State Department Will Continue to Hire!

Take the FSOT!

I was talking to a friend of mine and was encouraging her to re-take the FSOT.  During the conversation she said, “Congress is cutting budgets across the board and I heard the State Department is going to cut back on funding for hiring diplomats.” This was a reason she gave for not re-taking the FSOT since she’d be wasting time as there would be no jobs to fill.

WRONG!!!

Check out this article, “DOD, State Department Present Budgets to Senate” where DOD officials are saying cut DOD before cutting State!

[Deputy Defense Secretary] Lynn called on the senators to fully fund the State Department’s fiscal 2012 budget request of $59.5 billion. The request includes funding for the U.S. Agency for International Development.

“We at the Department of Defense strongly believe that a full and robust funding of our foreign policy operations is an effective means of meeting our national security,” Lynn said. “Indeed, if we promote security and responsible governance as crises are brewing, we will be able to avoid later in the crisis the deployment of U.S. military forces.”

People, this is rather unprecedented, almost like your neighbor knocking on your door and offering a cut of his paycheck to you every month in return for you just being your good neighbor self.

Reduced federal budgets is NOT a reason for avoiding the FSOT!


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5 Responses to State Department Will Continue to Hire!

  1. DefLing says:

    I’m in the same boat. And I’ve also followed this story as closely as I can. As far as I can tell, there is a terrible difference between budget requests and what actually gets passed. Not sure I want to hang my hopes on this Congress.

    Can you be more specific about how USAID funding relates to the number of FSOs hired off the register? It seems to me that State has already begun to limit the number of commissions in favor of hiring more FSSs. (And why was a recent class of A100 cancelled?!) Sorry to be pessimistic (one of the outcomes of the disappointment of the two OAs I’ve taken) but I’m not convinced there’s a link. Disabuse me, please.

    • First of all, I hope you’re not discourged, please keep trying. The point of the post was to prevent people using the excuse of “no funding” from even registering for the FSOT. Given you’ve already tried out the OA twice means you’re way ahead of this.

      It’s not easy answering your questions regarding how USAID funding affects FSO hiring and the apparent hiring of FSS’s. It’s unlikely that anyone other than a budget maven at Foggy Bottom could answer the first question. I’d venture to say that given the very different personnel structures between DOS and AID, it’s unlikey that USAID funding has any real effect on FSO hiring. For FSS vs. FSO hiring, understand that the Bureau of Human Resources conducts a yearly analysis to determine hiring needs for the next several years going forward. They factor in retirement rates, attrition rates, requests from overseas posts, and Congressional funding, so it’s not just one factor.

      As for why the last A-100 was cancelled, let me get back to you.

      • DefLing says:

        Thanks very much for getting back to me. I’ll be very curious to know what you find out about the A100 cancellation.

        I’m a little familiar with the military side of things and I suspect that DoD was willing to go to bat for USAID as they understand USAID in terms of another line of operation for their own work. I do think, however, this is part of the problem. Oversight in Afghanistan seems lacking, whether by neglect or by the great difficulty of conducting it. Either way, I suspect Congress will be cold to a funding increase at USAID, even if it comes from DoD.

      • The explanation is pretty convoluted and I’m not sure it’s going to help anyone in any way. May A-100 was off because there was no budget. Then it was on again because they thought there was a budget. Then it wasn’t clear again but they already hired for May so they went forward. Then they went forward with July and September. Then they weren’t sure about money again so November got cancelled but January is on but it’s going to be smaller. So in the end, this is a case where knowledge really isn’t all that powerful, but getting a slot as an FSS or an OA score is powerful.

  2. DefLing says:

    Well, thank you! That pretty much confirms my hypothesis that DoS was voluntarily reducing its operating costs–perhaps to better claim that they were proactive before a likely budget reduction, etc.

    Unfortunately for me, I undertook the project in the spirit of the hiring initiative. Anecdotally, the OA and QEP seem to have became more difficult recently.

    Your version of events is a really important data point in my decision whether to submit myself to this baroque process again. Since I live abroad, it has cost me upward of $2K for the pleasure of being twice denied. Thanks for your encouragement, but I’m sorry to say that kind of budgetary uncertainty isn’t very reassuring. Since a passing OA score is no guarantee of a job anyway, since Congress isn’t in the mood to approve the expanded budget request, and since State’s personnel office seems to be in disarray, it’s beginning to look as if I’ll pursue other opportunities in the near term.

    My poor family has already been through enough stress waiting for results–I can’t imagine what it would be like being jerked around like that, waiting for an A100 slot, worrying about how to switch continents, all the while one’s candidacy expires. A fellow OA taker, the COO of his company, said to me afterward “I’ve never seen such a wasteful personnel process.” He meant this in the context of State’s policy of not making any substantive remarks about OA performance (a needlessly alienating position), but his observation still resonates with me.

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