The Foreign Service Journal, September 2022

10 SEPTEMBER 2022 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL LETTERS Thanks for the Focus on DEIA I am a member of the Mission Japan DEIA Council, serving on its communications subcommittee. Thank you for the wonderful June 2022 edition of the FSJ with its many articles and resources on promoting diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA). Ambassador Gina Abercrombie- Winstanley recently visited Japan and, in several of her meetings, mentioned The Foreign Service Journal . We plan to feature DEIA-related content from the Journal in our Mission Japan DEIA Council newsletter. Beau Miller FSO U.S. Consulate General Sapporo FSOT and the Ideological Muddle Although the June 2022 Foreign Service Journal (Focus: A Progress Report on Diversity) tried to present a fair and honest picture of the State Department’s newly announced diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) policies, the policy prescriptions themselves are so nonsensical and contrary to thoughtful discussion that we learned nothing beyond the ideological twaddle DEIA directors regularly mouth. A key element of this ideological muddle is the effort to justify the decision to reduce the central role of the Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT) for selection of new FSOs, as described in the lengthy interview AFSA President Ambassador Eric Rubin conducted with State’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Ambassador Gina Abercrombie- Winstanley. Contrary to the assertions made in that interview, the FSOT by its very objec- tive nature opens the Foreign Service to talented candidates from a great diversity of political opinions, socioeconomic backgrounds and cultural heritages. Its objective standards do not discriminate by sex, race, creed, color or national origins. The entire point of having all applicants pass an objective test for career consideration is to afford equal opportunity to all applicants. Sadly, however, “equality of opportu- nity” no longer appears to be the objec- tive of State Department leadership, which is trying to substitute the new and invidious concept of “equity.” This, in fact, is an effort to move away from open opportunity toward specific racial, gender and, perhaps, ideological and political goals inappropriate to and destructive of an ethos of public service representing our extraordinarily diverse society. Ed Stafford FSO, retired Philadelphia FSOT and the “Good Diplomat” AFSA President Eric Rubin’s interview with Chief Diversity and Inclu- sion Officer Gina Aber- crombie-Winstanley in the June 2022 FSJ (“The Office of Diversity and Inclusion Turns One”) demonstrated Ambassa - dor Abercrombie-Winstanley’s enthusiasm and dedication in pursuit of her mandate. In making her case, however, regard- ing the Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT), she stated: “The reality is that the written test has zero correlation to being a successful diplomat. Zero. Pass- ing doesn’t prove that you’re going to be a good diplomat; it doesn’t prove that you’re going to be a terrible diplomat. It tests a certain body of knowledge at that time.” Disregarding the fact that no one has ever claimed that the FSOT “proves” whether one would be a good diplomat, Amb. Abercrombie-Winstanley offers no evidence to substantiate her categorical statement of “zero” correlation between the test and success as a Foreign Service officer. I would suggest that over the nearly 100 years that passing the test has been required for further consideration as an FSO, by and large it has been a good indicator of likely success. The General Knowledge (“Job Knowledge”) section of the FSOT covers a wide range of topics that demonstrate an applicant is conversant with national and international events, history, politics, math, etc. Doing well on this section indicates an appli- cant has had the interest and inquisitiveness to pursue the topics under consider- ation. This, it seems to me, is one of the attributes of a successful FSO—an inquisitive mind. The English Expres- sion and Usage section demonstrates whether an applicant pos- sesses one of the crucial elements required of a successful diplomat, i.e., the abil- ity to express oneself coherently and succinctly. The ability to write well has always been one of the critical elements required of an FSO. One can analyze information and data, reach conclusions and recom- mend courses of action, but if one cannot write clearly and persuasively