Department of State

Three Year Tours

Foreign service tours should last a minimum of three years. Two years is too short a time to develop expertise in a country and a position. The first six months an officer is learning and adjusting, and the last few months he or she is distracted by preparations for the next post. After two years in a position, the experience, knowledge, and contacts gained really start to pay off, but then an officer has to move to another post and start all over. It costs millions of dollars to move foreign service officers, their families, and their belongings across the globe, only to do the same thing a couple of years later.

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Idea No. 12341