Snapshot: Adult Foreign Service Family Members Overseas, Fall 2020

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Via State/FLO

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Snapshot: Hardship Differential Category Weightings

The fundraising campaign is closer to its goal today than yesterday, but it’s not quite there yet. We are grateful to the more than 450 donors who have supported our annual fundraising to-date. We will not run an indefinite campaign, just a few weeks out of the year.  Help us meet our goal so we can get back to our regular blogging programming without plugging our fundraising. If you are able to help, please pitch in at GFM: https://gofund.me/32671a27. Thanks – DS

 

Via Office of Allowances:

11 Categories Include (but are not limited to) Questions About:
Climate (9%):Heat; Cold; Humidity; Rainfall; Mold/Mildew; Dust; Altitude; Latitude
Medical and Hospital (13%): Availability and quality of medical facilities; Incidents of communicable diseases
Environmental Conditions and Sanitation (12%): Pollution (including air quality); Water and food sanitation; Garbage and sewage disposal; Pest control
Education (4%):Adequacy of Schools; Availability of Facilities for Special Needs Education
Community Resources (6%): Food availability and safety; Recreation and entertainment facilities; Religious facilities; Veterinary care
Import Restrictions (2%):Restrictions on imports (e.g., POVs and pets); Excessive wait times for receipt of POV and HHE shipments
Housing and Infrastructure (8%): Post housing conditions; Public transportation; Traffic and road conditions
Crime (9%):Post reporting on crime
Political Violence, Terrorism and Harassment (17%): Animosity toward Americans; Travel restrictions; Post reporting on terrorism and political violence
Social Isolation (13%): Spousal Employment; Internet service; Ability to bring samesex partners/spouses to post; Bias based on gender, race, sexual orientation, or religion; Customs negatively impacting single employees; Language restrictions; Social isolation resulting from security conditions; Unaccompanied status
Physical Isolation (8%): Geographic isolation of post; Need for a periodic change of environment; Time required for emergency transport to the U.S.; Reliability/timeliness of mail

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Snapshot: State Department’s Remote Missions – YAU, VAU, @US2SOMALIA

The life of a blog has no certainty. In most cases, a blog has a lifespan better than that of a mayfly. A day. But most blogs do not make it longer than winter bees (six months). We have to-date survived through 26 winter bee seasons! So that’s amazing! Whatever is in the horizon, we are thankful to all of you who made these seasons possible. We are on the last few days of our eight-week annual fundraising. We are grateful to over 400 readers who pitched in since we launched a few weeks ago. If you care what we do here, and you are able to help, please see GFM: https://gofund.me/32671a27.  We could use your support.  ❤️❤️❤️ D!

Via State/OIG AUD-MERO-21-16/March 2021:

(U) In the event of a natural disaster, political instability, or other security threats, the Department of State (Department) may decide to evacuate an embassy and establish operations in a separate location known as a “remote mission,” often in another country, for an indefinite period of time. Remote missions include the Yemen Affairs Unit (YAU), which is operating remotely from the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; the Venezuela Affairs Unit (VAU), which is operating remotely from the U.S. Embassy in Bogota, Colombia; and Embassy Mogadishu, Somalia, which began operating remotely from the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, but now mostly operates from the Mogadishu International Airport in Somalia.
[…]
To ensure the safety of mission personnel during natural disasters, political instability, or other security threats, the Department may evacuate an embassy or consulate and establish operations in a separate location. Often the new location is in another country, where missionessential functions continue, and the embassy effectively operates as a “remote mission.” Missions that have operated remotely include the Yemen Affairs Unit, the Venezuela Affairs Unit, and Embassy Mogadishu.1

(U) Yemen Affairs Unit (Remote Mission Site: U.S. Embassy Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) – In February 2015, the Department suspended operations at the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a, Yemen, due to deteriorating security conditions resulting from the Houthis’ takeover of the government.2 One month later, the Department established the YAU remote mission at the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, under the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.3 On October 24, 2018, the YAU relocated from Jeddah to the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

(U) Venezuela Affairs Unit (Remote Mission Site: U.S. Embassy Bogota, Colombia) – In March 2019, the Department suspended operations at the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela, due to security concerns and the deteriorating political situation in the country. On August 5, 2019, the Department established the VAU remote mission atthe U.S. Embassy in Bogota, Colombia, under the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs.

(U) U.S. Embassy Mogadishu, Somalia (Remote Mission Site: U.S. Embassy Nairobi, Kenya) – On September 8, 2015, after years of turmoil following the collapse of Somalia’s central government in 1991, the Department formally established the U.S. Mission to Somalia, based at Embassy Nairobi, Kenya. In December 2018, the Department designated a facility at the Mogadishu International Airport as a U.S. diplomatic facility under the Bureau of African Affairs, though some support staff continue to be based at Embassy Nairobi.

(U) Personnel at embassies and consulates usually include a combination of direct hires— that is, U.S. citizens who are Civil Service or Foreign Service employees—and LE staff. LE staff are typically citizens of the host country and are employed under the authority of the Chief of Mission. Following an evacuation or suspension of operations, LE staff may remain in the host country and continue to work, depending on the mission’s needs.4 For example, since 2015, LE staff based in Yemen have worked to support the YAU now located at U.S Embassy Riyadh. Similarly, since 2019, LE staff based in Venezuela have worked to support the VAU located at U.S. Embassy Bogota. Moreover, in some instances, after an embassy’s closure, LE staff may perform their duties while working remotely or teleworking from their homes in the host country. For both the YAU and VAU, some of the LE staff have been either working remotely or teleworking from their homes due to the closure of the U.S. embassies in both Yemen and Venezuela.

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Snapshot: Visas Issued at Foreign Service Posts (FY 2016-2020)

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Via state.gov

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Post in Search of a Mission: “Now, I found, that the world is round and of course, it rains everyday ….”

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1) If there are fewer than two dozen staff members. 
2) If they live in austere conditions even without COVID, but particularly during COVID they are limited to their homes and the embassy. Nothing else. 
3) If there are no flights servicing pouch needs coming to post. This means the staff cannot procure needed items with regularity, including food and medicine. 
4) If there are no relationships with the host government. This means the embassy remains open simply to support itself. 
5) If staff is top heavy with multiple FS-01 positions and few FS-02 and below officers. 
6) If staff lives together due to health concerns. 
7)  If there are no option to telework even amidst COVID. Security requirements preclude remote access. 
8) If a staff member gets COVID, they will likely put the entire embassy at risk. Flight clearance to get an OPMED evacuation flight is difficult to obtain from host nation and would likely necessitate evacuating all who had been exposed (thus shuttering the embassy) because of the OPMED cost, and the delayed timeline of clearance to land and cost of repeated flights. 
9) If local staff continue to be paid even though most never come to work, and have been forced to stay home since COVID. 
10) If COVID vaccination efforts will be hamstrung by the aforementioned issues with host nation further putting staff at risk. 

 

Now, I found that the world is round
And of course it rains everyday

Living tomorrow, where in the world will I be tomorrow?
How far am I able to see?
Or am I needed here?

Now, I found that the world is round
And of course it rains everyday

If I remember all of the things I have done
I’d remember all of the times I’ve gone wrong
Why do they keep me here?

Courtesy: Bee Gees – World (From the 1968 Album, Horizontal)


 

 

Snapshot: Qualifying Injury Under 3 FAM 3660 – Compensation For Certain Injuries

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A section in the Foreign Affairs Manual was added on May 28, 2020 (see 3 FAM 3660 Compensation for Certain Injuries). It is based on Public Law 116-94, Division J, Title IX, section 901, where:
“Congress allows the Secretary of State to pay benefits to certain Department of State personnel under chief of mission authority who incurred a qualifying injury and are receiving benefits under section 8105 or 8106 of Title 5, United States Code.  It further authorizes the Secretary of State to pay for the costs of diagnosing and treating a qualifying injury of a covered employee, as defined in 3 FAM 3662, that are not otherwise covered by chapter 81 of Title 5, United States Code (the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA)) or other provision of Federal law; and to pay the costs of diagnosing and treating a qualifying injury of a covered individual or covered dependent, as defined in 3 FAM 3662, that are not otherwise covered by Federal law.”
3 FAM 3660 also includes definitions on who are covered employees, or covered individuals, what’s a “qualifying injury”, and the description of recognized and eligible qualifying injuries as of June 26, 2018.

3 FAM 3662  DEFINITIONS
(CT:PER-994;   05-28-2020)
(Uniform State/USAID/USAGM/Commerce/Foreign Service Corps-USDA)
(Applies to Foreign Service and Civil Service Employees)

Qualifying injury:  The term “qualifying injury” means the following:

(1)  With respect to a covered dependent, an injury listed in (3) below incurred

(a)  during a period in which a covered dependent is accompanying an employee to an assigned duty station in the Republic of Cuba, the People’s Republic of China, or another foreign country designated by the Secretary of State under 3 FAM 3666;

(b)  in connection with war, insurgency, hostile act, terrorist activity, or other incident designated by the Secretary of State; and

(c)  that was not the result of the willful misconduct of the covered dependent.

(2)  With respect to a covered employee or a covered individual, an injury listed in (3) below incurred

(a)  during a period of assignment to a duty station in the Republic of Cuba, the People’s Republic of China, or another foreign country designated by the Secretary of State under 3 FAM 3666;

(b)  in connection with war, insurgency, hostile act, terrorist activity, or other incident designated by the Secretary of State; and

(c)  that was not the result of the willful misconduct of the covered employee or covered individual.

(3)  Recognized and eligible qualifying injuries, as of 26 June 2018, based on the University of Pennsylvania-identified criteria, include the following:

        • sharp localized ear pain;
        • dull unilateral headache;
        • tinnitus in one ear;
        • vertigo,
        • visual focusing issues;
        • disorientation;
        • nausea;
        • extreme fatigue;
        • cognitive problems, including difficulty with concentration, working memory, and attention;
        • recurrent headache;
        • high-frequency unilateral hearing loss;
        • sleep disturbance;
        • and imbalance walking.

3 FAM 3666  SECRETARY OF STATE COUNTRY DESIGNATION
(CT:PER-994;   05-28-2020)
(Uniform State/USAID/USAGM/Commerce/Foreign Service Corps-USDA)
(Applies to Foreign Service and Civil Service Employees)

a. Under Public Law 116-94, Division J, Title IX, section 901, the Secretary of State may designate another foreign country for the purposes of this section, provided that the Secretary reports such designation to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate and the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives, and includes in such report a rationale for each such designation.

b. The Secretary of State may not designate an added foreign country or duty station for the purposes of providing additional monetary benefit pursuant to 3 FAM 3663 or 3 FAM 3664 for a qualifying injury to covered employees, covered dependents, or covered individuals under this section unless the Secretary of State

(1)  provides to the Committees on Foreign Relations of the Senate and the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives 30 days’ notice of the designation of a particular additional country or duty station and the rationale for such an addition; and

(2)  provides no such additional monetary benefit pursuant to 3 FAM 3663 or 3 FAM 3664  to covered employees, covered dependents, or covered individuals for a qualifying injury until the 30-day notice period expires, unless there is written agreement by both the Chair and Ranking Members of both the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate and the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives that there is no objection to proceeding with provision of such monetary benefit compensation in less than 30 days.


 

 

Snapshot: Cabinet Rank of @USUN Ambassadors (1946-2019)

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Under the Biden Administration, the USUN Ambassador has cabinet-level status giving Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield a seat on the  National Security Council. This was not the case during her most immediate predecessor. President Biden stated  that he will accord Cabinet status to Greenfield “because I want to hear her voice on all the major foreign policy discussions we have.” (see more Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield Assumes Charge @USUN).
Via CRS (PDF)

State/OIG: EUR’s Workforce Diversity Data-Below Department Averages #42outof43

 

Via State/OIG: