12 Former AFSA Presidents Express “Deep Concern” Over Proposed FS Lateral Entry Program

Posted: 2:02 am ET
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Twelve former AFSA presidents whose tenures span nearly half a century wrote a letter to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee expressing “deep concern and opposition to Section 207 of the 2017 State Authorization Bill.” See New @StateDept Authorization Bill Includes 3-Year Pilot Program For Lateral Entry Into the Foreign Service.

The past presidents write:  “The Foreign Service Act of 1980 requires entry into the Foreign Service to be “rigorous and impartial.” Lateral entry programs are neither rigorous nor impartial. There have been several lateral entry programs during our collective service. All have been vehicles for abuse through the hiring of personal and political cronies of those administering the lateral entry.”

They urge Senator McCain as an “Officer of the United States Navy, an organization founded on career professionalism and special service” to “decline to attach the 2017 State Authorization in its present form” to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (NDAA). As far as we could tell, the NDAA passed by the Senate on June 14 does not include the lateral entry provision.

The letter is signed by William C. Harrop, Thomas D. Boyatt, Lars Hydle, Dennis K. Hays, F.A. Tex Harris, Alphonse F. La Porta, Marshall P. Adair, John Naland, John Limbert, Susan R. Johnson, Theodore L. Eliot, and Lannon Walker.

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7 responses

  1. Blah blah blah. These same AFSA representatives are the ones who have been at the helm as the FS steadily lost respect in the USG. While the average FS member was sinking along with the “profession”, at least they got LEAP for DS agents and showed their pride in GLIFAA. Typical FS types completely incapable of introspection and considering tbat they might actually be part of the problem.

  2. With all due respect, I met just such a gentleman on the bus going to his Foreign Service orientation class and who is thrilled he gets to start a brand new career after retirement that allows him to travel all over the world. His skills and experience in the military will be an asset to the Foreign Service.

  3. I’m surprised — and a bit disappointed — that you (D.S.) did not mention the abrogation by the SFRC and HFAC of their responsibilities here. The fact that one (or twelve as the case is here) must protest to the Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee about language in the State Department Authorization Bill is reprehensible. If a State Auth is passed this year — the first time in 14? years — because it was attached to the NDAA may reflect the poor stature of State in Congress, but the more important takeaway is that the foreign ops authorizers are not doing their job and suggests how the committees are viewed by peers. We need to stop accepting the present situation as the norm. It does not help State, the Foreign Service, or our national security. /s/ Matt

  4. Completely disagree. You can apply the same rigor and impartiality in the vetting and testing process. Lateral entry allows candidates already possessing unique qualifications, such as prior federal or military service, to be hired at pay grades appropriate with their qualifications. That shouldn’t require alleviating other requirements or standards.

    I am a prime example of someone who would benefit. I’m a retired army officer whose career was exclusively in our Defense Attaché Offices. I would consider joining the foreign service and continuing to work alongside the same great colleagues but I cannot come on board as a junior FS-4. It would neither be an appropriate use of my experience, nor would it be an appropriate compensation for it.

    • So, do you propose that the military also allow lateral transfers? Yes, you’re going to say it’s already allowed for attorneys and doctors. But how about we let the former CEO of a Fortune 500 become a Major General? Why not let former United or Delta pilots come in as O-5s or O-6s and take immediate command of a squadron?

      I’m also a former military guy that would’ve loved to come in at a higher pay grade than the kid straight out of his masters program and was working at Arby’s before the FS. But this is a profession that requires ground up training.

    • You “cannot come on board as a junior FS-4”? Why not? At least you’ll get your retirement pay on top of your FS pay. Pretty sweet gig. Retired FS aren’t so lucky to go back to work for Uncle Sam and also draw their pension. Only our military heroes are worthy of that honor.