Innovation and Social Media at the State Department

Nicholas Kralev recently had an interesting interview with Alec Ross, the former senior advisor for innovation at the State Department under Secretary Clinton. The entire interview is worth watching (as are the other interviews by Nicholas), but in particular I’d suggest skipping to around the 5:14 mark.

I also highly recommend Kralev’s book  America’s Other Army: The U.S. Foreign Service and 21st Century Diplomacy

Innovation at the State Department – or the U.S. government in general – is always a hot topic. Typically, the government has lagged behind in adopting new technology. I think many elements of State are trying to counter this, but it is still a tug-of-war between the new and the old and security versus innovation.

One Year Anniversary

I almost forgot that the blog just celebrated a birthday (and I forgot to buy it anything.)

Although my productivity on the site has slowed down, I still work on it nearly every day and continue to seek out new information about the Foreign Service to share. I hope that my readers have found it both useful and, at times, entertaining. It made for a welcome distraction as I slogged through the days in Afghanistan.

I thought I’d share a few statistics after one year of operation.

Unique Visitors: 54,146

Total Page Views: 243,366


Congress and the U.S. Foreign Service

There is one unfortunate reality you need to come to terms with if you hope to one day join the U.S. Foreign Service.

A large percentage of the U.S. Congress is, at best, apathetic to your existence, and a significant number are downright hostile towards us. We’re useful to have around when it comes to their international diplomatic efforts/fact-finding missions/shopping trips (often during vacations), but we’re an even more convenient pawn when it comes to playing domestic politics.

The American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) is calling for help with the most recent insult from Congress. Please read and consider taking action.


What’s the Right Degree for the Foreign Service?

Since starting this blog, I’ve received a lot of emailed comments and questions about the process of becoming a U.S. Foreign Service Officer. Some are comments on blog posts, some are emails through the contact page, and others come via the Facebook page (which is my preferred method these days.)

One of the common topics I’m asked about is what the “right” or “best” degree is. In fact, I have a few emails in my inbox right now asking me my opinion over different graduate degree programs. Since this is such a common question, I thought I’d answer it for everyone.


Major Changes to the Foreign Service Selection Process?

In my research for a new post for the blog, I visited  and was greeted by a pop-up with the following announcement:

As you know, this is the first step towards becoming a U.S. diplomat: an opportunity for you to assist in amplifying America’s voice and extending its reach in areas critical to the daily lives of U.S. citizens. You can become part of America’s leadership, contributing your skills, innovative thinking, and global perspective to support our efforts at home and abroad.