The Foreign Service Journal, December 2023

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | DECEMBER 2023 15 along with the department’s first-ever Learning Policy; and the 2022 decision to pay department interns. Also among successes are the launch of ORION, a unified technology platform that facilitates information sharing to improve crisis response by the Operations Center; and the development of the “Tech for Life” program that will allow employees to take devices with them when they transfer to new posts and assignments. Verma also promised changes to training, workforce retention, and locally employed staff compensation “in the coming months.” Verma’s email offered thanks “not only to the teams who have been working tirelessly to tackle critical missions, support a resilient and inclusive workforce, and promote a culture of thoughtful risk management, but also to those of you who have incorporated the themes of this agenda—agility, equity, and innovation—into your everyday work.” Former Ambassador Sentenced for Illicit Lobbying On Sept. 15, career Senior Foreign Service Officer Richard G. Olson Jr., a former U.S. ambassador to Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates, was sentenced to three years’ probation and fined $93,350 for violating federal lobbying and ethics laws. Olson, who served in the department for 34 years, admitted that in 2015, while he was ambassador to Pakistan, he failed to disclose that he received an $18,000 first-class ticket to fly to London for a job interview. He also confessed to lobbying U.S. officials on behalf of the government of Qatar in 2017, violating a federal “cooling-off” period that prohibits such activity.