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”


June Menu
Iced or hot tea, coffee, soft drinks, juices, hot chocolate, lemonade

Caesar salad

Entrée:  Choice of
(A) Tillamook Mac and Cheese (Bacon, roasted chicken, creamy Tillamook cheese sauce over a bed of penne pasta)
(B) Samuel Adams BBQ Pork Chop (Bone-in pork chop served with mashed potatoes and green beans)
(C) ½ Roasted Chicken (Served with mashed potatoes and green beans)
(D) Quiche Florentine (Spinach, aged Parmesan, and Swiss cheese.  Served with sliced tomatoes)

Dessert:  Crème Caramel (rich and silky custard topped with a caramel sauce)


Note:  John Wood will be stepping down as TFSG President at the June luncheon, so the luncheon will include a recognition of John’s years of service to TFSG.

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.

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
The April 2019 bibliography includes five pages, contributed by the speaker, of all the readings the Department of State suggests for the FS entry exam.  The other pages were contributed by The Foreign Service Journal, TFSG members, and Barnes & Noble – Arboretum, Austin, Texas.  The complete eight-page bibliography can be downloaded from the website for free (WWW.TFSG.ORG).  Or send $2 to TFSG, P.O. Box 50246, Austin, TX  78763, to have a printed copy mailed to any U.S. address, along with two of TFSG’s wallet-sized safer world travel cards.

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

The University of North Carolina publishes some excellent reading in their magazine, American Diplomacy (  The current issue includes this message from the publisher:

Welcome to the May edition of American Diplomacy.   In this issue, we mark NATO’s 70th anniversary with a selection of links and articles.  We also recall the Rwanda genocide through the analysis of former Ambassador to Rwanda Robert E. Gribbin and the eyewitness accounts of USAID colleagues.  Amb. Gribbin includes a unique list of books about Rwanda. 

Our Commentary section covers several regions and topics:  Judith Heimann discusses what might happen when a diplomat disagrees with official policy; Professor Mikael Barfod analyzes the state of multilateralism today and a possible role for the EU; NYU professor Alon Ben-Meir on U.S./Iran/Israel and a possible greater role for the EU; Georgetown visiting scholar Ophir Falk treats the difficulty and necessity of defining terrorism; and career diplomat Louis Sell revisits Kosovo and reviews its short history since independence. 

Eyewitness reports take us to Germany through Richard Gilbert’s recollections of the U.S. Embassy move from Bonn to Berlin and Ambassador (ret) Pru Bushnell’s look at the U.S. food airlift to Berlin as an effective form of security policy; Hans Tuch discusses arms control in the Reagan administration, recounting a master stroke of public diplomacy in Presidents Reagan’s speech to the Bundestag amid German public fear of nuclear weapons in Germany.  And Diane Johnston recounts China’s opening to educational and cultural exchange with the U.S. through a tribute to a courageous Chinese who supported the effort.

In this section, we are also pleased to inform you of the availability, at the Duke University Archives, of Ambassador Jack and Rebecca Matlock’s papers, which span more than three decades of a remarkable career in diplomacy.

Our Books Editor has selected seven new publications sure to be of interest and features two reviews: Jon Dorschner looks at Reimagining Pakistan (Transforming a Dysfunctional Nuclear State) by Hussain Haqqani, and Don Camp reviews a new biography of Richard Holbrooke, George Packer’s Our Man.

Our next issue is scheduled for September 1.   Until then, we wish you a relaxing and peaceful summer.  Renee M Earle, Publisher


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,