VIP Visits and You – A Guide to the Insanity

The blog has been a bit quiet lately. Not because nothing has been going on. Quite the contrary. Too much was going on. We had an S visit.

John Kerry

This guy showed up with around 80 of his buddies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If there is one event that truly pushes an embassy close to its breaking point, it’s a VIP visit. I’ve had the chance to survive several through my career thus far and here is a taste of what to expect.

Welcome to the 178th A-100

Welcome to the newest A-100 class: the Fighting 178th or Rowdy 178th or Mighty 178th or something (all A-100 classes think they’ve come up with some clever moniker that has been done many times before.)

My colleague Digger over at Life After Jerusalem pointed out that a new class had started so I’m just piggy-backing on her work. She also listed a new FS blogger from the group. Collin has been writing about his journey from Park Ranger to Diplomat and I’m enjoying his blog. I suggest you check it out.

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For Your Bookshelf

Regardless of career track, it is important for every Foreign Service Officer to have strong leadership, management, and organizational skills. True, it is probably more important for management and consular officers to develop these skills earlier in their careers as they will lead large teams perhaps as soon as their first tour. Still, if you stay in the Foreign Service long enough, you will be supervising others and it is important to balance hands-on practice with a bit of self-study.

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New Post, New Beginnings

Things have been a bit quiet around here lately. This is because I have had to go through that annual Foreign Service metamorphosis involved with transferring to a new post. Packing, long flights, paperwork, and the joys and frustrations of settling into a new city — just a few of the steps involved every time we must transition to a new assignment.

Although I’m fully aware of the stages of adjusting to a new culture (honeymoon period, frustration, denial, something something, acceptance…), I’m feeling pretty confident that will be the easiest place I’ve had to settle into. After Kabul, my cushy Western European post seems like something out of a dream.

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Foreign Service Ninjas

The Washington Post has a nice piece describing the special high-threat training that many Diplomatic Security agents must take these days before heading to assignments in certain parts of the world.

The high-threat course lasts 10 weeks — its duration was doubled after Benghazi — and students are put through their final paces during three-plus days amid Erehwon’s pine trees and the occasional flock of wild turkeys. A squad of 16 men completed it last month, the latest of 47 graduates since October. (The State Department asked that the base’s name not be disclosed to maintain the element of surprise for future trainees.)

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