If Trouble is Your Name, Baghdad is Waiting…

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(for Management Officers only)

Henry J. Kaiser (1882-1967) said that trouble is only opportunity in work clothes. If that is true, there certainly is trouble waiting in Baghdad for an exceptionally creative and talented management officer. The 2010 assignment cycle is filled up I suspect, but 2011 and 2012 should still be open slots at this point. The OIG says:

“The new Iraq policy will require a realignment of the Embassy’s activities and resources as the military draws down. For example, the Embassy will need to meet in new ways its requirements for security, fuel, food, and emergency medical attention. This will pose special challenges to the management section over the next 2 1/2 years. Between now and the end of 2011, the Embassy will need to accelerate its move to management procedures and budget discipline characteristic of other embassies around the world. The departure of the military will also require the Embassy to develop an emergency evacuation plan, as was recommended in a special OIG inspection in 2007.”

I can’t help but notice that requirement to develop an embassy evacuation plan. Anywhere else in the world, an embassy would have been evacuated already. But not Baghdad, why?

Because it’s Baghdad, silly!

I could just imagine the following script in a theatrical production for an embassy in a galaxy far, far away:

Inspector: You need to develop an embassy evacuation plan here.

No we don’t.

Yes, you do.

No, we don’t.

Listen – I’m just doing my job, and I’m telling you — you need an evac plan like any other embassy in the galaxy.

And I’m doing more than one job and I’m telling you (pause) …. listen, we’ve done shock and awe; who needs an evacuation plan?

You do. You’re an embassy … you need one.

What can’t you understand, buddy? We’re not like any other embassy in the known or unknown universe!

[Two years later in a galaxy far, far away]

Inspector: You still need an evacuation plan.

Yes, we do. We’re working on it.

Insider Quote: The Buck Stops at the Front Office

Cartoon by Brian Aggeler, State Magazine

“The Ambassador and the deputy chief of mission (DCM) needed to do a better job of resolving morale issues, addressing serious interpersonal conflicts, and improving the performance of key embassy sections.”

Inspection of Embassy Banjul, The Gambia (ISP-I-09-15A)
Excerpted from Office of Inspector General Semiannual Report to the Congress, October 1, 2008 to March 31, 2009 | PDF