Burn Bag: The new norm is four years of consular work until …

Via Burn Bag:

“My second tour bid list now confirms the old bait and switch is indeed true. I joined to do one job and will be confined to consular work for five years of my life. We are told it is all good for  professional development. In our large embassy consular section in Asia, only consular officers are invested in for CA trainings. No time is available for professional development and I hear third tour bidding won’t even promise us the chance to do what we joined the service to do. All we are told is to wait…five years…to do that job. We often question what it was that we joined the department to do in the first place. In the meantime old private sector friends have joined the Department in much higher and more interesting jobs than our own. Our promotions have slowed down and yet we are managed by mid-level officers who became managers overnight. AFSA, if they answer your email, claims they cannot address every issue at the Department. The new norm is four years of consular work, until the new norm is no longer four years of consular work.”

via Doctor Who Tumblr

via Doctor Who Tumblr

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Via careers.state.gov about Foreign Service assignments:

After you complete orientation and training in Washington, D.C., as a newly hired Foreign Service Officer, you will typically be assigned overseas, although at this time a few officers begin with a domestic assignment. Typically, the first two overseas tours (usually two years each) are designed to develop your talents in different working environments and ensure that you attain foreign language skills. You will hold a variety of positions within a probationary period (up to five years) in order to demonstrate your qualifications for tenure as a career Foreign Service Officer and to see if the Foreign Service is the right fit. As part of this process, you will perform two to three years on average of consular work, and should expect an assignment to at least one hardship post.

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US Embassy Bangui: Central Africans Turn Out For Constitutional Referendum

Posted: 12:32 am EDT
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On September 11, 2014, President Obama notified Congress of the deployment of troops to the Central African Republic in preparation of the resumption of operations at the U.S. Embassy in Bangui (see U.S. Troops Deploy to C.A.R. For Resumption of Operations at U.S. Embassy Bangui).  David Brown who was appointed CDA last year concluded his assignment this past October.

A Sept 30, 2015 Travel Warning for the Central Africa Republic warns against all travel there and notes that Embassy Bangui cannot provide consular services to U.S. citizens in CAR at this time:

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all travel to the Central African Republic (CAR) due to an unpredictable security situation subject to rapid deterioration, activities of armed groups, and violent crime. The border between Chad and CAR is currently closed. Other land border crossings may close at short notice. U.S. citizens who have decided to stay in CAR despite this warning should seriously consider departing. Embassy Bangui cannot provide consular services to U.S. citizens in CAR at this time. This replaces the Travel Warning of May 1, 2015 to reflect the risk of remaining in CAR and continued lack of security.

Indiscriminate violence and looting has occurred in CAR since the overthrow of the Government in March 2013. Sectarian violence is frequent and has resulted in thousands of deaths. Despite the creation of a transitional government in January 2014 and the presence of a United Nations stabilization force, the security situation remains highly fragile. Instability has increased as the political transition process unfolds around the upcoming constitutional referendum and elections which were initially scheduled for October 2015.

On October 30th, Jeffrey Hawkins presented his credentials to President Catherine Samba-Panza, as the Ambassador of the United States to the Central African Republic and assumed charge of the U.S. Embassy in Bangui. Here’s a quick summary of USG presence in the country:

The Central African Republic is located in a volatile and poor region and has a long history of development, governance, and human rights problems. The U.S. Embassy in C.A.R. was briefly closed as a result of 1996-97 military mutinies. It reopened in 1998 with limited staff, but U.S. Agency for International Development and Peace Corps missions previously operating there did not return. The Embassy again temporarily suspended operations in November 2002 in response to security concerns raised by the October 2002 launch of a 2003 military coup. The Embassy reopened in 2005. Restrictions on U.S. aid that were imposed after the 2003 military coup were lifted in 2005. Due to insecurity and the eventual overthrow of the C.A.R. Government, the U.S. Embassy in Bangui has been closed since December 2012 (note: post officially resumed limited operation on September 15, 2014).

On December 9, 2015, Embassy Bangui issued an emergency message as one of its embassy vehicles was fired upon near M’Poko International Airport.

According to the AFP, the constitutional referendum on December 13 is the Central Africans’ day to decide whether they backed a proposed constitution that would limit presidential tenure to two terms, fight corruption and crimp the power of armed militias, blamed for years of chaos and terror. It is also seen as a test run for presidential and parliamentary elections due to take place December 27 to end more than two years of conflict between Muslim and Christian militias.

 At PK5, the flashpoint Muslim district of the capital Bangui, Ambassador Jeffrey Hawkins, SRSG Parfait Onanga-Ayanga, and the mayor of the 5th arrondissement Atahirou Balla Dod visited the voting station, where they commended those who participated despite the difficulties.

At PK5, the flashpoint Muslim district of the capital Bangui, Ambassador Jeffrey Hawkins, SRSG Parfait Onanga-Ayanga, and the mayor of the 5th arrondissement Atahirou Balla Dod visited the voting station, where they commended those who participated despite the difficulties.

 

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Photo of the Day: Ambassador Doria Rosen Visits the Ulithi Atoll

Posted: 12:26 am EDT
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US Ambassador Doria Rosen views the damage at Outer Islands High School in Falalop, Ulithi on Thursday, November 12th 2015. The school serves 94 students, some of whom come from as far as Satawal to attend classes.#USEmbassyKolonia #USAID #IOMMicronesia#MindOverMaysak (Photograph: Katlyn Murray)

Via US Embassy Kolonia/FB

Via US Embassy Kolonia/FB

Ulithi is an atoll in the Caroline Islands of the western Pacific Ocean, about 191 km east of Yap. It consists of 40 islets totalling 4.5 km2 (1.7 sq mi), surrounding a lagoon about 36 km (22 mi) long and up to 24 km (15 mi) wide—at 548 km2 (212 sq mi) one of the largest in the world. It is administered by the state of Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia (more here ). Falalop is one of the four inhabited islands on Ulithi Atoll.  Among the recent warnings issued by the U.S. Embassy in Kolonia is a Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) in Hawaii forecasts that a tropical cyclone with wind speeds of 75 to 90 miles per hour causing heavy rain, high seas, and flooding across the entire region.

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Snapshot: State/OIG Reports Summarized in the Classified Annex to the Semiannual Report to the Congress, 4/1/2015–9/30/2015

Posted: 12:25 am EDT
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  • AUD-IT-15-42 |  Audit of the Information Security Program for Sensitive Compartmented Information Systems at the Department of State (9/2015) (PDF – 1 page)
  • AUD-SI-15-37 | Audit of the Department of State Implementation of the Vital Presence Validation Process (8/2015) (PDF– 1 page)
  • MA-15-02 | Management Alert: Evacuation of Embassy Tripoli (7/2015) (PDF – 1 page unclassified summary)
  • AUD-CGI-15-38 | Management Assistance Report: Residential Security Concerns at U.S. Embassy Ankara, Turkey  (7/2015) (PDF– 1 page)
  • AUD-CGI-15-31 | Audit of the Construction Contract Award and Security Evaluation of the New Embassy Compound London (7/2015) (PDF – 49 pages)
  • AUD-CGI-15-29 | Management Assistance Report: Residential Security Concerns at U.S. Embassy Manila, Philippines (5/2015) (PDF-1 page)
  • AUD-IT-15-27 | Management Assistance Report: Department of State Security Program for Wireless Networks (5/2015) (PDF-1 page)

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