Wednesday, February 27, 2008

MOHs Can Now Get Security Training!

This cable was sent out for all U.S. direct-hire employees under Chief of Mission authority from the Director General of the Foreign Service Harry K. Thomas, Jr. It allows, for the first time, Members of Household (MOHs, including same-sex partners, parents, adult children, etc) to be enrolled in and attend the special security training that all officers and their Eligible Family Members (or EFMs, meaning their spouses and minor children) receive before going to post. This training is vital, since the Department estimates that 85% will be the victims of some sort of crime (including terrorism) while serving overseas. (M and I both have, though fortunately not while I was an MOH (because the assistance I would have gotten from the Embassy would have been less substantial than had I been an office or EFM at the time). My apartment was robbed shortly after I arrived at post, and then about five months before we left, M and I were robbed at knife point. ) And allowing MOHs to attend this training COSTS NOTHING because the classes are held in a large auditorium which is generally less than 1/4 full.

Here is the cable:

1. The recent deaths of Foreign Service personnel in Sudan and Afghanistan remind us that the world we live in can be a very dangerous place. For that reason, all assigned abroad who serve
under Chief of Mission (COM) authority are reminded that security-related training is mandatory, regardless of agency.

2. Please note that the Bureau of Diplomatic Security has agreed to allow a limited number of agencies to self-certify if they offer similar training. All others must attend training offered by the Foreign Service Institute (see para 4 below).

3. We believe that you can take an active, positive step towards enhancing your own personal security by ensuring that you, your family members, and all those who form a part of your usual household (i.e., Members of Household (MOHs)) enroll in training - and then practice good personal security. We are extending access to security training to MOHs in the firm belief that they can be at risk because of their association with us and, as residents of our households and
participants in the Embassy community, can positively contribute to our collective safety

4. Security-related training offered by the Foreign Service Institute (FSI):

(a) SAFE (Safety Abroad for Families and Employees) is the mandatory personal security training for personnel under Chief of Mission (COM) authority. It consists of two training modules, which can be taken separately. State career employees are only required to take the
Security Overseas Seminar. The second (Working in an Embassy) is included in entry-level training.

-- (1) The Security Overseas Seminar (SOS) (MQ911) is a two-day class at FSI. It is mandatory for all employees under COM authority prior to their first overseas assignment. Family members and MOHs are also strongly encouraged to enroll. State employees will be automatically enrolled upon assignment overseas.

-- (2) Working in an Embassy (WIAE) (PN113) is an on-line, Distance Learning follow-on to SOS and is also mandatory for personnel under Chief of Mission authority, regardless of agency. (See above note regarding career State Department FS employees.) While family members and MOHs are welcome, it is most relevant to those who expect to work within an embassy.

(b) Advanced Security Overseas Seminar (MQ912) is open to those who have taken the two-day Security Overseas Seminar (MQ911). It fulfills the requirement to take the SOS program every five years and is available on line, through Distance Learning.

(c) The Security Overseas Seminar, Youth (MQ914) is a one-day class at FSI held in February and during the summer months, exploring safety and security issue that our youth may face in an overseas environment and help them identify resources to protect themselves. In February, classes are held for family members and MOHs in grades six through twelve. Classes in the summer are open to those in grades two through twelve.

5. To enroll their family members and MOHs, and to enroll themselves in the courses for which enrollment is not automatic, State employees should contact their Career Development Officer (CDO). All other agencies should contact their Human Resources office.


Anonymous said...

I notice that your blog does not list "dead men working" among the Foreign Service Blogs listed. It presents another view of Diplomatic Security that could interest some of your viewers.

Digger said...

I will remedy that oversight. Thanks for letting me know.

hannah said...

Two thoughts come to mind on this. One is, WONDERFUL! There's a precedent! Let's hope it continues to expand. The other is to wonder if SOS is really useful - to be fair, I haven't taken it, but from my A100 classmates' comments, they didn't learn much of use. Still, it's overall a big step forward.

Digger said...

Its a start, and he apparently said at a meeting today that there is more to come. I'm cautiously optimistic.