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This has resulted in more officers entering the mid-level ranks without any in-cone experience. Stephenson pointed out, most officers can expect 90 percent of their career development to come from assignments and mentoring.The consequences of officers never serving in their assigned cone at the entry level are real, both for individual officers seeking to learn their craft and for the overall health of a Service that depends on well-rounded generalists.
The important role a consular tour plays in the last two points is of particular importance given our Service’s dearth of lengthy professional training.
However, in the same way that some Army officers think the branch detail program exists because infantrymen make better intelligence officers, some in the Foreign Service consider the consular requirement a policy that was adopted because it makes for better officers in the other cones.
In fact, if there is to be a prerequisite in our current model of officer development, this should be it.
By denying officers a chance to learn their trade at the entry-level we retard their professional development and undermine the distinction between the entry and mid-level ranks.
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Content Header .feed_item_answer_user.js-wf-loaded . There is an obvious parallel between the view that the combat arms are central to the Army’s mission and that consular work lies at the heart of ours.In extremis all Foreign Service officers become American Citizen Services officers, and a strong argument can be made that an out-of-cone consular tour is the best way of satisfying visa demand, introducing new officers to the Service and building esprit de corps.It is the human resources equivalent of eating our seed corn. The Director General has called for ELOs to serve one tour in cone.As an interim measure, have the Bureau of Human Resources adopt the stated goal that every ELO will serve at least one year in an in-cone position over the course of their first two tours or five years of service.Every year the Army commissions more than 5,000 second lieutenants.As in our own Service, those officers are assigned to a specific “branch” in which most will spend their entire career.BY ANDREW KELLY In April’s President’s Views column “Building the Deep Bench,” Ambassador Barbara Stephenson brought up the challenge that surging demand for consular adjudicators poses to the career development of entry-level officers.With increasing frequency, non-consular coned officers are being called on to serve consecutive assignments out of cone.Practically, it isn’t hugely important whether an Army officer served in their assigned branch as a lieutenant.This is because on promotion to captain all officers must attend the comprehensive Captains Career Course of their assigned branch.