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22 U.S. Code § 3982 - Assignments to Foreign Service positions

(a) Positions assignable; basis for assignment
The Secretary (with the concurrence of the agency concerned) may assign a member of the Service to any position classified under section 3981 of this title in which that member is eligible to serve (other than as chief of mission or ambassador at large), and may assign a member from one such position to another such position as the needs of the Service may require.
In making assignments under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall assure that a member of the Service is not assigned to or prohibited from being assigned to a position at a post in a particular geographic area, or domestically, in a position working on issues relating to a particular country or geographic area, on the basis of the race, ethnicity, or religion of that member.
(b) Filling of positions by members of Service; employment of members of State Department and other agenciesPositions designated as Foreign Service positions normally shall be filled by the assignment of members of the Service to those positions. Subject to that limitation—
Foreign Service positions may be filled by the assignment for specified tours of duty of employees of the Department and, under interagency agreements, employees of other agencies; and
Senior Foreign Service positions may also be filled by other members of the Service.
(c) Charge d’affaires

The President may assign a career member of the Service to serve as charge d’affaires or otherwise as the head of a mission (or as the head of a United States office abroad which is designated under section 3902(a)(3)[1] of this title by the Secretary of State as diplomatic in nature) for such period as the public interest may require.

(d) Competitive ability with respect to chief of mission positions and for assignments outside areas of specialization

The Secretary of State, in conjunction with the heads of the other agencies utilizing the Foreign Service personnel system, shall implement policies and procedures to insure that Foreign Service officers and members of the Senior Foreign Service of all agencies are able to compete for chief of mission positions and have opportunities on an equal basis to compete for assignments outside their areas of specialization.

[1]  See References in Text note below.
Editorial Notes
References in Text

Section 3902(a)(3) of this title, referred to in subsec. (c), was redesignated section 3902(3) of this title pursuant to Pub. L. 98–164, which struck out the designation “(a)” and subsec. (b) of section 3902.


2021—Subsec. (a)(2). Pub. L. 117–81 inserted “, or domestically, in a position working on issues relating to a particular country or geographic area,” after “particular geographic area”.

2016—Subsec. (a)(2). Pub. L. 114–323 inserted “or prohibited from being assigned to” after “assigned to” and struck out “exclusively” before “on the basis”.

1983—Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 98–164 added subsec. (d).

Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries
Report Respecting Policies and Procedures Adopted To Improve Competitive Ability of Personnel

Pub. L. 98–164, title I, § 130(c), Nov. 22, 1983, 97 Stat. 1028, directed Secretary of State, not later than one year after Nov. 22, 1983, to submit a report to Speaker of House of Representatives and chairman of Committee on Foreign Relations of Senate describing policies and procedures adopted pursuant to the amendment made by section 130(b) of Pub. L. 98–164, adding subsec. (d) of this section, prior to repeal by Pub. L. 103–236, title I, § 139(10), Apr. 30, 1994, 108 Stat. 398.

Executive Documents
Delegation of Functions

Functions of President under subsec. (c) delegated to Secretary of State, see section 1 of Ex. Ord. No. 12293, Feb. 23, 1981, 46 F.R. 13969, set out as a note under section 3901 of this title.