Last week, Congressman Howard L. Berman (D-CA), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced wide-ranging legislation to improve and support U.S. foreign policy efforts, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011 (H.R. 2410). It includes authorize appropriations for the Department of State and the Peace Corps to modernize the Foreign Service, and for other purposes.
The short title is: “Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011’’.
The whole document is here, exactly 320 pages long. It encompasses a lot but a quick look shows several items that would be of interest to the FS community:
Subtitle A—Towards Modernizing the Department of State (starts on p.73)
Sec. 301. Towards a more modern and expeditionary Foreign Service. Sec. 302. Quadrennial review of diplomacy and development. Sec. 303. Establishment of the Lessons Learned Center. Sec. 304. Locally employed staff compensation.
Subtitle B—Foreign Service Pay Equity and Death Gratuity (starts on p.95)
Sec. 311. Short title. Sec. 312. Overseas comparability pay adjustment. Sec. 313. Death gratuity.
Subtitle C—Other Organization and Personnel Matters (starts at p.101)
Sec. 321. Transatlantic diplomatic fellowship program. Sec. 322. Security officers exchange program. Sec. 323. Suspension of foreign service members without pay. Sec. 324. Repeal of recertification requirement for Senior Foreign Service. Sec. 325. Limited appointments in the Foreign Service. Sec. 326. Compensatory time off for travel. Sec. 327. Reemployment of Foreign Service annuitants. Sec. 328. Personal services contractors. Sec. 329. Protection of intellectual property rights. Sec. 330. Department of State employment composition. Sec. 331. Contracting. Sec. 332. Legislative liaison office of the Department of State. Sec. 333. Discrimination related to sexual orientation. Sec. 334. Office for Global Women’s Issues.
The bill includes AUTHORIZED INCREASES.— (1) AT THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE.—Secretary of State is authorized to hire an additional 750 members of the Foreign Service (above attrition) in fiscal year 2010 over the number of such members employed as of September 30, 2009, and an additional 750 members of the Foreign Service (above attrition) in fiscal year 2011 over the number of such members employed as of September 30, 2010. (2) AT USAID.—The Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development is authorized to hire an additional 350 members of the Foreign Service (above attrition) in fiscal year 2010 over the number of such members employed as of September 30, 2009, and an additional 350 members of the Foreign Service (above attrition) in fiscal year 2011 over the number of such members employed as of September 30, 2010.
Sec. 301. Towards a more modern and expeditionary Foreign Service. The bill amends (d) WORLDWIDE AVAILABILITY.—Section 301(b) of the Foreign Service Act of 1980 (22 U.S.C. 3941(b)) is amended— (1) by inserting ‘‘(1)’’ before ‘‘The Secretary’’; and (2) by adding at the end the following new paragraph: ‘‘(2)(A) Except as provided in subparagraphs (B) and (C), at the time of entry into the Service, each member of the Service shall be available to be assigned worldwide. Includes waivers on medical grounds and other exception at the discretion of the Secretary of State.
It has implications for recruitment and training. The bill includes (e) RECRUITING CANDIDATES WHO HAVE EXPERIENCE IN UNSTABLE SITUATIONS.—Section 301 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980 (22 U.S.C. 3941), as amended by section 212(c) of this Act, is further amended by adding at the end the following new subsection: ‘‘(f) The fact that an applicant for appointment as a Foreign Service officer candidate has the experience of working in situations where public order has been undermined by instability, or where there is no civil authority that can effectively provide public safety, may be considered an affirmative factor in making such appointments.’’.
‘‘(c) The Secretary of State shall ensure that members of the Service receive training on methods for conflict mitigation and resolution and on the necessary skills to be able to function successfully where public order has been undermined by instability or where there is no civil authority that can effectively provide public safety.
‘‘(d) The Secretary of State shall ensure that members of the Service have opportunities during their careers to obtain advanced education and training in academic and other relevant institutions in the United States and abroad to increase the capacity of the Service to fulfill its mission.’’.
The bill provides for the establishment of a Lessons Learned Center -- (2) LESSONS LEARNED.—The term ‘‘lessons learned’’ means information resulting from evaluation or observation of negotiations, operations, exercises, training events, or other processes and experiences, particularly any corrective measures or innovative techniques, that produced an improved performance or increased capability.
Somebody has been reading the OIG reports. The bill includes a (b) POLICY REVIEW on LE staff compensation based on the OIG report that was released last week. —The Secretary of State shall direct a policy review to assess the adequacy of locally employed staff compensation. In carrying out such policy review the Secretary shall consider the recommendations of the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of State.
Sec. 323 on Suspension of foreign service members without pay. (a) SUSPENSION.—Section 610 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980 (22 U.S.C. 4010) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection: ‘‘(c)(1) In order to promote the efficiency of the Service, the Secretary may suspend a member of the Foreign Service without pay when the member’s security clearance is suspended or when there is reasonable cause to believe that the member has committed a crime for which a sentence of imprisonment may be imposed.
Sec. 328 is on Personal services contractors. (a) IN GENERAL.—In addition to other authorities that may be available, the Secretary of State may establish a pilot program (in this section referred to as the ‘‘program’’) for the purpose of hiring United States citizens or aliens as personal services contractors, for service in the United States, or for service both in the United States and abroad, to respond to new or emerging needs or to augment current services. Not more than a total of 200 United States citizens or aliens are employed at any one time as personal services contractors under this section.
Sec. 333 is on Discrimination related to sexual orientation (starts on p.125) (a) PARTNER BENEFITS.—(1) IN GENERAL.—For purposes of the Foreign Service Act of 1980 and any other applicable provision of law, persons covered by section 511.3 of volume 14 of the Foreign Affairs Manual shall be deemed to include the same-sex domestic partner of a member of the Foreign Service (including an individual serving in the Foreign Service on a temporary basis as a limited noncareer appointee during the period in which such individual is so serving). This subsection shall apply to employees of the Peace Corps who are appointed as members of the Foreign Service in the same manner as this subsection and such section 511.3 applies to such members of the Foreign Service who are described in the preceding sentence. The Secretary of State shall promulgate new regulations to implement this section, including criteria to certify the eligibility for the same-sex domestic partner of a Foreign Service officer for benefits under this section. Item (2) provides for a list of requirements for certification of eligibility.
Here is the press release from Congressman Berman’s office. The full text of the bill is here. H.R. 2410 was introduced on May 14 by Congressman Berman. It has no co-sponsors at this time. Latest Major Action as of 5/14/2009: Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.