In the days after the 2016 election, President Donald Trump said he wanted to hire “the best people” and had chosen the chief of the US Embassy in Tokyo as his ambassador to the country.
But as his administration has rolled out a series of policy changes, including a proposed rule that requires all government workers to have government-issued IDs, a lot of American diplomats are struggling to find suitable office equipment.
Some American embassy staff have been unable to find a government-approved ID because the US government has banned it, leaving many to rely on the online catalog of vendors they can search.
“It’s not that we can’t get things,” said Mark Hickey, an assistant director at the US State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security and an assistant for the Office of Diplomacy and Trade in Tokyo.
“The question is, is there a good product?”
A large part of the problem comes down to the fact that many of the vendors on the market do not have a “certified” ID like a driver’s license or passport.
Many of the online options are not even in English, so the sellers’ English-language names are often difficult to read.
Hickey said it is crucial to have an American-approved, government-branded ID on hand to help you search for government-supplied office equipment that fits your needs.
But if you’re a foreign service member or an employee of a foreign government, there’s a lot to be worried about.
Hacking the system US diplomats are not the only ones who are having trouble finding official documents for their work.
A growing number of US embassies around the world have been forced to hire foreign-issued ID cards, according to a 2016 report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Washington-based think tank.
And a 2017 report by Reporters Without Borders found that in a few dozen countries, the number of foreign-certified ID cards issued annually by the US has been declining in recent years.
The decline was especially pronounced in China, where the government has taken measures to clamp down on the use of the cards, which many of its diplomats still use.
According to CSIS, there were about 5,000 foreign-approved IDs issued annually in 2017.
The number of passports issued by the United States increased from 8,600 in 2015 to 9,700 in 2017, the report said.
It’s unclear what caused the sharp decline in foreign-passport issuance, but the US’s reliance on foreign passports has caused it to be one of the most heavily regulated countries in the world.
As the number and type of passports are controlled by the State Department, the use and cost of the passport is also tightly controlled.
For example, passports that are issued for a limited number of purposes and are used for the purpose of one of those purposes are generally considered less secure than ones that are used solely for other purposes.
As a result, the State Dept. often issues passports that do not require the use for a specific purpose.
For instance, a US passport that is used solely to board a plane, or for travel to a foreign country, is not considered to be more secure than one that is only used for other legitimate purposes.
US embassies in Asia also have had difficulty finding approved passports.
According the CSIS report, in 2018 there were 8,400 foreign-authored passports issued annually.
That number dropped to 8,000 in 2019 and 8,100 in 2020.
The overall number of issued passports decreased from 9,800 in 2018 to 8.1 million in 2020, according the report.
But there was also a sharp rise in the number that were not approved by the state department.
The report said the number declined by more than 2 million since the beginning of the year.
Hitting the road Again and again, diplomats who are trying to find government-certifying documents to work with have to make an extra effort to travel to foreign countries and back, said John Koo, a former ambassador to Thailand.
“You can’t be on your phone,” he said.
“If you have to do that, you’re not going to have a problem.
You’re not allowed to go back and forth to a different country to get it approved.”
While he understands why some diplomats might be worried, Koo said the reality is that if you need an approved passport for an international trip, it will be hard to find one.
He noted that the number is expected to continue to decline as the number, type, and purpose of foreign passports is restricted.
Koo also pointed out that the US embassy is only required to issue foreign passports for one of five types of trips: trips abroad for business; travel for personal use; travel to and from an international business meeting; and travel to an international conference.
That leaves plenty of room for people who need a passport for a trip to a business meeting and for personal travel to meet with friends or family.
Koop said that the