Do I understand the USG's objectives and USAID's role in the Afghanistan? Am I mentally and physically resilient for the stresses of the work, the environment, and the separation from loved ones? And do I know how to react and respond to events of duress or trauma for the safety and security of myself or my colleagues?
Over the past few weeks, I've been in training specific to address these questions. USAID and other agencies invest a considerable amount of resources to prepare their staff for assignments to high threat posts overseas. A high threat environment is a post where there are risk considerations not present in other conventional posts.
A House bill defines these posts as:
(2) High risk, high threat post.--The term `high risk, high threat post' means a United States diplomatic or consular post, as determined by the Secretary, that, among other factors, is--
``(A) located in a country--
``(i) with high to critical levels of political violence and terrorism; and
``(ii) the government of which lacks the ability or willingness to provide adequate security; and
``(B) with mission physical security platforms that fall below the Department of State's established standards.The training has been interesting and very engaging. In some ways, reminiscent to DLI orientation training from before but specifically focused on select countries and with participants on at least their second tours (or much more) overseas. Training also includes the "Crash Bang" course which was the most hands-on and immersing training I've experienced yet in my Foreign Service career.
A good amount of time has been spent on the topic of resiliency to ensure we are physically and mentally prepared for this type of hardship environment. This includes having healthy habits and practices to have a successful tour and the plans for maintaining relationships at a distance. I've known for quite some time Afghanistan would be my ongoing post, but sometimes, particularly when friends and family express their concern, I wonder if I should be more worried than I am. But we decided on this assignment based on what was best for our family at the time and for the future. Serving in Afghanistan will definitely be a unique lifetime experience and opportunity seek to make a difference in one of the most impoverished nations in the world.
Here's to the next big adventure.
|An extra large dose of Emerson inspiration.|