TFSG, founded in 1994, is a group of 40 people who have spent time outside of America with America's Foreign Service, academia, or business, or as an accompanying family member.
TFSG presents four luncheons with speakers and one members-only luncheon each year. This website lists the speakers with bibliographies that TFSG members write to accompany each speech. It also features links to international databases, publications, think tanks, and published works by members and speakers

-- Texas --

June 2019 Luncheon Meeting
11:30 a.m.; Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Mimi’s Café
10515 N. Mopac Expy Northbound, #O, Austin, TX  78758

Donald M. Sheehan
Foreign Policy Advisor (POLAD) to U.S. Army North
Fort Sam Houston, Texas

 “The U.S. Hostage Recovery Enterprise:
An Ongoing Interagency Success Story”


The June menu will be announced soon.

RSVP:  Please confirm your attendance and menu choices by noon on Tuesday, June 4.

  • By mail to TFSG, P.O. Box 50246, Austin, TX  78763-0246, or
  • By e-mail to Joe McLean at, or
  • By phone to 512-345-6878 or 512-797-0538

Lunch begins at noon.  Members $24, guests accompanied by members $30.  No new reservations after 12 noon on Tuesday, June 4.  No-shows or cancellations after this date will be billed for their lunch.  AFSA and DACOR members are welcome to attend one luncheon per year, except for the December luncheon, at the member price.

Checks made out to TFSG and mailed in advance is our preferred payment method (P.O. Box 50246, Austin, TX  78763-0246).  Please include your menu choices, your name, and a phone number or email address so we can confirm your reservation.  All reservations are confirmed, so if you do not get a confirmation, please contact us.

TFSG memberships are $30 per person for three years or $12 per person per year.  The three-year membership price for those who live more than 50 miles from Austin or are over 90 years of age is $20 for one person and a spouse/partner living at the same address.  Memberships make excellent gifts for people who have spent years overseas and their family members.


About Our Speaker

Don Sheehan received his BS degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in 1978.  After serving as a U.S. Army officer and commander, Don toured the world for a year before working in the private sector and obtaining an MBA degree from George Mason University in 1991.  Don joined the State Department in 1993 as a Foreign Service Officer and had his first diplomatic assignment in Krakow, Poland.   He is a State Department FSO of 26 years.

Now the Foreign Policy Advisor (POLAD) to the Commanding General of U.S. Army North, Don recently completed two years as the Chief of Staff in the Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs (S/SPEHA) to help coordinate diplomatic, military, investigative, and intelligence activities to bring U.S. hostages home.  Prior to that he was a senior fellow and Diplomat in Residence at the East-West Center in Honolulu, and spent one year as the executive assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES), helping oversee U.S. policy covering the ocean, climate change, wildlife trafficking, managing the Ebola crisis, and microbial diseases, while promoting diplomacy through science.
Don also served two tours in Afghanistan (2007-2008 and 2012-2014), the first as Deputy Political-Military Counselor, the second as Political Advisor (POLAD) to the commanding generals of both the U.S. Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan (CSTC-A) and the NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan (NTM-A).  These commands managed $9.2 billion (FY14) to “train, advise, assist and equip” the Afghan National Security Forces of 387,000 army, police, and air force personnel. As the POLAD, he provided political advice and counsel to over 20 general officers, their staffs, and multiple U.S. and foreign civilian and military advisors who worked within the Afghan Defense and Interior Ministries.  From 2007-2008, Don was in Kabul as the Deputy Political-Military Affairs Counselor, supervising a section responsible for all political and military security issues facing the U.S. and the Afghan governments while interacting with 50+ nations and allies in the military theatre.  In addition to overseeing the politically sensitive GITMO detainee portfolio, Don worked with senior U.S. and Afghan officials on policy planning, military programs, overseeing Afghanistan’s National Security Forces, pre-election security, and supporting major U.S. military and civilian training programs for both the Afghan National Army and National Police recruits.
Don also served twice in Brussels, both at the U.S. Mission to the European Union (USEU, 2008-2012), and also at the U.S. Mission to NATO (USNATO, 2004-2007).  At USEU, his portfolio included counter-terrorism and WMD issues, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, all former Russian states, and Central Asia, while also helping with AFPAK, Balkan, and Asian affairs.  At USNATO, Don covered U.S. Missile Defense plans, the long-standing Conventional Forces of Europe (CFE) Treaty, Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), and counter-terrorism.  In Brussels and Kabul, Don's diplomatic experience was enhanced considerably by his service as a U.S. army officer who managed WMD.

From 1998 to 2004, Don was in Washington, DC, where he was the State Department’s representative to the North American Free Trade Accord (NAFTA, 2002-2004), Romania desk officer (2000-2002), and in the SEED Assistance Coordinator’s office (1998-2000), where he oversaw $650 million in U.S. assistance and private investment programs to help revitalize private sector economies in Central Europe, from the Baltics to the Balkans.  Don also served as a Vice Consul in Krakow, Poland (1994-1996), and as the Economic Officer in Tunis, Tunisia (1996-1998).

From 1985-1990, Don worked in the private sector at a law firm while obtaining his MBA in International Finance.  From 1979-1984, Don was an army captain who commanded a field artillery battery of 150 men in Augsburg, Germany.

Don speaks French, Polish, and passable German, is married, and has three college graduates who love the Foreign Service life.


Information of Interest
Austin is home to several groups who bring in experts on various aspects of national and international affairs, and some of their upcoming major speakers/events are listed on their websites.  Please share this list with your friends.

Clements Center events (University of Texas at Austin)

Strauss Center events (University of Texas at Austin

Kozmetsky Center events (St. Edward’s University)

LBJ Presidential Library events

GlobalAustin events


TFSG Officers
Chair:  Jerry Mitchell,
President:  John S. Wood,
Treasurer:  Joe McLean,
Editor:  Sandy Wilder,
Webmaster:  Jane Dunham,
Transportation Coordinator:  vacant
Contact Coordinator:  Doris Scott,