Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Separating Fact From Myth II: For the Record

This just came from AFSAnet (November 25) but not online yet. Will add the link to the full text once the update is live. (Update 11/27: The entire message is now posted online here): FOR THE RECORD 11. The current State Department Spokesman and Under Secretary for Management gave a press briefing <> on November 18 to dispel "tired old quotes" alleging that the Bush Administration in recent years did not fight for adequate resources for diplomacy and development assistance. While the briefers displayed charts showing upward trends in total funding for all State Department operations, they did not give the reporters any numbers on past staffing trends. Excluding positions funded from special sources for consular and security staffing, AFSA understands that the numbers of new Foreign Service positions at State requested by the Bush Administration and funded by Congress in recent years are: FY-06: 221 requested, zero funded (140 created out of reprogrammed funds) FY-07: 102 requested, zero funded FY-08: 262 requested, eight funded (see note below) FY-09: 1,095 requested, unknown number funded (see note below) [Note: Congress, at AFSA's urging and with this Administration's support, did include some FY-08 and FY-09 "bridge" funding for additional positions in the Iraq/Afghanistan War supplemental that was passed last summer. To our knowledge, State has not said how many new Foreign Service positions that funding permitted.] * * * I guess this is the last word on that fact vs. myth thingy that the Spokesman was trying to correct. Out of the total positions requested in the last four fiscal years - a total of 1,680 positions, only 148 positions were actually funded or created (140 of that from reprogrammed funds). In the Spokesman 's words: "And let me just say, there’s nobody who’s fought harder for resources for this building, to make sure that our people can do the job that they’ve been tasked by her and the President to do. And she’s been successful at it." Right! And an 8.8% success rate is really worth bragging about. Now I understand why myth building is a necessary art. You get A+ for simply trying! And why in heaven's name would anyone even want to talk about actual results? Related Post: Separating Fact From Myth: It's Harder Than You Think

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