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Cablegate: Recruiting Transformational Diplomats for Field

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DE RUEHC #6784/01 1171616
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 271608Z APR 07
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO ALL DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI 3031
INFO DARFUR COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 STATE 056784

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AU CJ HO SOCI SU US
SUBJECT: RECRUITING TRANSFORMATIONAL DIPLOMATS FOR FIELD
TOURS IN DARFUR

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BOTTOM LINE UP FRONT
--------------------

1. (U) This cable is intended to advertise and recruit
individuals to serve four-six month TDY tours in Darfur in
support of the Embassy Political Section and Washington's
foreign policy objectives in Sudan. S/CRS personnel, with
stop-gap support from Embassy political officers, have
manned Post's Darfur presence for roughly one year, but
expect to wind down full-time support by mid- to late-
summer. The Department is seeking to identify qualified
personnel so that Post can minimize any staffing gaps in
Darfur, which remains a top U.S. foreign policy priority
and a prime transformational diplomacy opportunity.

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THE PITCH
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2. (U) There are few higher U.S. foreign policy priorities
than alleviating the mass displacements and human suffering
in Darfur and pursuing peace in the conflict-ridden region.
Darfur presents a unique and challenging political,
security, social and functional environment that is well
outside the traditional scope of most Embassy operations.
Daily activities in the field may range from gathering
information about the latest ceasefire violations, to
accompanying peacekeeping patrols, to coordinating high-
level visits, to interacting with UN field staff, civil
society, Sudanese officials and military figures. As one
of only a few USG officials on the ground and likely the
only State Department representative, the opportunity to
serve in Darfur requires an ability to work in an
ambiguous, fast-paced environment where collaboration,
flexibility, initiative and creativity are essential
attributes. The Secretary cited the importance of this
work, stating that in Darfur "several members of our team
moved in fast and light. They acquired a space to call
their headquarters. And they have been working for the
past few months to help transform the conditions on the
ground, with everyone from Sudanese rebel groups, to
African Union peacekeepers, to international aid workers."
To serve as a field officer in Darfur is to be at the
vanguard of transformational diplomacy, where policy is put
into practice and possibilities abound to act as an agent
of change in support of peace.

----------
BACKGROUND
----------

3. (U) Shortly after the May 2006 signing of the Darfur
Peace Agreement (DPA), a small team from the Active
Response Corps (ARC) of the Office of the Coordinator for
Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS) deployed to Darfur
to assist Embassy Khartoum in creating a forward USG
presence and provide ground-level reporting. The team was
also charged with establishing and operationalizing DPA
Implementation Offices, also known as Peace Secretariats,
which serve as platforms to expand awareness of the peace
process, enhance African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS)
political and outreach capacity, provide needed
communications and office capabilities to DPA signatories,
and serve as practical venues for implementation
coordination and civil society activities. The ARC team
quickly established field operations in North Darfur state
capital El Fasher, where both AMIS and the UN Mission in
Sudan (UNMIS) have central headquarters.

4. (U) Over several months, ARC members oversaw the
refurbishment of two residences that now have full and
redundant communications capabilities and serve as a base
of operations in the field. With dedicated support from
both Embassy Khartoum and Washington, the ARC team acquired
field staff, including interpreters and drivers, procured
vehicles, established operating and reporting procedures,
and laid the foundation for a self-sustained and long-term
presence in Darfur. Field officers also cultivated a broad
network of contacts in the international, civil society,
local and humanitarian communities. In September 2006, ARC
members - in close collaboration with USAID - opened the
Peace Secretariat in El Fasher. Led by the African Union
(AU) and supported behind the scenes by Embassy field
officers, this facility continues to evolve as one of the
hubs for peace process-related activities in Darfur. The

STATE 00056784 002 OF 003


U.S. is currently the only country maintaining a permanent
diplomatic presence in Darfur, though other countries,
including Canada, the UK and the Netherlands, have taken
note of the USG's leadership in the field and are
considering similar means of enhancing their own ground-
level visibility.

--------------------------------------------- --
UNCONVENTIONAL DIPLOMATIC OPERATIONS AND DUTIES
--------------------------------------------- --

5. (U) The scope of responsibilities and duties for a
Darfur field officer continues to evolve as the political,
security, social and humanitarian dynamics on the ground
change. At a minimum, however, the officer may be expected
to fill both managerial and substantive roles. On the
management side, the officer will oversee a foreign service
national staff that includes drivers,
interpreters/assistants, a local guard force, an
administrative assistant, and cleaners. He/she will also
be ultimately responsible for the smooth functioning of
logistic, financial and administrative requirements related
to Darfur field operations, cooperating closely with all
Embassy staff sections and the U.S. contracting officer
technical representative (COTR), who is also based in El
Fasher.

6. (U) On substance, the field officer(s) are responsible
for providing substantive reporting to Embassy and
Washington on critical political, security, economic,
social and humanitarian matters. Moreover, officers must
manage relationships with AMIS, provide advisory support to
the AU political affairs section in El Fasher, continue to
publicize and develop the role and effective functioning of
the Peace Secretariat, and maintain contact with both DPA
signatory and non-signatory representatives. As the peace
process morphs, the field officer will be responsible for
identifying areas where the USG may play a constructive
role, whether that is supporting ongoing multilateral
efforts to bridge differences between the GoS and non-
signatory groups or unilateral actions, such as funding
grassroots reconciliation efforts. As needed, the officer
may serve as the U.S. representative on the AMIS Ceasefire
Commission (CFC) or other bodies created under the DPA.
He/she should continue to develop relationships with senior
UN, NGO, civil society and government officials throughout
Darfur and must continue to facilitate and report on
coordination between the AU, UN and other stakeholders in
DPA implementation or peace process-related activities. As
plans for the introduction of a UN Light and Heavy Support
Package and, ultimately, a hybrid force move forward, the
field officer shall report on progress, identify capacity
gaps and suggest measures that the U.S. may take to
expedite these processes. The field officer will also be
expected to coordinate all manner of visits - ranging from
Embassy officials to Congressional delegations - to Darfur.
Periodically, he/she may travel to other parts of Darfur to
monitor specific issues or respond to Embassy taskings, and
shall return to Khartoum every two-three weeks to read
classified traffic and synchronize policy and program
efforts between the field and capital.

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LIFE IN THE FIELD
-----------------

7. (U) A TDY tour in Darfur is a transformational
diplomatic experience. While living and working conditions
have improved significantly since the first ARC members
arrived in June 2006, life in the field is dramatically
different than serving in the capital. The two USG
residences in El Fasher provide a functional base of
operations for field officers to live and conduct business.
Unlike in Afghanistan or Iraq, where there are significant
USG logistical footprints, Darfur field officers must be
prepared to improvise and fend for themselves, tapping into
locally available resources. Internet connectivity is
generally reliable and there are redundant forms of phone
communication (local cell network and satellite). Still,
power outages, extreme climatic conditions, temperamental
water supply, government-imposed curfews, logistical
challenges, scant social outlets, limited local
availability of goods and services, and fluctuating
security conditions are just a few of the factors that
shape life in the field.

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WHAT IT TAKES - RECRUITING PARAMETERS
-------------------------------------

STATE 00056784 003 OF 003


8. (U) Candidates for TDY tours in Darfur must, above all,
be flexible self-starters capable of working in ambiguous
and fluid conflict-affected environments. Qualified Civil
Servants and Foreign Service Officers are eligible.
Individuals who are available for deployment as early as
mid-March are encouraged to apply. Because of the heavy
interaction with AMIS, rebel movements and Sudanese Armed
Forces (SAF), candidates with a military/security
background or significant political-military reporting
experience are desired. Previous experience working in
austere environments or conflict zones, such as Provincial
Reconstruction Teams (PRT) in Iraq or Afghanistan, and a
solid understanding of international and humanitarian
organizations' field activities are also important
qualifications. Candidates are not required to speak
Arabic, though this is an advantage. Potential field
officers must have a Class I medical clearance; strong
analytical, interpersonal, written and oral communication,
organizational and managerial skills are essential.
Candidates should be willing to work long hours in less
than ideal conditions with little or no direct supervision.
Continuity is prized in the field and candidates willing to
serve six month tours (or more) will be highly considered.
Ties, loafers and formal office attire can be left at home.

-------
BENNIES
-------

9. (U) The greatest benefit in volunteering to serve as a
Darfur field officer is the satisfaction of contributing to
one of the USG's highest foreign policy priorities. This
exciting field position allows expansive room for
initiative and creativity and provides a unique
transformational diplomatic experience that few others in
the State Department may gain. Beyond personal and
professional enrichment, a field officer on a four-six
month TDY will receive a one-week regional R&R at mid tour.
Field officers are entitled also to 25 percent Post
differential (after 42 days on the ground) and 25 percent
danger pay (immediately). Personnel serving in Darfur will
be expected to return to Khartoum periodically for a hot
shower and decent meal.

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HOW TO APPLY
------------

10. (U) Post is seeking to backfill positions in the field
within the May/June timeframe at the latest. Applications
should consist of a detailed resume and cover letter
explaining the candidate's interest and relevant functional
or regional experience. Candidates should obtain at least
provisional agreement beforehand from their home offices or
duty stations that, if selected, they will be able to
deploy to Darfur for four-six months as soon as May/June.
Complete applications should be sent as soon as possible
via email to AF/SPG Deputy Director Jason Small, who, in
conjunction with Embassy Khartoum, will select suitable
candidates. As we expect these positions in Darfur to
continue, candidates who are not selected for the period
beginning in May may be considered for tours at a later
time.

11. (U) Interested candidates should contact Jason Small in
AF/SPG. Eythan Sontag in S/CRS can reply to specific
questions on substantive field issues and provide first-
hand insights into this field assignment.

12. (U) Minimize Considered.
RICE

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