The Foreign Service Journal, November 2019

14 NOVEMBER 2019 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL Canada andMexico. How did we respond? We increasingly began using our regular military, and we increasingly gave up on creative multilateral diplomacy. Our new training courses in multi- functional prevention were strangled in their crib. I will never forget being called into our dean’s office at FSI and told that most of our new preventive courses must be scrapped so we could double the number of “tradecraft” courses and focus more on security and counterterrorism. I hope some of you will read the 2001 FSJ article co-written by Fred Hill, Den- nis Murphy and myself, and ponder the proposals we offered. Maybe it is not too late to give prevention a chance. There is one idea in that article I wish we could try now: Why not add an emerg- ing crisis/conflict prevention cell within the Operations Center? A dedicated group would be mandated to review traf- fic 24/7 from all sources to identify signs of impending storms—be they political, economic or climatological. This cell would have designated contact points in all bureaus and partner agencies with whom to share poten- tial problems. The recipients would be required to report back on actions to be taken. An action loop would be created. With time and experience, officers and offices would be trained and rewarded for gaining prevention skills. Perhaps it is not too late to experiment with such an approach. Maybe retired FSOs and other officers could be recalled to help build these prevention teams in addition to working on declassifying old documents. n Robert Hopper is a retired FSO who served as director of political training at the Foreign Service Institute from 1997 through 2001. He is the co-author of “An Ounce of Prevention” (November 2001 FSJ ).