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Sharon Wayne

I have had the distinct honor of representing my fellow Foreign Service

colleagues as AFSA’s U.S. Agency for International Development vice

president for the past three years. Each year has brought with it new

challenges and opportunities as we have endeavored to promote the

interests of our development professionals who dedicate their lives

to advancing U.S. national security and prosperity by working to end

extreme poverty and advance resilience abroad. By most measures,

2015 was a turbulent year, but we begin 2016 with much reason for


The departures of Administrator Raj Shah and Chief Human Capital

Officer and Director of Human Capital and Talent Management

Elizabeth Kolmstetter caused considerable upheaval within the

agency. AFSA was pleased when President Barack Obama nominated

Gayle Smith to become the new Administrator and when Acting

Administrator Alfonso Lenhardt called for a comprehensive review

of HCTM to improve how USAID supports its staff around the world.

Both developments have created a space for addressing critical

workforce planning challenges affecting the career paths of USAID

Foreign Service officers and, thus, the effectiveness of the agency

itself. For example, USAID has begun to respond to AFSA’s call for

transparency in workforce issues, by posting promotion statistics

and guidelines on FSO career paths to the HCTM webpage and

vowing to continue to improve and expand these resources.

AFSA continues to call for more transparent and better

workforce data to guide appropriate hiring and development

of FSOs throughout their career.

We are currently engaged in an alternative

dispute resolution with USAID to address

staffing challenges

in a way that delivers on

the long-term goal of fostering a strong and

resilient Foreign Service and upholds the law

as enacted by the Foreign Service Act of 1980.

Meanwhile, AFSA has increased its focus on

outreach, telling the world of the agency’s suc-

cesses and elevating the field of development

as a key component of U.S. foreign policy,

often in collaboration with allies such as the

USAID Alumni Association. I have focused on

fostering the resolve of Congress to uphold

a strong, competitively hired, continuously

trained, career Foreign Service managed under

a transparent personnel system with compati-

bility across the foreign affairs agencies.

Thanks to the commitment of our members,

an experienced USAID team was elected to

the 2015-2017 AFSA Governing Board and a

standing committee comprised of AFSA USAID

members is now in place. I plan to expand

communications to our members in 2016, to

report on the work we are doing on your be-

half. AFSA looks forward to making more prog-

ress on strengthening the Foreign Service in

collaboration with USAID Administrator Smith

and Deputy Administrator Lenhardt in 2016.