So, typically, the more negative replies a tweet gets over likes or retweets, the worse it is. There’s even a word for it: #ratioed. Luke O’Neil of Esquire explained The Ratio in an article titled “How to Know if You’ve Sent a Horrible Tweet.”
On December 16, the 70th secretary of state tweeted a photo of his Foreign Affairs Policy Board members, a collection of foreign policy advisors, all white men in a variety of smiles, ties, hairstyles, but no, not a diverse group as described on state.gov. The FAPB charter was most recently renewed in July 2019 according to the Federal register:
“The Foreign Affairs Policy Board provides the Secretary of State with advice, real-time feedback, and perspectives from outside leaders and innovators, in support of the Department formulation and execution of policy. It taps external expertise to provide advice and recommendations regarding critical challenges in the dynamic and competitive global environment in order to enhance the power and influence of American diplomacy.”
GSA’s Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) database includes a report for 2019 Current Fiscal Year Report: Foreign Affairs Policy Board with staff and per diem payments of $29,668.00 in current fiscal year, and expected payments of $47,000.00 for next fiscal year. The notation in the FACA database says:
“No formal reports have been produced for public distribution. Meetings are closed to the public due to the sensitive nature of discussions. Members of the Board have submitted materials for senior State Department officials eyes-only. In 2018, no official meetings of the Board took place. In FY2019, two meetings took place.”
Some informative points in this report via GSA which does not appear to be available on state.gov:
20a. How does the Committee accomplish its purpose?
The committee gathers to discuss major international issues and foreign policy challenges that the Secretary has chosen, based on the his belief that a diverse array of experienced outside voices can usefully support him as he works to address those specific challenges. Each meeting includes discussion on one or more topics that the Secretary has chosen, interaction with other senior Department officials, and an opportunity for the Board to provide perspectives and views developed and discussed during the meeting to the Secretary.
20b. How does the Committee balance its membership?
The members are distinguished figures from a range of backgrounds, including academia, NGOs, think tanks, business, and government–all of whom bring a unique perspective based on that background and long experience dealing with international issues from a range of perspectives. The selection of membership was in coordination with the Board’s Membership Balance Plan.
20c. How frequent and relevant are the Committee Meetings?
It is anticipated that the board will meet an estimated four times per year occurring approximately every 3-4 months.
20d. Why can’t the advice or information this committee provides be obtained elsewhere?
The committee is necessary to supplement the advice and support the Secretary gets from the Department with a broad range of diverse outside perspectives on major international issues.
20e. Why is it necessary to close and/or partially closed committee meetings?
The meetings must be closed because of the sensitive nature of discussed topics and materials, which are often classified.
Under most significant program outcomes associated with this committee? “Major policy changes” and “Others” were checked.
Under what other actions has the agency taken as a result of the committee’s advice or recommendation? Two radio buttons were checked: “Reorganized Priorities” and “Reallocated resources”.
Note that previous FAPB members from 2009-2017 were identified with official State Department bios; there were 5 female members out of 23 members. https://2009-2017.state.gov/s/p/fapb/c50662.htm …
Pompeo’s current FAPB members do not appear to be identified on the State Department website. Their bios are also not available on state.gov. Nine appointees to the Board were identified in the 2019 FACA database; one female member and eight male appointees (also see below). All are classified as “Special Government Employee (SGE) Member.”
FAPB charter says that the Board is “comprised of no more than twenty-five members who have distinguished backgrounds in U.S. diplomacy, development and national security affairs.”
Members are appointed for 2 years or less, and with “the exception of travel and per diem for official travel, all Board members serve without compensation.”
Did Condi Rice, Susan Rice, Kori Schake, Michele Flournoy, Nikki Haley and Wendy Sherman all have other dinner plans? https://t.co/H5Z0NqGSfG
— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) December 16, 2019
Wow, what a diversity of hairstyles! https://t.co/pyOS0KfIM6
— Quinta "Pro Quo" Jurecic (@qjurecic) December 16, 2019
In 2019, it’s shocking that these eight men would agree to be part of a board that excludes the perspectives of women.
Sec. Pompeo should be ashamed. The complete lack of diversity in this group does a disservice to the State Dept and speaks volumes about his leadership. https://t.co/774pXZaaTh
— Foreign Policy for America (@FP4America) December 16, 2019
Here is a list of the members pic.twitter.com/KcQPoDMtDr
— Jon B. Wolfsthal – aka a Globalist (@JBWolfsthal) December 16, 2019
Later, Mr. Pompeo tweeted about convening the Board. No photo this time, and it’s not/not intended to clean up the previous tweet, silly!
Honored to convene the Foreign Affairs Policy Board today at the @StateDept. It's critical we continue to tap experts outside of government as we face today's challenges, if we want to ensure the enduring power and influence of American diplomacy around the world.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) December 16, 2019
But he’s yearning for Kansas, so his personal account tweeted another photo with a diversity of smiles. Enjoy!
Great time celebrating the 100th anniversary of @FarmBureau with Kansans and farmers from across the country. My @KSFarmBureau friends make me proud. Farmers feed the world. pic.twitter.com/QKc98QSsiS
— Mike Pompeo (@mikepompeo) December 18, 2019