As many of you may have read, the State Department is moving to directed
assignments in order to fill vacant Iraq positions. This is as you might
gather a controversial move in which people may be told to go to Iraq or leave
the Foreign Service.
There is much controversy over how it was announced (most people read about it
first in the Sunday paper), who will get selected (Prime Candidates, based upon
prior assignments, specialties, etc.) as well as bringing to a head many
peoples' opinions about our position in Iraq (pro-war, anti-war, should we have
an embassy in a war zone, etc.)
The most controversial (possible termination) is based upon the premise that
one is "worldwide available" which means basically each and everyone of us
could be assigned anywhere in the world, whether accompanied or not, whether
hardship, danger, etc. One can answer the call by claiming a medical or
hardship situation (dying parent, sick child, etc.) but it is not guaranteed
that this will be successful. The downside is that one could actually be
separated fmro service by refusing to go.
For those of you who work in other government agencies, and deploy personnel
overseas, could you find out and revert the following:
1. Does your organization have "directed assignments" to hardship posts, war
2. Can you opt out or can you be told to go?
3. What are the repercussions if you refuse to go?
4. What "benefits" package exists? For example, State can offer a "Separate
Maintenance Allowance to help your state-side family with bills, or if you are
currently overseas, they will allow your family to stay in government housing,
continue to pay for children's education, and allow the spouse to keep embassy
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