By Adriane ElliotJuly 18, 2018
Emily Post said "to make a pleasant and friendly impression is not only good manners, but equally good business."
The U.S. military agrees.
Department of the Army Pamphlet 600-60 notes that "Protocol is the combination of good manners and common sense, which allows effective communications between heads of state and their representatives."
This is especially important for a command that interacts daily with more than 150 countries throughout the globe as part of its foreign policy mission.
The Security Assistance Command develops and manages security assistance programs and foreign military sales cases to build partner capacity, support combatant command engagement strategies and strengthen U.S. global partnerships. The organization operates on Secretary of Defense James Mattis's oft-quoted premise that "nations with strong allies thrive," and those without decline.
To this end, USASAC Protocol Manager Rose Wiley ensures the command interacts appropriately -- culturally sensitive, seamless and distraction free -- with partner nations and government officials.
A protocol specialist since 2002, Wiley said she has managed protocol for engagements that resulted in the lifting of embargoes, a multi-billion dollar runway deal and arms sales with foreign nations.
Part of her expertise includes knowing what to do, and what not to do, to offend foreign partners and weaken negotiations.
"For example," Wiley said, "I would not invite Muslims to dinner and serve pork or allow the meals to be prepared with pork products. If my organization hosts a bilateral meeting at a local hotel, I would not place my Japanese guests on the fourth floor because the number 4 is considered bad in the Japanese culture.
"These are seemingly minor infractions that could negatively impact negotiations," she explained. "It can result in embarrassment to the U.S. government, the breaking down of relationships and the loss of major business deals."
To improve her protocol skillset, Wiley graduated from the Protocol School of Washington's Intercultural Etiquette and Protocol Trainer seminar June 12 at the Ritz Carlton-Tysons Corner, McLean, Virginia. The next step, she said, is to offer seminars on business etiquette, international protocol and dining. Classes she hopes to offer include Dine Like a Diplomat, Business Protocol for Professionals, Outclass the Competition and How to Succeed in the International Arena.
"Today, the personal and professional demands placed upon our workforce surpass any experienced in the past," Wiley said. "USASAC personnel will find themselves hosting foreign delegates or attending functions with them, and we want to ensure our personnel not only represent the United States and our command well, but we want to give them the tools to, in essence, serve as unofficial diplomats.
"If they are interacting with foreign dignitaries, we do not want a lack of protocol to weaken the command's ability to negotiate cases that support our combatant command strategies and ultimately U.S. national security."
Classes for security assistance personnel will be announced through the command's training manager. Federal employees who perform protocol duties for the military can contact Wiley for information at firstname.lastname@example.org.