Tag Archives: EUR

The State of Foreign Service Family Member Employment 2014 – Which Bureau Tops for Jobs?

– Domani Spero

 

Last year, we posted about the  family member employment in the Foreign Service (see The State of Foreign Service Family Member Employment 2013 — Where Are the Jobs?).  We’ve extracted the following from State/FLO’s April 2014 (pdf) numbers and put them next to last year’s numbers. The female/male numbers for overseas family members remain at 78%/22%.  Family members working inside the mission increased from 24% in 2013 to 25% in 2014.  Those working outside the mission increased from 12% to 13%.  Family members who are not working went from 64% in 2013 to 62% in 2014. A pretty slim change with over 7200 family members still not working either by choice or due to severely limited employment opportunities overseas. We should note that  the FLO data is dated November 2013,which is after the summer transfer season and April 2014, which is before the summer rotation.

Family Member Population Overseas

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fam pop 2013

Employment Status – Overseas Family Members

2014

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2013

FAM 2013

 

Family Member Employment Overseas – Inside the Mission

By Regional Bureau

2014

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2013

fam reg 2013

SCA –  where 63% of family members at post are working

The FLO employment data does not include details of full-time or part-time work or job shares, or the types of jobs inside or outside the mission. But if you want to work, the chance of getting a job is higher in the Bureau of South Central Asian Affairs (SCA) where 50% of family members are employed with the embassy and 13% are employed outside the U.S. mission. At 63%, SCA has the most number of family members working at post, however, the bureau also has the smallest number of family members located at posts. In the AF bureau, 50% of over 1500 family members at post were able to find jobs inside the mission (35%) and outside the mission (15%).

SCA_Bureau_400_1

 

WHA/EUR – where most number of positions located

Posts in the Western Hemisphere and Europe have the most number of approved positions for overseas family members.  These positions more than double the number of positions approved in each of the SCA and NEA bureaus. However, you will also note that only about 1/5 of family members in those respective bureaus (EUR-21%, WHA-22%) are able to  working inside the mission in April 2014. Last year, EUR had 19% while WHA had 23% working inside the mission.  This is not surprising since EUR and WHA have the most number of family members at post. The larger the family member population, the less jobs available to go around.

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Employment Outside the Mission

2014

Where are the jobs?

The FLO’s break down of outside the mission jobs are perhaps too broad to be useful. For instance, 30% of outside the mission jobs are in the field of education but we cannot tell if these are local teaching jobs, online teaching, or something else. There are 199 family members engaged in telework, but we can’t tell in what fields from looking at this graphic.The same goes for working in the local economy, home business and freelancing.  If this is meant to be more than a snapshot of family member employment overseas, to actually help folks plan career-wise when moving overseas, we’d suggest that this annual report be beef up with additional details.

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Filed under Americans Abroad, Foreign Service, FSOs, Govt Reports/Documents, Realities of the FS, Regional Bureaus, Spouses/Partners, Staffing the FS, State Department, U.S. Missions

Officially In: Victoria Nuland — From State Spokesperson to EUR Bureau

—By Domani Spero
On May 23, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Ambassador Victoria Nuland as the next Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs (EUR). The WH released the following brief bio:

Ambassador Victoria Nuland, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Career Minister, has served as the State Department Spokesperson since 2011.  Previously, from 2010 to 2011, she was Special Envoy for Conventional Armed Forces in Europe.  Ambassador Nuland served on the faculty of the National War College from 2008 to 2010, after serving as the U.S. Permanent Representative to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) from 2005 to 2008.  From 2003 to 2005, she was Principal Deputy National Security Advisor to the Vice President, and from 2000 to 2003, she served as U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative to NATO.  From 1997 to 1999, Ambassador Nuland was Deputy to the Ambassador-at-Large for the former Soviet States at the Department of State.  Ambassador Nuland served overseas at the U.S. Embassies in Moscow from 1991 to 1993, Mongolia in 1988, and at the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China from 1985 to 1986.

She received a B.A. from Brown University.

Screen Shot 2013-06-27

Look at that career trajectory!

Next to Susan Rice, Ambassador Nuland is probably the most recognizable name associated with Benghazi. The Benghazi “talking points” that is, which proved to be a most controversial subject with more lives than a cat.   She is also one of the 13 former and current officials of the State Department that the House Oversight Committee would like to chat with.

If confirmed, Ambassador Nuland who is a career diplomat would succeed political appointee Philip Gordon, who was appointed to the National Security Staff as Special Assistant to the President and White House Coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa, and the Gulf Region in March 2013.

Ambassador Nuland’s nomination is scheduled to be taken up by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on July 11, 2013 at 2:15 pm.  It should be an interesting hearing or … a boring one, depends on who shows up for the hearing.

(._.)

Related item:

May 23, 2013 | President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

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Filed under Ambassadors, Assistant Secretary, FSOs, Nominations, Obama, Officially In

London Civil Service Excursion Tour Opens — Oh Wait, It’s Gone, Then It’s Back, Ah Forgetaboutit?

—By Domani Spero

As you may or may not know, Civil Service employees sometimes get opportunities to apply for hard-to-fill posts overseas.  These are called “excursion tours.”  These are positions overseas that do not get many Foreign Service bidders and are then opened to CS employees. Careers.state.gov calls these tours “invaluable as a way to experience the ups and downs of Foreign Service life.”

Generally, these are positions in hardship and danger posts or hard-to-fill posts.

We understand that an excursion tour “mysteriously opened” early this year for an assignment that starts this summer in London.  The position is not language designated. And the estimated arrival time in London is early July 2013.

There’s a reason why this is a mystery. London is not/not a danger post.  Despite Buzzfeed’s 31 Most Enraging Things About Living In London, the city is not/not a hardship post.  It is a mighty expensive place though. In fact, the State Department grants a 70% cost of living allowance (COLA) for employees living there.

Photo via diplomacy.state.gov

Photo via diplomacy.state.gov

Which begs the question, how come the EUR bureau and the US Embassy in London is unable to fill this position with an FSO?

Lack of FSO bidders.  For London. Go ahead and digest that thought.

Now, we heard that a zillion Civil Service officers jumped at the opportunity to go to London.  Understandable. And who can blame them?  Some folks “poured their hearts and soul” into applying for this job.

And just as mysteriously as it appeared, the job was pulled down. The job was later re-reposted as a different job announcement requiring submission of new applications. Apparently, some of those who were interviewed and made the cut following the first announcement did not make the cut in the second announcement.

La-la-dee-da ….sounds fiiiishhhhy!!!

We’ve been able to dig up the original and reposted job announcements and compare them (via http://www.textdiff.com).  Note:  The  strikethru below indicates deleted text that was in the original announcement no longer present in the reposted announcement  (original announcement dated January 16, 2013 with closing date of January 30, 2013).  The highlighted underlined text below indicates additional text that is new in the reposted announcement (reposted announcement dated February 26, 2013 with closing date of March 4, 2013).  The purported reason for the reposting was that “a portion of the announcement” was “dropped off” when this position was originally posted online.

OverseasREPOSTING Overseas Civil Service Development Program FOREIGN AFFAIRS OFFICER LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM (GS-0130 – 14)
REPOSTING
Overseas Civil Service Development Program
FOREIGN AFFAIRS OFFICER
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
(GS-0130
 – 14)

The Director General is pleasedDue to announce that applications are nowa portion of the announcement beingaccepted fordropped off when this position was originally posted to USAJOBS, the following two-year position is being re-advertised. NOTE: You will need to reapply if you had applied when the position was initially announced. This will be a two-year assignment under the Overseas Development Program (ODP):

Position: Foreign Affairs Officer GS-0130-14

Location: Washington DC (overseas duty location: London, United Kingdom)

USA Jobs Vacancy Announcement # HRSC/ODP-2013-0004HRSC/ODP-2013-0007
Announcement closes on January 30,March 4, 2013

Program Summary: This position is a part of the Overseas Development Program (ODP) located in the Bureau of Human Resources, Office of Career Development and Assignments, Mid-Level Division, Office of Overseas Civil Service Assignments.

The purpose of the ODP is to expand Civil Service Deployment opportunities. Selectees will participate in an informational program and any job related training. Once program requirements are met, the selectees will be placed on a limited Foreign Service non-career appointment (LNA) for a two-year overseas assignment. Upon completion of the overseas assignment at London, the selectee will be reassigned or detailed to a position in the Department unless they have chosen to apply for and been selected for a second overseas ODP assignment.

Job Summary:

Serves as a Political Officer responsible for a broad set of political-military issues, including the United States (US) – United Kingdom (UK) coordination on bilateral and multilateral defense cooperation issues. Serves as a part of a 5-member political/military team, which reports on bilateral US-UK political-military cooperation and matters related to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the European Union’s (EU) European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP), the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE), and other relevant multilateral fora. Serves as the Political Section’s lead action officer for coordinating US-UK and interagency Embassy approaches to top 21st century security challenges, including cyber security, civilian-military cooperation and stabilization activities, and non-proliferation, arms control, and disarmament efforts. Leads Section support for the Office of the Coordinator for Cyber Issues (S/CCI), the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO), and the family bureaus that support the Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security. This position is not language designated. Estimated time of arrival at post is early July 2013.

Eligibility: In order to be eligible for consideration for the ODP, an applicant must:

- Be a current Civil Service career employee of the Department of State with at least 3 years of service in a permanent Department position;

- Or a career Civil Service Department of State Employee serving on a FS LNA with a tenure code of 7 with no more than three months remaining on their present LNA.

- Have completed all probationary periods;

- Not be serving in another long-term development program;

- Be able to obtain the appropriate medical and security clearance for the post of assignment prior to receiving travel authorization;

- Sign a Mobility Agreement and a Continued Service Agreement; and

- Cannot serve beyond the mandatory 65 year old Foreign Service retirement age.

How to apply for consideration: All interested applicants should apply for consideration through USAJOBS at the vacancy announcement noted above. You can link to USAJOBS from the CS Abroad communities site under the Overseas Opportunities tab: http://cas.state.gov/csoverseas/

Please ensure all proper documentation is submitted in accordance with the vacancy announcement (e.g., performance appraisal, SF-50 indicating tenure, grade, step, salary, etc,).

Note: Education may only be substituted in accordance with the Office of Personnel Management (OM) Qualification Standards Handbook. Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Please be advised that applicants that do not provide the proper documentation in accordance with the vacancy announcement will be determined to be disqualified.

NOTE: If your present grade is higher than the GS-14 level and you apply and are selected for this position, you will have to sign a Notice of Change to Lower Grade memo as the position is classified at the GS-14.

How is it possible that an FSO job in London does not have any bidders that post had to turn it into an excursion tour?

As an aside, do you know that US Embassy Port-Au-Spain in Haiti had 108 bidders for one RSO position? Seriously.

An FSO is a generalist and the RSO is a specialist but both are in the FS system.   If this specific London position were located in NEA , SCA or AF, we could understand it, but this one is tricky. After all, London is London. It is not/not a hard-to-fill post.

London in fact, according to the IG is considered a popular bid for officers completing duty in Iraq or Afghanistan, and it is not uncommon for the short list of qualified bidders for the highly sought London vacancies to contain only officers rotating out of these two countries.  On linked onward assignments, the OIG notes that the “gradual accretion of tied assignments in London’s staffing pattern has had the unintended impact of putting many positions in London out of reach for virtually all bidders, regardless of how qualified, except for returnees.”

So –

Just between us, was this GS-14 job (FS-02 equivalent) in London created for somebody in particular?  If it was, then clearly it had to be for somebody who is in the Civil Service or a CS on a Limited Non-Career Appointment (LNA). Is this for somebody already in London who does not want to leave?  And pray tell, who is the main official who engineered the creation of this job?

The  stated reason for the reposting of this job (something “dropped off”) is crap.  If the job requires a CS with at least 3 years experience, why mention the probationary period?  It looks like there’s one “dropped” item when comparing the two job announcement.  It’s the line that says “You can link to USAJOBS from the CS Abroad communities site under the Overseas Opportunities tab: http://cas.state.gov/csoverseas/.”  Curious thing, that “dropped off” item is in the middle of the announcement and did not occur elsewhere.  The announcement also says that the selectee who can only be a CS employee “cannot serve beyond the mandatory 65 year old Foreign Service.” As if your brain turns off when the birthday candle burns 65.  Contrary to the job reposting, CS applicants for hard-to-fill posts must be career employees with a tenure code of 21 (not 7 as in this London announcement) according to state.gov.  We take it, this specific London assignment is not considered a hard-to-fill post?  For examples of hard-to-fill positions announced in 2012, click here.

This is indeed one of those bureaucratic mysteries … though not an isolated mystery.

Pardon me?

Noooooo, it’s not so the job description can be rewritten to better fit a specific person, silly.  Absolutely not.  What a preposterous suggestion!

But hey, who pulled this off and how did the re-write come to be?  No, re-advertised because there were “too many applicants” is not a legitimate reason.

Call your friends in London about the job up for bid, and see what they tell you (pick one):

  1. don’t bother applying for the job
  2. don’t waste your time on this one
  3. forgetaboutit, selection already done
  4. all of the above

Now, it’s not that we don’t want CS employees to go on excursion tours to nicer places. We just don’t like jobs advertised for all but tailored for one.

P.S. Please send us the job creator’s email and phone number via Contactify; we’d love a job in France this summer.

 

Updated on June 17 @6:47 am:  So we’re told that  this is *not* a hard-to-fill position and is apparently part of a new program to promote civil service career development by providing opportunities for excursion tours.  This new program is under a new unit at State called the Overseas Civil Service Assignments (OCSA) located at HR/CDA/ML.  Since early this year, this has been headed by a new chief, Joann G. Alba at (202) 663-0461. “The purpose of this unit is to expand opportunities for Civil Service employees to serve overseas.  Tenured State Department Civil Service employees will be able to apply through USA Jobs for positions at selected posts overseas.   Selectees will be placed on Foreign Service Limited Non-career Appointments for the duration of their two year overseas tours.”  (Thanks J!)

London friends reportedly did say, “don’t bother.”

(?_?)

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Filed under Americans Abroad, Career Employees, Foreign Service, Functional Bureaus, Huh? News, Realities of the FS, Regional Bureaus, State Department, U.S. Missions

Officially In: Danny Russel – from WH/NSS to the EAP Bureau

On May 15, 2013, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Danny Russel as the next Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (State/EAP). The WH released the following brief bio:

Danny Russel, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, is Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Asian Affairs on the White House National Security Staff (NSS).  From 2009 to 2011, he was the NSS Director for Japan, South Korea, and North Korea.  Before joining the NSS, Mr. Russel was Director of the Office of Japanese Affairs at the Department of State.  From 2005 to 2008, he was U.S. Consul General in Osaka-Kobe, Japan.  Previously, he served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in The Hague from 2002 to 2005, and as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Nicosia, Cyprus from 1999 to 2002.  From 1996 to 1999, Mr. Russel was Chief of Staff to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.  Earlier assignments included posts at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, Korea and with the U.S. Mission to the United Nations.  Before joining the Foreign Service in 1985, Mr. Russel was a manager for an international firm based in New York City.

His bio posted on the Institute of Korean-American Studies indicates that Mr. Russel was educated at Sarah Lawrence College and University College, University of London, UK. He is married to Keiko Abo Russel and has three children: Emily, Byron and Kevin.

He joined the Foreign Service in 1985, was posted to Tokyo and according to his bio, served as the assistant to Ambassador and former Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield until 1987.

He worked twice previously with Ambassador Thomas Pickering – first from 1989-92 at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York as Political Adviser to the Permanent Representative, Ambassador Pickering, and was accredited to the Security Council.  And again from 1997-99 when he was Chief of Staff to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Ambassador Pickering. In 1996 he was awarded the State Department’s Una Chapman Cox Fellowship sabbatical and wrote a book, America’s Place in the World, published by Georgetown University.

Click here to read this item from Dispatch Japan on a possible Caroline Kennedy appointment to Tokyo, seniority and other bureau details on this appointment.

If confirmed, Mr. Russel would succeed Kurt M. Campbell who was appointed EAP Assistant Secretary in 2009 and resigned in February 2013.

–DS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Assistant Secretary, Foreign Service, FSOs, Nominations, Officially In, Regional Bureaus

Which region gets the most US foreign aid in the FY2013 request? Go ahead take a guess …

The following figure extracted from the CRS report on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs: FY2013 Budget and Appropriations:

Extracted from CRS report

Via the CRS:

Under the FY2013 budget request, aid to Africa would decline by 10% from the current level to $6.4 billion; U.S. aid to the Near East would increase by 12% to $9.0 billion, largely due to support for the Arab Spring; and aid to South Central Asia would increase by 6% to $5.3 billion. Aid to Africa primarily supports HIV/AIDS and other health-related programs while 88% of the aid to South Central Asia is requested, largely for war-related costs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Near East region continues to be dominated by assistance to Israel ($3.1 billion), Iraq ($2.0 billion), Egypt ($1.6 billion), and Jordan ($0.7 billion). The Western Hemisphere’s projected relative decline in FY2013 is attributable to a reduction in funding of ESF and INCLE for Colombia. Europe and Eurasia’s 14% decline is largely due to progress made by many countries in the region and other more pressing global priorities. Aid to East Asia and Pacific remains relatively low and consistent with past years’ levels.

Here are the countries in the Near Eastern Affairs bureau:

Map of Countries in the Near Eastern Affairs Regional Bureau

Domani Spero

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Filed under Budget, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Assistance, FS Funding, Govt Reports/Documents, Regional Bureaus, State Department