Staffing For Foreign Affairs

Staffing For Foreign Affairs: Personnel Systems for the 1980s and 1990s

Copyright Date: 1983
Pages: 288
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  • Book Info
    Staffing For Foreign Affairs
    Book Description:

    William Bacchus warns that the American Foreign Service is in serious danger of being unable to meet changing responsibilities unless it reforms its present personnel system.

    Originally published in 1983.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5319-9
    Subjects: Political Science, Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
    (pp. xi-xii)
    (pp. xiii-xx)
    (pp. xxi-2)
    (pp. 3-10)

    Like most social institutions, departments of the federal government, and the personnel systems which determine who serves them in what ways, are in large measure captives of their past history and their current practices. Unless both a historical context and a current baseline are established, it can be difficult to assess what problems exist, what changes may be called for, or how to set about attempting to make them. Thus, as a way of introducing the issues for those who may be unfamiliar with how the Department of State and the Foreign Service are run, this study begins with a...

  7. CHAPTER ONE Defining Personnel Needs: The Future Foreign Affairs Environment
    (pp. 11-35)

    Personnel systems—the means of providing people to staff organizations¹—should not be independent of purpose. They cannot exist in a vacuum, attuned only to the desires of their own members or administrators. They must also serve the larger organization; they must provide people who have the skills, experience, and motivation it needs to carry out its mission. In the government’s internationally oriented agencies, this minimum condition has too seldom, given the stakes, been met.

    It is basic that managers of the government’s foreign affairs personnel systems should understand the total policy environment with which they and the people they...

  8. CHAPTER TWO The Need for Change: Failures of the Current System
    (pp. 36-68)

    Adapting foreign affairs personnel systems to meet the new requirements would be a significant challenge even if these systems were now operating at peak efficiency. Unfortunately, current performance is seriously flawed. The faults are due partly to structural deficiencies, partly to poor management, and partly to factors beyond department or agency control; but they also derive from operational challenges and societal and governmental trends which complicate the problem of providing the right individuals with the right experiences in the right places at the right times.

    This chapter examines how well the current systems provide the competences necessary for success in...

  9. CHAPTER THREE Obstacles to Reform: Sources of Existing Weaknesses
    (pp. 69-107)

    The failures of foreign affairs personnel systems to meet current needs cannot be laid to a single cause, nor are they simple to correct. They are a combined result of tradition and of the understandable need of system managers to deal with what is, rather than what should be.

    In the first place, there is a fundamental ambiguity of roles: What needs to be done, and who should do it?

    Second, this is made worse by fragmentation, not only from agency to agency but within them, especially in State. The result is unnecessary complexity in structure and in management, which...

  10. CHAPTER FOUR No Perfect Schemes: Dilemmas of Personnel System Design
    (pp. 108-165)

    No personnel system can do everything needed. Because the purposes to be served are diverse and conflicting, each possible system has serious faults. Something must always be sacrificed. Many of the choices which must be made in designing and running a personnel apparatus can be couched as dilemmas, often not in either-or terms but rather as questions of balance between desirable but conflicting principles.

    This chapter examines these dilemmas in order to address the question of how personnel systems can be improved. The most important choices are listed below.

    —Should the foreign affairs personal system of the future be...

  11. CHAPTER FIVE Support Systems: Data, Planning, Evaluation, Priorities
    (pp. 166-193)

    Almost all discussion about “whither the Foreign Service” or of “how staff for foreign affairs” centers on structural questions—pay plans and personnel authorities, divisions of power, system separation or integration. But this is only part of the fundamental problem: how to provide the right people at the right place at the right time in order to support fully the national interest as manifested through foreign affairs. The more pedestrian, more neglected, but equally important side of the equation has to do with the technical or administrative elements which must support any effective personnel system. In view of the extreme...

  12. CHAPTER SIX The Foreign Service Act of 1980: Moving from Diagnosis to Action
    (pp. 194-220)

    Many were aware, from at least the mid-1970’s, of the malaise surrounding the Foreign Service personnel system which has been described earlier. In this chapter, the focus turns to two closely related efforts to deal with some of these problems. One was a clear failure, but the other provided the statutory basis for the most comprehensive reform of the Foreign Service since passage of the Foreign Service Act of 1946.

    At the outset, it must be noted that many of the most important and pressing difficulties discussed earlier are not easily susceptible to legislative remedy; rather, they can be overcome...

  13. CHAPTER SEVEN What Remains to Be Done?
    (pp. 221-236)

    The Foreign Service Act of 1980 represents, on balance, both a successful reform in government and, in the author’s opinion, a substantial contribution to providing the foreign affairs personnel systems needed in the future. At the same time, even if it is completely implemented according to what was intended, it is only a part of what will be required. This final chapter has one primary purpose: to weigh the new personnel systems now evolving as a consequence of the new Act, together with other recent improvement efforts, against the needs and problems described in the earlier chapters of this book,...

  14. APPENDIX: Summary Analysis of H.R. 6790—Foreign Service Act of 1980
    (pp. 237-250)
  15. INDEX
    (pp. 251-262)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 263-263)