Archives for May 2018

Coaching for FSOT

 

I will resume coaching for the October FS?OT in July.  Details to follow.

Good luck to all taking the June sitting of the Foreign Service Exam.

 

Pompeo Lifts Hiring Freeze at State Department

@JTA 2018

More encouraging news from the State Department.  SecState Pompeo in a May 15 tweet announced that he has lifted the hiring freeze imposed by his predecessor, Rex Tillerson.

I’m pleased to announce that I’m lifting @StateDept hiring freeze on Foreign Service and Civil Service employees. We need our men and women on the ground executing American diplomacy and representing our great nation.

This likely means that the Department will offer the FSOT on the pre-Trump schedule of three times per year: June, October, and February.

Please stay tuned for a post on why it’s the best time to join the Foreign Service!

 

The King is Dead; Long Live the King

Mike Pompeo Replaces Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State

I’ve put off writing on this blog, because to me the reign of Rex Tillerson meant the end of the Foreign Service. A corporatist surrounded by narrow-minded groupies, Tillerson & Company hacked away at the Foreign Service. He hired McKinsey to redesign the State Department, he cut the senior ranks of the Foreign Service by more than 50%, and prolonged a hiring freeze that choked off the entry level ranks.
And no one really cared.  Yes, there was bipartisan support  in Congress, among pundits, and even the news media, but within the Trump Administration, there was little or no complaints. Trump himself preferred a sidelined, defunded State Department.
The perfect soundbite for the Trumpists is “the State Department spends hundreds of billions on refugee resettlement, humanitarian food aid, and economic development. Why aren’t we spending that money in the United States?”
Meantime, the Department has always had a problem selling itself to Americans, except perhaps when passports are delayed or you have a relative in trouble overseas.
Some of State’s defenders in and out of government come from the Department of Defense.  Just a month after Trump’s inauguration, more than 120 retired generals and admirals signed  a letter to Congressional leaders warning of the dangers of cutting the State Department’s budget.
In early 2013, then head of the Central Command, Gen. James Mattis (now SecDef) testified before Congress and said that “if you don’t fund fully the State Department, then I need to buy more ammunition.”
So where does that leave us:  More than 150 senior State positions unfilled, a hiring freeze, and a foreign policy that seems to be decided on the fly — with no interagency consultation or debate.
I hope that SecState Pompeo will reverse the anti-Foreign Service bias, lift the hiring freeze, and expand the intake of new entry level officers.
He’s making a lot of the right noises and his successful tenure at the CIA signals an ability to work in a government agency and rely on Foreign Service professionals.
Fingers crossed.