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As AFSA wraps up another whirlwind year of work in support of our

Commercial Service Foreign Service officers, I am proud to report that

we made solid progress on a number of fronts.

First, AFSA advocated tirelessly on Capitol Hill for the resources

necessary to help our more than 260 trade professionals succeed at

promoting U.S. goods and services in the more than 75 countries where

we have offices around the world. AFSA’s constructive conversations

with the new legislative leadership with oversight for FCS paid off

with a “steady-as-she-goes” budget in 2016—not bad in light of the

considerable downward pressure on and increased costs affecting our


AFSA continues to bring together all parties to ensure that the bargain

made during the International Trade Administration’s consolidation in

2013 is upheld. Thanks to our efforts, key positions such as the

deputy assistant secretary for Europe, the Middle East and Africa

and the deputy director general of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial

Service are firmly situated in the career-FSO orbit.

We also celebrated our colleagues’ accomplishments. In January,

AFSA hosted a widely attended

send-off celebration

for then-

ambassador designate to Brunei and longtime FCS FSO Craig Allen.

Ambassador Allen is only the fourth ambassador to come out of FCS

in its 35-year history.

In 2015, AFSA saw through the launch of several new program ben-

efits. These include the new and improved Reemployed Annuitant

Program and the

first-ever FCS Temporary Duty Lodging Program.

We hope to see many more officers take

advantage of the latter, a new turnkey

operation that could benefit those returning

to Washington, D.C., during the 2016 reassign-

ment season, as well as those new members

of the Commercial Service who must attend

the New Commercial Officer Training class

and those simply back for extended training.

AFSA continues to evolve, adapt and

improve, particularly when it comes to

becoming better organized and effective in

spreading the word regarding the Foreign

Commercial Service’s contribution to

American economic prosperity.

This effort is fueled by a new, enthusiastic

Governing Board, to which we added a new

FCS representative, Youqing Ma.

Proving that our officers see the value-added

in what AFSA offers its members, the Commer-

cial Service now has three officers serving on

three AFSA standing committees—Awards,

Scholarships and Professionalism and Ethics.

I would like to thank all three for taking time

out of their busy schedules to help me protect

and promote your and our interests.


Steve Morrison