Congressman Kim, a former State Department official, introduces legislation to modernize civil service and foreign affairs training

Congressman Kim, a former State Department official, introduces legislation to modernize civil service and foreign affairs training

WASHINGTON DC – Today, Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03) and Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) introduced the Department of State’s Training Modernization Act to update the training of Americans who serve our country around the world in civilian and foreign service.

“When I was at the State Department, I was trained to adapt to an ever-changing world. Looking back, I now understand that it’s not enough to train people to adapt. We have to adapt the way we train Americans who want to enter the Foreign Service,” said Congressman Kim. “This bill will modernize professional development at the Department of State, incorporate innovative education and training courses and programs, and ensure that the training program evolves to meet the needs of the workforce. For America to project its strength around the world, we need our State Department officials to better reflect America, to be the best of the best, and this bill is a tangible way to better prepare our foreign policy personnel and to improve our standing in the world.”

A fact sheet on the Department of State’s Training Modernization Act can be found here.

“As the Department of State evolves to meet today’s needs, Department personnel must have high-quality training that reflects current global and national priorities,” said Congressman Castro, who is chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Development, International Organizations and the Social Impact of Global Business. “The Department of State’s Training Modernization Act will strengthen our foreign policy staff by expanding the Department’s partnerships with universities, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector. The foreign policy challenges we face in the 21st century require innovative solutions, and our foreign and civilian public servants deserve access to training and professional development resources at every stage of their career.

Specifically, the Department of State’s Training Modernization Act:

  • Direct the Secretary of State to provide increased training provision, including increased virtual training that is interactive and more accessible to globally deployed personnel, and increased training provided by partner organizations such as universities, entities industry and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
  • Create new scholarship programs for foreign service and public service officers that include opportunities in NGOs, the Department of Defense, intelligence organizations such as the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency, colleges and universities and industry entities working in technology, global operations, finance, or other fields.
  • Create an independent Board of Visitors—the governance structure used for institutions of higher education—for the Foreign Service Institute (FSI), made up of management and leadership experts outside the State Department to provide advice and recommendations to the Secretary of State on organizational management, strategic planning, resource management, curriculum development, and other matters of interest to ISF.
  • To establish a Provost at the Foreign Service Institute who shall be appointed by the Board of Visitors to directly oversee, review and evaluate the academic program of courses taught at FSI.
  • Enable other national security agencies and congressional personnel to take advantage of FSI’s professional development programs.
  • Improve oversight and transparency of efforts to increase diversity in the State Department’s workforce by requiring annual reports to Congress to include staff demographics and ongoing efforts in each office to address issues. diversity, equity and inclusion issues in their work.
  • Require the Secretary of State to develop a strategic plan on how to adapt and evolve training requirements to better meet the current and future needs of the department for 21st century diplomacy.
  • Establish an incentive program to encourage foreign service members to maintain their foreign language proficiency.

This legislation is the House counterpart to S. 3492, introduced by Senators Ben Cardin (MD) and Bill Hagerty (TN), which was passed unanimously by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Congressman Kim is working to include this legislation in the State Department’s fiscal year 2023 authorization bill that is expected to be reviewed later this year.

Congressman Kim is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Committee on Small Business. More information on Congressman Kim can be found on his website by click here.


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