United States Code

USC most recently checked for updates: Jul 22, 2024

§ 3901.
Congressional findings and objectives
The Congress finds that—
a career foreign service, characterized by excellence and professionalism, is essential in the national interest to assist the President and the Secretary of State in conducting the foreign affairs of the United States;
the scope and complexity of the foreign affairs of the Nation have heightened the need for a professional foreign service that will serve the foreign affairs interests of the United States in an integrated fashion and that can provide a resource of qualified personnel for the President, the Secretary of State, and the agencies concerned with foreign affairs;
the Foreign Service of the United States, established under the Act of May 24, 1924 (commonly known as the Rogers Act) and continued by the Foreign Service Act of 1946, must be preserved, strengthened, and improved in order to carry out its mission effectively in response to the complex challenges of modern diplomacy and international relations;
the members of the Foreign Service should be representative of the American people, aware of the principles and history of the United States and informed of current concerns and trends in American life, knowledgeable of the affairs, cultures, and languages of other countries, and available to serve in assignments throughout the world; and
the Foreign Service should be operated on the basis of merit principles.
The objective of this chapter is to strengthen and improve the Foreign Service of the United States by—
assuring, in accordance with merit principles, admission through impartial and rigorous examination, acquisition of career status only by those who have demonstrated their fitness through successful completion of probationary assignments, effective career development, advancement and retention of the ablest, and separation of those who do not meet the requisite standards of performance;
fostering the development and vigorous implementation of policies and procedures, including affirmative action programs, which will facilitate and encourage (A) entry into and advancement in the Foreign Service by persons from all segments of American society, and (B) equal opportunity and fair and equitable treatment for all without regard to political affiliation, race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, or disability;
providing for more efficient, economical, and equitable personnel administration through a simplified structure of Foreign Service personnel categories and salaries;
establishing a statutory basis for participation by the members of the Foreign Service, through their elected representatives, in the formulation of personnel policies and procedures which affect their conditions of employment, and maintaining a fair and effective system for the resolution of individual grievances that will ensure the fullest measure of due process for the members of the Foreign Service;
minimizing the impact of the hardships, disruptions, and other unusual conditions of service abroad upon the members of the Foreign Service, and mitigating the special impact of such conditions upon their families;
providing salaries, allowances, and benefits that will permit the Foreign Service to attract and retain qualified personnel as well as a system of incentive payments and awards to encourage and reward outstanding performance;
establishing a Senior Foreign Service which is characterized by strong policy formulation capabilities, outstanding executive leadership qualities, and highly developed functional, foreign language, and area expertise;
improving Foreign Service managerial flexibility and effectiveness;
otherwise enabling the Foreign Service to serve effectively the interests of the United States and to provide the highest caliber of representation in the conduct of foreign affairs.
(Pub. L. 96–465, title I, § 101, Oct. 17, 1980, 94 Stat. 2074; Pub. L. 117–263, div. I, title XCII, § 9219(1), Dec. 23, 2022, 136 Stat. 3878.)
cite as: 22 USC 3901