The Foreign Service Journal, September 2017

76 SEPTEMBER 2017 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL AFSA NEWS Diplomatic Security as a Leader on Security Initiatives AFSA CONSTRUCT I VE D I SSENT AWARDS F. ALLEN ‘TEX’ HARRIS AWARD FOR CONSTRUCTIVE DISSENT BY A FOREIGN SERVICE SPECIALIST ELZAR T. CAMPER In January 2017, Spe- cial Agent Elzar Camper authored a dissent cable encouraging the department to empower and promote the Bureau of Diplomatic Security to fully imple- ment its visa and passport security program mandate overseas. Mr. Camper noted that many of the objectives spelled out in executive order 13769 (Protecting the Nation from Foreign Ter- rorist Entry into the United States) related directly to the Department of State’s mandate as laid out in 22 U.S. Code 4802 and 4807 and to programs already developed and implemented by the Bureau of Diplomatic Security. Although Mr. Camper believed that current inter- agency efforts to screen visa applicants were satisfac- tory, he felt compelled to highlight what he saw as deficiencies and a lack of coherent policies from the State Department. In particular, State’s failure to support and promote the Bureau of Diplomatic Security as the interagency lead for ensuring visa and passport security overseas. Mr. Camper’s well- researched and constructive dissent provided a neutral and objective viewpoint on a controversial executive order and, crucially, pro- vided department leader- ship with a series of specific recommendations to effect positive change. In the dissent cable, Mr. Camper explained why he felt current visa security ini- tiatives were not as effective as they could be and also highlighted the threat of outsourcing visa security to a third party agency. “Diplo- matic Security most clearly understands the importance of fairly and safely facili- tating travel for all foreign nationals who meet our nation’s requirements,” he said at the AFSA awards ceremony. He also stated that the Diplomatic Security agency “should be promoted through interagency policy as the department’s leading operational authority on overseas visa and passport security initiatives.” With his permission, Mr. Camper’s cable was shared with senior leaders in the Bureau of Diplomatic Secu- rity, where it had an immedi- ate impact. The recommen- dations contained therein were used to create talking points for DS working group sessions with the Bureau of Consular Affairs and also during meetings with officials from the National Security Council to discuss future security initiatives. Speaking about the significance of dissent, Mr. Camper said, “History has shown dissent is central to any democracy, and the sus- tainability of a healthy and productive organizational culture.” Elzar Camper joined the Foreign Service in 2008. He has served in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security’s Washington Field Office and overseas in Kabul and Kara- chi, and was most recently the assistant regional secu- rity officer for investigations (ARSO-I) in Cairo. n Diplomatic Security Special Agent Elzar Camper receives the F. Allen ‘Tex’ Harris award from Ambassador William Harrop. AFSA/TOYASARNOJORDAN Profiles of award recipients compiled by Gemma Dvorak. Mr. Camper’s dissent provided department leadership with specific recommendations.