February 07, 2008
The Militarization of Diplomacy
John Naland, President of the American Foreign Service Association, discussed current logistical and managerial problems facing the Foreign Service and its employees. Addressing the recent controversy concerning mandatory assignments to hardship posts, including Iraq, Naland explained that the policy of the Foreign Service has always included assignments to difficult areas and that part of the qualifications for a U.S. Foreign Service Officer is the willingness to serve in all posts throughout the world. Naland also discussed the under-funding of the Foreign Service in the 1990s and early 2000s that stemmed from the perceived "Peace Dividend," the idea that following the Cold War, there would be less need for aggressive global diplomacy. He stressed the importance of reversing this trend and spoke on the recent success of a budgetary increase in President Bush's most recent Congressional budget request.
John Naland became President of the American Foreign Service Association on July 15, 2007. This is his second term as AFSA President, having also served from 2001 to 2003. A career Foreign Service Officer, Mr. Naland joined the Department of State in 1986. His most recent foreign assignment was as Principal Officer of the U.S. Consulate in Matamoros, Mexico (2003-2006). He also served in Colombia, Costa Rica and Nicaragua.