18 Dec. Los Angeles Times - State Dept. Considers Mandatory Iraq Tours.

A change to the voluntary assignment system is considered as fewer diplomats step forward to fill the dangerous posts.

Facing growing difficulties staffing its Iraq operations, the State Department is debating whether to begin ordering reluctant diplomats to serve in the foreign service's most dangerous posting,

A change to the traditional voluntary assignment system could hurt morale and undercut the Iraq mission by suggesting to the world that U.S. diplomats are not fully committed to the effort. Yet in the nearly three years since the invasion, U.S. officials have found it increasingly difficult to find qualified personnel to fill jobs in Iraq.

Some senior officials acknowledged privately that they favor adopting such "directed assignments," which have not been put to wide-scale use since the Vietnam War. The department is not likely to make the change for the 2006 rotation, but could turn to it for 2007, some diplomats said...