workings of USAID’s Washington, D.C., headquar- ters and the knowledge I’ve gleaned from working along- side our immensely talented professionals to serve as your AFSA Vice President. My special focus will be on the careers, families and lives of USAID’s Foreign Service professionals. My first effort will be to reach out to all USAID FSOs to ask what they value and what aggravates them most about USAID, now and at other times during their careers. I invite you to tell me about the service you would like from AFSA during these tumultuous times. I want to hear your ideas and insights Your priorities will steer my efforts. What is most urgent to you will be most urgent for me during the coming months as I try to move initiatives forward. As you all know, some major initiatives and policy changes are taking place within USAID right now. I want to make sure that the interests of the majority of FSOs in the agency are taken into account as those changes are being made. For example, as the revised USAID Foreign Service Performance Management procedures are implemented, I would like to know whether you feel the new procedures are an improvement over the present system. I hope that the replacement system will be less time consuming and will be viewed as fair and rational. However, while important, revision of performance management procedures is only one of the major topics that preoccupy us about our careers right now. I pledge that my responses to you will always be appropriate, considered and prompt. I will voice your perspectives and represent your concerns in USAID Washington and with colleagues in the State Department. n