Category Archives: Confirmed

Confirmations: Childress, Malinowski, Birx, Whitaker, Tueller, Westphal

- Domani Spero

 

The confirmations for presidential nominees are now moving as fast as a turtle’s pace.  Below is a round-up of the latest confirmations from the U.S. Senate this past week:

April 7, 2014

Mark Bradley Childress, of Virginia, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the United Republic of Tanzania.

April 02, 2014

  • Tomasz P. Malinowski, of the District of Columbia, to be Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.
  • Deborah L. Birx, of Maryland, to be Ambassador at Large and Coordinator of United  States Government Activities to Combat HIV/AIDS

April 01, 2014

Kevin Whitaker, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Colombia.

March 27, 2014

Matthew H. Tueller, of Utah, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class  of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the  United States of America to the Republic of Yemen.

March 26, 2014

Joseph William Westphal, of New York, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Screen Shot 2014-03-29

The newly arrived U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Dr. Joseph Westphal introduces President Obama, March 29, 2014 at the US Embassy. Behind Ambasador Westphal is Deputy Chief of Mission Timothy Lenderking (with red tie). Photo via US Embassy Riyadh/FB

 

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Confirmations: Barry Heyman, Puneet Talwar, Dwight L. Bush Sr, Timothy M. Broas , Arun Madhavan Kumar

– Domani Spero

On March 12, the U.S. Senate confirmed the following State Department nominee by voice vote:

  • Bruce Heyman, of IL, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Canada

On March 13, the U.S. Senate confirmed a few more:

  • Puneet Talwar – to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Political-Military Affairs)
  • Dwight L. Bush, Sr – to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Morocco
  • Timothy M. Broas – to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of the Netherlands
  • Arun Madhavan Kumar – to be Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Director General of the United States and Foreign Commercial Service (FCS)

Below is Ambassador Broas in an intro video produced by the State Dept’s Bureau of International Information Programs where he talks about his Dutch ancestry and how he wants to connect with the people of the Netherlands! 

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Senate Confirmations: Rose Gottemoeller to State/T; Michael Hammer to Chile

– Domani Spero

On March 6, the U.S. Senate confirmed a couple of executive nominations for the State Department:

Rose Eilene Gottemoeller of Virginia, to be Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security; Confirmed: 58-42

Secretary Clinton announced on February 7, 2012 that President Obama has designated Rose Gottemoeller as the Acting Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security (T).  As Acting Under Secretary she  also remained in her role as Assistant Secretary for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance (AVC).  She was sworn in as the Assistant Secretary of State for State/AVC on April 6, 2009. She was the chief U.S. negotiator of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with the Russian Federation, which entered into force on February 5, 2011.  Ms. Gottemoeller received a B.S. from Georgetown University, and a M.A. from George Washington University. She is fluent in Russian.

Photo via @Gottemoeller

Photo via @Gottemoeller

Michael A. Hammer, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Chile; Confirmed by voice vote.

Ambassador Hammer is a career member of the United States Senior Foreign Service. He previously served as the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs from March 2012 to August 2013.  He also served as Acting Assistant Secretary and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs.  Ambassador Hammer grew up in Latin America, living in Honduras, El Salvador, Colombia, Venezuela, and Brazil.  He is fluent in Spanish and speaks French and Icelandic.  Ambassador Hammer and his wife Margret Bjorgulfsdottir have three children.

Screen Shot 2014-02-06

Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Mike Hammer dons
a funny hat and hams it up with students after taking their questions
during the “Mock Reporter” activity.
Photo by Bill Palmer | State Department
(State Magazine, June 2013)

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Confirmations: Smith, Sherman, Novelli, Kaidanow, Gardner

– Domani Spero

 

On February 12, 2014, the U.S. Senate confirmed the following executive nominations for the State Department:

  • Anthony Luzzatto Gardner, of New York, to be Representative of the United States  of America to the European Union, with the rank and status of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.
  • Tina S. Kaidanow, of the District of Columbia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Coordinator for Counterterrorism, with the rank and status of Ambassador at Large (State/CT)
  • Catherine Ann Novelli, of Virginia, to be an Under Secretary of State (Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment) State/E
  • Robert A. Sherman, of Massachusetts, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Portuguese Republic.
  • Daniel Bennett Smith, of Virginia, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Intelligence and Research) State/INR

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Confirmations: Baucus, Rivkin, Sewall, Stengel

– Domani Spero

 

On February 11, the U.S. Senate confirmed the following executive nominations for the State Department:

Previously on February 6, the Senate also confirmed the nomination of Max Sieben Baucus, of Montana, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the People’s Republic of China.

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Senate Confirms Former Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson for the Near Eastern Affairs Bureau

– Domani Spero

Late afternoon on December 16, the Senate began a 15 minute roll call vote on confirmation of Executive Calendar #406, Anne W. Patterson, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Career Ambassador, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs).  She was confirmed by 78-16 votes.

The Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA), currently headed by Acting Assistant Secretary Beth Jones, deals with U.S. foreign policy and U.S. diplomatic relations with AlgeriaBahrainEgyptIranIraqIsraelJordan,KuwaitLebanonLibyaMoroccoOmanPalestinian Territories,QatarSaudi ArabiaSyriaTunisiaUnited Arab Emirates, andYemen. Regional policy issues that NEA handles include Iraq, Middle East peace, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, and political and economic reform.

The former Deputy State IG, and former ambassador to Egypt (also to El Salvador and Colombia) will now be in charge of that whole region.

Ambassador Patterson  will take over a bureau that this past summer, sacrificed one of it’s DASes in the Benghazi fallout.   She succeeds Jeffrey Feltman whose NEA bureau back in 2011 gets high marks despite the workload and chaos.  See Near Eastern Affairs Bureau in Action Gets High Marks: Outstanding Job, High Morale Amidst Intense Workload and Regional Chaos.  Ambassador Feltman left in May 2012 for the Political Affairs position in the UN.

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Heather Higginbottom Confirmed as Deputy Secretary for Management and Resources

– Domani Spero

On December 13, 2013, the U.S. Senate confirmed Heather Anne Higginbottom, of the District of Columbia, to be Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources with a 74-17 votes.

The next roll call votes will be at 5:30pm on Monday, December 16th for the confirmation of Ambassador Anne Patterson as Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs.

Now that Ms. Higginbottom is officially D/MR, there’s another vacancy in the top ranks of Foggy Bottom.  Citing senior officials, Laura Rozen of the Back Channel reported back in August that the former US Ambassador to Brazil Thomas Shannon is likely to get tapped to succeed Ms. Higginbottom as Counselor to Secretary Kerry.

Screen Shot 2013-12-14

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Confirmations: Gregory B. Starr, James Walter Brewster, Jr., Philip S. Goldberg

– Domani Spero

On November 14, the U.S. Senate confirmed the following nominations for the Department of State:

  • Gregory B. Starr – to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Diplomatic Security)
  • James Walter Brewster, Jr. – to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Dominican Republic
  • Philip S. Goldberg – to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of the Philippines

A/S Gregory Starr is not a stranger to Diplomatic Security, of course.  From July 2004 through March 2007, Mr. Starr served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Countermeasures where he was responsible for “formulating security policy and plans for countermeasures in the areas of physical security, technical security, and Diplomatic Courier operations for the Department’s overseas and domestic operations and facilities.”  He previously served as Director of the Diplomatic Security Service from April 2007 until his retirement in May 2009.  From May 2009 until January 2013, Mr. Starr served as United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Safety and Security.  But he was soon back to the fold.  On February 1, 2013, he was named acting Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security.  Mr. Starr succeeds Eric J. Boswell who held the Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security job from 2008 until 2012, when the later was snared by Benghazi. But it looks like not everyone is happy to welcome Mr. Starr back.  In September, current and former State Department officials dished to The Cable’s John Hudson that “confirming Starr could be a mistake and raised a string of fresh allegations against him.” (See Allegations Swirl Around Obama’s Pick for State Department Security Chief).  That made a brief splash but  State stood behind the nominee, including the State Department Chief of Staff David Wade.  And Mr. Starr is now officially the Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security.

James Walter Brewster, Jr. was nominated by President Obama back in July.  Officially In: James “Wally” Brewster, Jr. to the Dominican Republic, an Island of Grace and Tolerance. Lots of noise about this nominee. Religious groups in the Dominican Republic were reportedly outraged by the nomination of a gay ambassador to this conservative country. They even organized  “Black Monday” protests. And then this happened:  Dominican Republic: Cardinal uses the word “faggot” to refer to US ambassador nominee. And this:  Diocese Of Catholic Cardinal Who Called Obama Ambassador Nominee ‘Faggot’ Has Pedophilia Scandal.   The end. The former National LGBT Co-Chair for the Democratic National Committee and Board Member of the Human Rights Campaign fund should soon be in Santo Domingo.

Philip S. Goldberg until recently was A/S to State/INR.   He was previously ambassador to Bolivia in 2006 and in 2008, Evo Knievel’s government gave him 72 hours to leave the country, after declaring him persona non grata.  He succeeds Ambassador Harry Thomas who departed the Philippines in October 2014.  With the departure of Ambassador Thomas, Deputy Chief of Mission Brian L. Goldbeck assumed duties as the Chargé d’Affaires.  US Embassy Manila’s presser says that “Chargé d’Affaires Brian L. Goldbeck led a joint U.S. government team to areas affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda to assess the damage and review relief operations with the Government of the Philippines.”  Sorry, no photos or videos available.

Currently unfolding in Ambassador Goldberg’s new host country is Operation Damayan, the U.S. humanitarian aid and disaster relief effort in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.  Below is BGEN Paul Kennedy, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade commander, talking to a Rueters reporter about his mission in the Philipines with Operation Damayan.

The aircraft carrier USS George Washington and support vessels arrived in the Philippines Nov. 14, 2013, to aid assistance efforts.  USNS Charles Drew, USS Emory S. Land, USS Bowditch, USS Lassen and USNS Yukon are now in the Philippines to provide relief efforts.  The commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet on November 13 also directed the activation of USNS Mercy to prepare the hospital ship for possible deployment to the Philippines. If deployed, the ship currently berthed in San Diego will arrive in the island nation in December.

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Senate Confirms Ambassador Robert O. Blake, Jr. for Indonesia

– Domani Spero

 

On November 5, 2013, the U.S. Senate confirmed by unanimous vote Ambassador Robert O. Blake, Jr. as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Indonesia.

President Obama announced Ambassador Blake’s nomination on July 30, 2013. At that time, the WH released the following brief bio:

Ambassador Robert Blake, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Career-Minister, is Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs.  Previously, he served as Ambassador to the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Republic of Maldives from 2006 to 2009.  Prior to that, Ambassador Blake served as the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India from 2003 to 2006.  Previous domestic assignments include: Executive Assistant to the Under Secretary for Political Affairs from 2001 to 2003, Deputy Executive Secretary from 2000 to 2001, and the Turkey Desk Officer from 1998 to 2000.  Overseas assignments include:  Head of the Political Section at the U.S. Embassy Tunis, Tunisia from 1995 to 1998 and Economic Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Algiers, Algeria from 1993 to 1994.  He received a B.A. from Harvard College and an M.A. from John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake, the Fourth King of Bhutan Jigme Singye Wangchuk, and three of his wives pose for a photo in front of Dechencholing Palace, in Thimphu, Bhutan, on April 29, 2010. [State Department Photo/Public Domain]

Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake, the Fourth King of Bhutan Jigme Singye Wangchuk, and three of his wives pose for a photo in front of Dechencholing Palace, in Thimphu, Bhutan, on April 29, 2010. [State Department Photo/Public Domain]

 

 

Ambassador Blake is the son of retired Ambassador Robert O. Blake.  Indonesia will be his second ambassadorial posting.  He succeeds Scot Marciel who became Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary at the EAP Bureau in August 2013, after serving for three years as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Indonesia.

Indonesia is one of those posts in the Foreign Service where very few political appointees dare to go.  In fact, since the 1960, the WH has made 17 ambassadorial appointments to Jakarta. Of those appointments, only one was a political appointee, Paul D. Wolfowitz who served as ambassador there from 1986-1989.

 

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U.S. Senate Confirms Julia Frifield as Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs (H)

– By Domani Spero

On October 16, the U.S. Senate confirmed the nomination of Julia Frifield – to be an Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs. The WH released the following brief bio when President Obama announced her nomination on July 18, 2013:

Julia Frifield is Chief of Staff to U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski, a position she has held since 2004.  She served as Senator Mikulski’s Legislative Director from 1999 to 2004 and Legislative Assistant from 1995 to 1999.  Previously, Ms. Frifield was a Legislative Assistant for U.S. Senator Harris Wofford from 1992 to 1995.  From 1989 to 1992, Ms. Frifield worked for U.S. Senator Bill Bradley, first as a Legislative Correspondent and then as Special Assistant.  Ms. Frifield received a B.A. from Smith College and an M.A. from Cambridge University.

The Cable noted back in July that Secretary Kerry  technically poached Frifield away from Mikulski, but that the hire was amicably arranged last spring.

“I want someone who has been chief of staff to someone like Barbara,” Kerry said at the time. “Or why don’t we just recruit Barbara’s chief of staff — if she’ll let me.”

The Bureau of Legislative Affairs (H) coordinates legislative activity for the Department of State and advises the Secretary, the Deputy, as well as the Under Secretaries and Assistant Secretaries on legislative strategy. H also facilitates effective communication between State Department officials and the Members of Congress and their staffs. This was an excellent pick not just because of her long experience in Congress but because for almost 10 years, Ms. Frifield was the chief of staff for Senator Barb, the Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Ms. Frifield succeeds David S. Adams who was appointed to this position in August 2011. Previously Adams was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for House Affairs. But prior to coming to State, he served for 24 years on the staff of Gary L. Ackerman a member of the United States House who sat in the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Mr. Adams in now a principal at the Podesta Group.

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