The Foreign Service Journal, October 2013

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | OCTOBER 2013 17 The challenge today’s Foreign Service faces is how to determine the reasonable amount of risk worth taking to attain policy objectives. BY JAMES STEPHENSON B ack in 1997, I attended mandatory counterterror- ism training at the For- eign Service Institute in preparation for my next overseas assign- ment. There were perhaps 30 of us in the cavernous lecture hall when the instructor began by having each student state his or her posting. When my turn came and I said, “Beirut,” every head in the class swiveled to stare at me, some with looks of horror. Yet, far from having qualms about security threats, I looked forward to the challenges of reopening USAID’s mission after a six-year hiatus. FOCUS RISK MANAGEMENT FOR THE EXPEDITIONARY DIPLOMAT James “Spike” Stephenson, a retired USAID Senior Foreign Service officer, has worked for 34 years in the field of development in conflict and post-conflict environments. He spent 13 months as USAID mis- sion director in Iraq (2004-2005) and, until his retirement from the Foreign Service in 2005, was a senior adviser to the State Depart- ment’s Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization. He also served as a USAID mission director in Serbia & Montenegro, and in Lebanon, in addition to assignments in Egypt, Barbados, Gre- nada, El Salvador, the Philippines and Washington, D.C. Now the senior adviser for stabilization and development at Creative Associates International, Stephenson is a frequent lecturer and guest speaker on the changing nature of conflict and post-conflict engagement and civilian/military cooperation. PAYING THE PRICE OF EXPEDITIONARY DIPLOMACY The author is interviewed by Army Times at Tikrit Bridge in northern Iraq in 2004. (All photos courtesy of James Stephenson.)