View Full Version : Rice Orders Difficult Posts Filled First

08-24-2006, 08:42 AM
24 August Washington Post - Rice Orders Difficult Posts Filled (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/23/AR2006082301828.html)First by Glenn Kessler.

The State Department plans to implement sweeping changes in the way foreign service officers bid for new assignments in an effort to more quickly fill vacancies in Iraq and the growing number of dangerous hardship posts in the Middle East.

The new rules were outlined in a cable sent last week by Foreign Service Director General George M. Staples to department personnel that cited "increasing international turmoil." They are intended to shake up the State Department culture so that overseas service becomes more frequent and more focused on global hot spots.

The changes come as the number of overseas positions that prohibit accompanying children -- and sometimes spouses -- has increased from 200 in 2001 to more than 800 today. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who ordered the new approach, has already begun shifting personnel from Europe to the Middle East and Asia.

More than 200 foreign service officers are required each year in Iraq, and already 1,000 of the roughly 11,000 foreign service officers have voluntarily served there. The number of foreign service officers needed in Iraq will grow as Rice pushes forward with a plan to establish provincial reconstruction teams across the country.

Under the plan, which will take effect almost immediately, hardship posts will be filled before bidding can begin on more attractive assignments. Private side deals that lock up plum assignments will be discouraged, and the practice of allowing junior officers to take more senior slots that have gone unfilled will be minimized...