Foreign Service Officers

We were just discussing, in the comments to the "off the street" post below, the usefulness of the State Department Foreign Service officers (FSOs) and contractors who actually deployed to Iraq. Here is an article I wrote about State Department plans to reform itself to better support such embedded Provincial Reconstruction Teams (ePRTs) based on a conversation we had at Foggy Bottom one afternoon when Jimbo and I dropped in for a visit. (Really, that happened. Under Secretary Clinton, even.)

In addition to that part praising the ePRT model, I also wrote another post sharply critical of the culture at State. The two things should be read together, because they paint what I believe is a fair picture of what is good and what is flawed with the State Department.

As the second, more critical post anticipated, Secretary Clinton's tenure did not result in fixes to the problems identified. Nor has John F. Kerry managed to fix the problems. The Obama administration's political appointees at State have been tremendous embarrassments.

Nevertheless, it's important to remember that core of career FSOs who aren't political appointees and who do take their duty seriously. Think about them when you read this story about the State Department revolt against Obama's foreign policy.
51 dissident State Department Foreign Service Officers (FSOs), the Dissent 51, signed a Dissent Channel cable savaging the Obama Administration’s Syria policy and implicitly attacking the Obama Administration’s inept diplomatic and military strategy for eliminating the anti-Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Usually one FSO (or at most a handful) sign a dissent cable. 51 is an unprecedented number of government line officers signing a dissident document which—Obama Administration denials to the contrary—could put their careers at risk.
Then go read their memo.

1 comment:

Ymar Sakar said...

The benefit of having an alliance backing them is that they can easily hire as many corrupt executioners and political commissars as they see fit. Sure, household troops trade absolute loyalty for a severe decrease in competence and genius level abilities, but for Hugo Chavez and Cuba's line of dictators, that's probably a feature.

Keeps the ambitious generals and bureaucrats in line. Being the smartest or X/Y/Z in the room is good, for some cases/