Category Archives: Regulations
On April 26, 2013, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC), introduced legislation to increase the independence and transparency of future Accountability Review Boards (ARB), the temporary investigative bodies that are convened to review security-related incidents that result in “serious injury, loss of life, or significant destruction of property at, or related to, a United States Government mission abroad, and in any case of a serious breach of security involving intelligence activities of a foreign government directed at a United States Government mission abroad.”
According to Mr. Royce’s website the “Accountability Review Board Reform Act of 2013” (H.R. 1768) will increase the independence of future ARBs from the State Department, limiting the Secretary of State’s role.
Here is part of Mr. Royce’s reasoning: “When then-Secretary of State Clinton testified about the Benghazi attack in January, she repeatedly referred to the ARB findings, calling it an ‘independent’ investigative body. But the fact is, Secretary Clinton convened the ARB and hand-picked four of its five members. This ARB failed to assess the roles of so-called “seventh floor” State Department officials in the decisions that led to the Benghazi mission’s severely compromised security posture, despite strong evidence suggesting these senior officials were involved. This legislation will ensure that future ARBs are, in fact, independent of State Department leadership.”
The text of the proposed legislation has not been posted yet. But according to Mr. Royce’s website, The Accountability Review Board Reform Act addresses the following:
- increases the five-member ARB’s independence from the State Department. Under current law, the Secretary of State appoints four of an ARB’s five members. Under this legislation, the Secretary will appoint only two of the five members, with the Chair of the Council of Inspectors General of Integrity and Efficiency (the chief U.S. inspector general) appointing two members, and the Director of National Intelligence appointing the fifth member.
- improves the staffing model of future ARBs. Currently, an ARB relies on State Department employees to assist with the investigation of other State Department employees. Under this legislation, ARB staff would be drawn from the Office of Inspector General.
- eliminates potential conflicts of interest by banning individuals from serving as an ARB member or an ARB staffer if they have a personal or professional relationship with someone expected to be investigated.
- enhances transparency and allows greater oversight of the ARB process. Current law requires that the Secretary disclose only the names of the five ARB members. This legislation requires the Secretary to disclose the names of any senior State Department employees tasked with assisting an ARB.
- allows greater oversight. Current law requires that the ARB submit a final report to the Secretary. This legislation requires that the ARB also submit the final report to Congress.
According to data in congress.gov, H.R.1768 was introduced by Rep Royce, Edward R. [CA-39] on 4/26/2013. It currently has 16 cosponsors and has been referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
We’ll post comments after we’ve seen the full text of H.R. 1768.
State’s OIG recently posted online its review of the three divisions in Diplomatic Security’s Directorate of Domestic Operations: 1) the Special Investigations Division (SID), 2) the Criminal Investigations (CR) Division, and 3) the Computer Investigations and Forensics (CIF) Division.
Here are the key findings:
- The Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) Special Investigations Division (SID), which investigates allegations of criminal and administrative misconduct, lacks a firewall to preclude the DS and Department of State (Department) hierarchies from exercising undue influence in particular cases.
- DS does not have a comprehensive, up-to-date manual with approved policies and guidelines on how to conduct investigations.
- DS’s quality assurance measures are not sufficient to ensure that investigations comport with law enforcement standards and powers. DS should use peer reviews to help correct flaws and identify best practices.
- Frequent agent turnover in DS investigative offices reduces long-term, specialized expertise and hampers complex criminal investigations.
- The Criminal Fraud Investigations (CFI) branch of the Criminal Investigations (CR) Division should become a new division.
- DS and the Bureau of Consular Affairs (CA) have not completed a long-pending memorandum of understanding regarding CA’s Consular Integrity Division (CID).
- Inspectors found personnel in the three Office of Investigations and Counterintelligence (ICI) divisions to be professional and dedicated to their jobs.
If you ever wonder why “it depends” is a common enough mantra over there, take a look:
The absence of a comprehensive, up-to-date manual increases the potential for errors, particularly for new agents who are forced to rely on on-the-job training. Inspectors discovered uncertainty among SID agents about which warnings to provide subjects prior to their interviews in investigations, though the wrong choice of warning can ruin a potential criminal prosecution. Inspectors were told that SID supervisors have sometimes pursued investigations excessively against other DS agents and that some supervisors have chosen to open cases on every allegation, including for those types of workplace issues that Department managers should ordinarily attempt to handle via other means. The likelihood of such problems increases when clear guidelines are lacking and individual preferences prevail.
Now, it’s not like this is a newly established office where folks are working from scratch. This office has been around forever investigating criminal and admin misconduct. It is utterly absurd that it does not have an up-to-date manual. The OIG report mercifully did not say which version of the manual this office is operating under; save folks the embarrassment of having to explain if the manual dates back to Jesse Helms days.
On independence, credibility, external influences and pressures:
In all matters relating to investigative work, the investigative organization needs to be free, in fact and appearance, from impairments to independence in both organization and attitude. Such independence is essential so that an organization’s decisions about obtaining evidence, conducting interviews, and making recommendations will be impartial and viewed as such by knowledgeable third parties. The credibility of the Department’s investigative organizations and disciplinary system depends on that independence, yet the perception exists among knowledgeable parties that external influences have negatively affected some SID investigations.
SID is one of many offices that report up the normal chain to the principal deputy assistant secretary and director of the Diplomatic Security Service. Foreign Service special agents in SID, 80 percent of whom are junior in rank, ordinarily serve only one tour as an investigator. Subjects of their investigations may include more senior DS agents; other senior DS agents are sometimes hostile witnesses for interviews. The SID supervisors also are in the DS mainstream and subject to regular “up or out” assignment and promotion processes. During inspection interviews, nearly every SID special agent acknowledged being aware that one or more suspects, witnesses, or senior Department officials could one day serve on a promotion board or on a DS assignment panel that would decide the investigator’s career prospects. Although most investigators said that they had not experienced career pressure in any particular cases, some had indeed felt such pressure. Several special agents in SID observed that Civil Service agents with sufficient rank are less susceptible to such pressure, as their careers do not depend on DS assignment panels or Foreign Service promotion boards.
It turns out that the SID chief is an FS-01 position, which, according to the OIG report “leaves any chief who aspires to the Senior Foreign Service vulnerable to pressure from above.” Unnamed sources also suggested to the OIG team that “having three bureaucratic layers between the SID chief and the DS Assistant Secretary makes sensitive cases vulnerable to multiple types of interference and the leaking of information.”
The OIG recommends that the Office of the Deputy Secretary (presumably the incoming D/MR who succeeds Mr. Nides) should “restructure the investigative responsibilities currently assigned to the Special Investigations Division. The outcome should include safeguards to prevent any Department of State or Diplomatic Security official from improperly influencing the commencement, course, or outcome of any investigation.”
Let’s see if that happens.
Should have been interesting to know which cases were alleged to have been interfered with, wouldn’t it? That would have been a scream.
Apparently, according to the Dead Men Working blog, “CFSO and AFSA both told State’s OIG that DS investigations into allegations of mis-or-malfeasance by Foreign Service members were subject to outside influence and were occasionally unprofessional.”
They told the OIG seven years ago. Yay!
- EPA accused of hacking private e-mail to block investigation of misdeeds at Montana Superfund site (junkscience.com)
- 5 Notable Excerpts from the Unposted SEC IG Reports (pogoblog.typepad.com)
- Infographic: Four Watchdogs Vacant for More Than 1,000 Days (pogoblog.typepad.com)
- Silenced? Senator Claims SurvivorsOf Benghazi Attack Told to ‘Be Quiet’ (foxnews.com)
Back on January 13, 2012, we blogged about the demise of ACPD or the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy (see PD Commission KIA by Congress; Welcome Back, Matt Armstrong):
Last December, after 63 years of existence, the Commission was KIA by Congress. And the USG saved $135,065, the Commission’s operating budget for FY2011 (salaries excepted). Besides the Executive Director, the only permanent staff of the ACPD, the Commission was supported by a detailee from DOD and two interns. At the time of its closure, there was no Y-tour FSO working with the Commission. Apparently, the senator who blocked ACPD’s reauthorization admitted he did so not because of merit, or value, or mission, or demand, or even actual cost. The gesture was symbolic and that ACPD happened to cross the senator’s sights at the wrong time; would he have seen DOD’s $547 million for public affairs?
Patricia Kushlis of WhirledView writes: “An effective Public Diplomacy Advisory Commission is the single bipartisan governmental entity that reports to both the executive and legislative branches about what the US could and should do to improve the country’s image abroad. Given the fragmentation of US public diplomacy activities since USIA’s demise, this country is more than ever in need of an independent watch-dog body tasked with putting the jig-saw pieces together enough, at least, to see, report on and critique the most critical parts – now flung across a multitude of departments and agencies.”
So the Commission has been dead for about 15 months but now it’s been re-authorized, retroactively re-authorized on January 3, 2013.
As of to-date, there does not seem to be any hint that the Commission will re-start work within the next 30-60 days.
The ACPD is supported by the office of the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs also known as the “R” Bureau (we’re looking at you A/S Tara Sonenshine). With the exception of that tiny blurb about the ACPD re-authorization, there reportedly is word from the R/Front Office that no other changes on the ACPD website be done without the expressed approval from Ms. Sonenshine’s office. It does not look like Matt Armstrong, the executive director or the rest of the Commission staff has also been reinstated.
We should note that the ACPD reports to the President and the Secretary of State.
Quick background on the ACPD:
Since 1948, the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy (ACPD) had been charged with appraising U.S. Government activities intended to understand, inform, and influence foreign publics and to increase the understanding of and support for these same activities.
The ACPD accomplished this through reports and symposiums that provide honest appraisals and informed discourse on these efforts. The ACPD conducted studies, inquiries, and meetings, and disseminates white papers, reports, and other publications with the approval of the chairperson and in consultation with the Executive Director.
Considering that the ACPD is tasked with appraising our public diplomacy programs, a good chunk of those programs produced by the “R” Bureau (hello Buzkashi Boys), is it appropriate for Ms. Sonenshine’s office to have hiring authority over the Commission’s staff or have authority on when it can operationally re-start or re-do its website? Does it need permission, too, when it can convene a meeting? The current rules has the chairman of the commission having the authority to appoint the executive director and other additional personnel. It sounds like the “R” Bureau is looking to change that.
The United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy (ACPD) is a bi-partisan entity. With taxpayer dollars leaking out everywhere in the name of public diplomacy, and not just from State, we need an independent commission that can appraise the effectivity of these programs. Furthermore, the law that created ACPD actually requires that the Commission conduct an assessment that considers the public diplomacy target impact, the achieved impact, and the cost of public diplomacy activities and international broadcasting. It is supposed to assess and rate whether public diplomacy programs were effective or not, whether appropriate goals were set or not, whether the programs were managed-well and were cost-efficient or if they do not have acceptable performance public diplomacy metrics for measuring results.
That’s a good enough reason to ensure that the ACPD is not staff by anyone from “R” or nominated by “R” who potentially can have a conflict of interest when it comes to bidding for future assignments within the State Department.
If this is all a misconception on our part, well, can you blame us if we’re reading the smoke signals? If you know why it’s been 60 days since ACPD had been reauthorized and it is still hobbled in the bureaucracy, our comment section is open.
- Buzkashi Boys: When U.S. Taxpayers Almost Won an Oscar (Or Smartifying Capacity Building) (diplopundit.net)
- Benghazi Shows State Department Must Rethink Public Diplomacy (usnews.com)
- Diplomacy and Public Opinion: Shaping a New Narrative (belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu)
We have blogged recently about the critical crime and violence in El Salvador (see State Dept Issues El Salvador Travel Warning: Critical Crime and Violence. We have also blogged about the carjacking of a US Embassy employee in Caracas. (see Letter From Caracas: Did You Hear About the American Diplomat Carjacked in Venezuela?) By the way, The Telegraph reported in December 2012 that “There are more murders in Venezuela than in the United States and the 27 countries of the European Union combined.” San Salvador (El Salvador) and Caracas (Venezuela) are both considered critical crime posts but are not designated danger pay post.
We’ve checked the State Department’s Allowances website and here is what it says about danger pay:
*The danger pay allowance is designed to provide additional compensation above basic compensation to all U.S. Government civilian employees, including Chiefs of Mission, for service at places in foreign areas where there exist conditions of civil insurrection, civil war, terrorism or wartime conditions which threaten physical harm or imminent danger to the health or well-being of an employee. These conditions do not include acts characterized chiefly as economic crime.
Note the last line of that explanation.
Danger pay factors used in determining the allowance include post evacuation/operating status, acts of violence, and post environmental conditions (see Danger Pay Factors (DS-578).
Under operating status, factors assessed include: the evacuation status (ordered or authorized), percentage of Eligible Family Members (EFMs) remaining at post during an authorized departure and whether or not post is on unaccompanied status or if limited family members are allowed at post.
Acts of violence includes killing, risk of death or severe injury, aggravated battery, kidnapping, sabotage, property damages, extortion, rioting, and hijacking.
Post environmental conditions includes terrorism conditions and civil war, civil insurrection and warfare conditions.
While “attempted hijacking of a privately owned vehicle” and “the hijacking of a privately owned vehicle has become a commonplace occurrence” are some of the factors to be considered under the Danger Pay Factors (DS-578), it is also appears that for purposes of danger pay designation, these incidents are not considered relevant if they are economically motivated and if committed for reasons not related to terrorism, civil insurrection, and/or war.
In fact the danger pay description clearly notes that *“These conditions do not include acts characterized chiefly as economic crime.”
Okay. So kidnapping and carjacking incidents in Iraq or Afghanistan probably contribute to its danger post designation but kidnapping and carjacking in say Venezuela or El Salvador where they would be considered an economic crime, would not?
But then you get Haiti, designated as 5% danger pay post as of 12/2010; that was down from 20% earlier that year. The embassy there also recently went on an embassy-imposed curfew due to security conditions.
Let’s note for the record that there are no civil wars or insurrection in Haiti or Venezuela.
That leave us with terrorism.
The Crime and Security Report for Haiti says that “The USG rates Haiti as LOW in the threat category of indigenous terrorism. There have been no terrorist acts specifically targeting American interests or citizens in Haiti.”
The Crime and Security Report for Venezuela says “Colombia’s National Liberation Army (ELN) and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are designated by the Secretary of State as Foreign Terrorist Organizations. Both groups use Venezuela as a safe haven. The State Department has stated that the Lebanon-based terrorist organization Hezbollah is using Venezuela mainly for fundraising. However, Venezuelan media reports suggest Hezbollah is also active in training, money laundering, and arms trafficking.
So this is a tad perplexing, no? How is it that Haiti with crime and security problems (but no terrorism, civil insurrection, and/or war) gets a 5% danger pay designation and Venezuela with crime and security problems (but no civil insurrection, and/or war, and is a terrorist safe haven) gets zero. Since we are not privy to the documents submitted, we have no way of knowing exactly the reason for this.
But you can perhaps understand why folks in Caracas might be troubled by this treatment.
We can think of a few possible reasons for this dissimilar treatment, pardon the speculation since no one would talk about this on the record for this blog:
Front Office Leadership? Somebody has to submit the Danger Pay Factors before any designation can be done. US Embassy Haiti during and after the earthquake has a chief of mission. US Embassy Venezuela has been without an ambassador since July 2010 and is short staffed in key areas. According to the 2012 OIG report “Between July 2010 and October 2011, the two interim chargés [...] relied upon a series of acting DCMs, which contributed to inconsistency and confusion regarding internal direction within the mission and interactions with Washington.”
Skills and Collaboration? The person responsible for putting together the Danger Pay Factors is without a doubt the Management Office at post in collaboration with the Regional Security Office. So the Management Officer’s writing skills and excellent cooperation with the RSO who has to dig up the supporting stats and documentation is crucial in making a compelling case. The most recent OIG report on Venezuela says that “Management services are incoherent and customer service is poor.” Not only that, the inspectors reported that “weak management section leadership has exacerbated the situation.” So while Management Officers were not spotlighted in the recent recruitment video from the State Department, they are the most important component of an effective mission. Next to excellent Front Office leadership, of course. Our unscientific review indicates that the effectiveness and responsiveness of the management section has a direct correlation to the morale and performance of the mission.
Regional Bureau Attention? We do not know what kind of support US Embassy Venezuela get from the WHA bureau and its assistant secretary. But we can readily tell what kind of support has been extended to the US Embassy in Haiti, a post that even has its own Special Coordinator. We do think that special care and support is necessary when a mission does not have the leadership of a Senate-confirmed ambassador, when post has more than the usual staffing gaps, when post has a good number of entry level officers working in upstretched positions in a host country with 19.9 percent inflation rate. Particularly if post is also the receiving end of prolong official animosity towards the United States. When taken together, these can have a significant impact in the proper functioning of a mission. The question then becomes — If US Embassy Caracas is getting the appropriate care and support it needs given its many challenges, how is it that its morale is in the mud and we’re getting love notes from there?
Danger Pay Office Out to Lunch? Would you please knock over there and check it out. Please?
Because somebody’s gotta ask why.
One of our readers just sent a question asking, “Where do Mexican border posts that have danger pay fit? Civil insurrection? Isn’t drug/gang violence for economic gain/profit?”
And that’s why you’re looking at somebody just as confused. Is it possible that the folks out to lunch also went off the tracks on this? Something for the Secretary’s Sounding Board, anyone?
- Letter From Caracas: Did You Hear About the American Diplomat Carjacked in Venezuela? (diplopundit.net)
- Uribana Prison Riot Kills Dozens In Barquisimeto, Venezuela (huffingtonpost.com)
- 61 killed in Venezuela prison riot, hospital says (foxnews.com)
- Venezuela Is Now More Dangerous Than Afghanistan (warnewsupdates.blogspot.com)
- Inmates moved after bloody Venezuela prison riot – MiamiHerald.com (miamiherald.com)
The State Department hold its Annual Awards Ceremony in November. The news coverage is usually brief or late, in cable format, emails weeks after the event and in a spread in State Magazine probably sometime in February or March. In all, 32 awards were given in a ceremony attended by Deputy Secretary Bill Burns. He lauded “32 of our very best in the Foreign Service, Civil Service, and Foreign Service National corps” and said:
“You represent diplomacy at its finest and demonstrate that great diplomats can do much more than hold their own at the negotiating table. Great diplomats are innovative, they’re intrepid, and they’re endlessly dedicated. They work beyond embassy walls. They help create jobs and promote trade. And they venture out to the most war-torn corners of the world to act as enduring forces for peace.”
We have previously blogged about the 2012 Annual Awards (see 2012 State Dept Annual Awards: Greatest Achievements in Many Fields, Mostly By Men).
All of the awards include a certificate, signed by the Secretary of State and monetary rewards ranging from $2,000 – $10,000. Many of the awards are sponsored by private donors, who are often former members of the Foreign Service or their families but the nominations go through the State Department process.
Some awards require that a supervisor nominate the candidate. Other awards require that nominations be submitted by the chief of mission. Still other awards open the nomination from anyone having knowledge of the nominee’s contributions. An employee or group of employees familiar with the nominee’s work, including supervisors, task forces, and country desks, may also nominate candidates. In almost all instances, the awards require the endorsement of the nomination by the chief of mission or principal officer at posts abroad or the appropriate assistant secretary or equivalent from participating agencies. Bureau assistant secretary may also submit nominations for chiefs of mission.
The awards program is in the 3 FAM 4800 series. The regs for the Annual Awards are in 3 FAM 4830.
Here are the awardees:
James A. Baker III—C. Howard Wilkins, Jr. Award for Outstanding Deputy Chief of Mission – Recipient: R. Stephen Beecroft
Former Ambassador to the Netherlands, C. Howard Wilkins, Jr., made this award possible. It recognizes outstanding contributions made by a deputy chief of mission who demonstrates the proficiency, creativity, and overall capacity to serve effectively as ambassadors and as chargé d’affaires in their absence. The winner receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $5,000.
Before he was appointed Ambassador to Iraq, Robert Stephen Beecroft was US Embassy Baghdad’s DCM. A career member of the Foreign Service, he joined Embassy Baghdad as Deputy Chief of Mission on July 14, 2011. Prior to that, Mr. Beecroft served as Ambassador to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. He became Chargé d’affaires upon the departure of Ambassador James Jeffrey on June 1, 2012. We have previously blogged about him here.
Robert C. Frasure Memorial Award – Recipient: Phillip Carter III
This award honors an individual who best exemplifies the late Ambassador Robert C. Frasure’s commitment to peace and the alleviation of human suffering caused by war or civil injustice. The winner receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000.
We have previously blogged about Ambassador Carter when he was appointed to Abidjan, when his post went on ordered departure, and when his staff was ordered to shelter in place when the bloody battle reached the capital.
Arnold L. Raphel Memorial Award – Recipient: Paul O. Mayer
This award recognizes an individual in international affairs who embodies the special human qualities exemplified by the late Ambassador Arnold L. Raphel—the mentoring and development of subordinates, especially junior officers. The winner receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000. The recipient’s name is placed on a plaque in the Department.
Paul Mayer is currently the DCM at US Embassy Vientiane. If he sounds familiar, it’s because we’ve blogged about him here following the January 2010 Haiti earthquake and about his “K-Visa Delight” (set to the tune of “Afternoon Delight“) for the Consular Corner Creative Writing Contest.
We have it it good authority that this is one of those awards where the subordinates, at least 18 of them banded as a group and put in the nomination.
Sue M. Cobb Award for Exemplary Diplomatic Service – Recipient: David C. Jacobson
The Sue M. Cobb Award for Exemplary Diplomatic Service is presented to a Non-Career Ambassador who (a) has used private sector leadership and management skills to make a significant impact on bilateral or multilateral relations and (b) has done so in a manner that best reflects the foreign service culture of uncommon commitment in carrying out United States foreign policy through proactive diplomacy. The award is made possible by the generosity of Sue M. Cobb, former U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica. The honoree receives a certificate signed by the Secretary and the Embassy receives $5,000.
Charles E. Cobb, Jr. Award for Initiative and Success in Trade Development – Recipient: Scot A. Marciel
The former Ambassador to Iceland, Charles E. Cobb, Jr., made this award possible. It is conferred on two career members of the Department: one member serving under an ambassadorial appointment; and one member at any grade serving abroad in a non-ambassadorial assignment. The award recognizes outstanding contributions toward innovative and successful trade development and export promotion for the United States. The winners each receive a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $5,000.
Secretary’s Award for Excellence in International Security Affairs – Recipient: Thomas F. Daughton
The award recognizes individual excellence in the development, negotiation and/or implementation of national policy and solutions to counter country-specific, regional and/or global nonproliferation, counter-proliferation, political-military, arms control, verification, and/or noncompliance challenges facing the United States. The winner receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State and a $10,000 stipend and the runner-up receives a signed certificate and a $2,000 stipend. (via Wikipedia)
We have blogged about Mr. Daughton a while back in US Embassy Algiers: Diplomatic Kerfuffle Over DCM’s “Rare Candor”
Robert C. Bannerman Diplomatic Security Employee of the Year – Recipient: Robert Joseph Baldre, Jr.
This award recognizes outstanding contributions made by an employee in the security field. The winner receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000.
Is he Diplomatic Security’s Chief Financial Officer (DS/EX/CFO)?
Warren Christopher Award for Outstanding Achievement in Global Affairs – Recipient: Steven G. Gillen
This award recognizes sustained excellence and initiative in the substantive policy areas of oceans, the environment, and science; democracy, human rights, and labor; population, refugees, and migration; and international narcotics and crime. The winner receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000.
Civil Service Secretary of the Year – Recipient: Crystal Y. Johnson
This annual award recognizes the high standards of performance which characterize the work of Civil Service Secretaries in the Department and abroad. It is granted annually to one Civil Service Secretary whose performance is judged by a selection committee to exemplify most clearly these high standards. The recipient receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State and $10,000. In addition, the recipients’ names are placed on a plaque in the Department. (via Wikipedia)
Director General’s Award for Impact and Originality in Reporting – Recipient: Ryan L. Hass
The Director General’s Award for Impact and Originality in Reporting recognizes the high standards that characterize the reporting of the Department. The recipient of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, $10,000, and an engraved desk set. The recipient’s name is placed on a plaque in the Department.
James Clement Dunn Award for Excellence – Recipient: G. Kathleen Hill
The James Clement Dunn Award for Excellence recognizes leadership, intellectual skills, managerial ability, and personal qualities that most fully exemplify the standards of excellence desired of employees at the mid-career level. The winner of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000.
Equal Employment Opportunity Award – Recipient: Gregory S. Stanford
The Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Award recognizes outstanding contributions toward improving employment opportunities for minorities and women and significant achievements in taking affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified minorities and women. The winner of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000.
Foreign Service National (FSN) of the Year Award
This award recognizes the high standards of performance and the value to the U.S. Government of the special contributions made by Foreign Service National (FSN) employees and foreign nationals serving under a personal services contract or agreement at our missions abroad. The primary winner receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000. Each of the other five nominees receives a certificate signed by the assistant secretary of the appropriate regional bureau or International Organization (IO) and $2,500.
- FSN of the Year Award (AF) Recipient: Emmanuel Umar
- FSN of the Year Award (EAP) Recipient: Chen Er
- FSN of the Year Award (EUR) Recipient: Zlatko Moratic
- FSN of the Year Award (WHA) Recipient: Sylvia Cabezas
FSN of the Year Award (SCA) Recipient: Farah Naz
D/SecState Bill Burns had this to say about the awardee from the SCA Bureau: “Farah Naz joined Embassy Islamabad more than 25 years ago as an administrative assistant in the Health Unit. Today, she supervises a staff of 56 at the Embassy’s Warehouse—and she’s the first woman to ever serve in that role. Last year, Farah was at the helm of a massive transition that involved moving warehouse operations from one facility on the compound to two separate facilities, off-campus. To make it happen, Farah coordinated with local police, crane and moving vendors, the Regional Security Office, a local guard force, and other agencies to move fifty 20-foot shipping containers filled with goods worth over $53 million from one side of town to the other. And she did it efficiently, cost-effectively, and with a calm, confident smile. Today, we are recognizing Farah’s decades of hard work and dedication as FSN of the year for the Bureau of South and Central Asia.”
Cordell Hull Award for Economic Achievement by Senior Officers – Recipient: Kurt Tong
The former U.S. Ambassador to Singapore, Steven J. Green made this award possible. It recognizes outstanding contributions in advancing U.S. interests in the international economic field. The winner of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State and $5,000.
Leamon R. Hunt Award for Management Excellence – Recipient: Jason A. Brenden
The Leamon R. Hunt Award for management Excellence recognizes outstanding contributions to management operations. The winner of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000.
Swanee Hunt Award For Advancing Women’s Role in Policy Formulation – FS Recipient: Heera K. Kamboj
The Swanee Hunt Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Improving the status of women globally by advancing their influence in policy formulation is made possible by the former U.S. Ambassador to Austria, the Honorable Swanee Hunt. This award recognizes outstanding achievement in the area of promoting women as participants in the political and economic processes or as policy shapers. The annual amount of the award is $10,000, which will be given in two awards of $5,000 each: (1) To a Foreign Service or Civil Service employee; and (2) To a Foreign Service National at a U.S. embassy or consulate, along with a certificate signed by the Secretary.
Award for Excellence in Labor Diplomacy – Recipient: Peter T. Shea
This award recognizes excellence in promoting U.S. foreign policy interest in the labor field. The winner receives a certificate signed by the Secretaries of Labor and State, and $10,000.
Linguist of the Year Award – Recipient: Adedeji E. Okediji
This award recognizes unusually successful acquisition and maintenance of a high level of proficiency in one or more foreign languages and use of the language ability to achieve Department objectives. The winner of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000.
Frank E. Loy Award for Environmental Diplomacy – Recipient: Christo Artusio
This award recognizes outstanding achievement in international environmental affairs. The winner receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $5,000.
Thomas Morrison Information Management Award – Recipient: Todd C. E. Cheng
The Thomas Morrison Information Management Award recognizes outstanding and unique contributions in the information management field. The winner of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000.
We heard that Mr. Cheng “did amazing work for our missions in Tripoli and Benghazi in 2011 and 2012.”
Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Public Diplomacy – Recipient: Gloria F. Berbena
This award recognizes significant contributions in the field of public diplomacy and the special qualities that reflect the integrity, courage, sensitivity, vision, and dedication to excellence that were so highly exemplified in the life of Edward R. Murrow. The winner of the award receives a plaque presented during the commencement exercises at the Fletcher School, Tufts University. The winner also receives $10,000, which is presented at the annual Departmental Awards Ceremony held at the State Department.
Office Management Specialist of the Year Award – Recipient: Gail M. Cooper
The Secretary of the Year and Office Management Specialist of the year awards recognize the high standards of performance that characterize the service of secretaries in the Civil Service and Office Management Specialists in the Foreign Service. The award is conferred on both a Civil Service and a Foreign Service Office Management Specialist. b. The winners each receive a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000. The recipients’ names are placed on a plaque in the Department.
D/SecState Bill Burns on Gail Cooper, the Office Management Specialist for the Regional Security Office at US Embassy Sarajevo: “Last October, as our Embassy in Sarajevo suffered a brief attack, Gail sprung into action and served as a one-person ops center for the post. She worked with Washington and others involved to give regular updates on the situation, coordinated outreach to make sure embassy personnel were safe and accounted for, and eased the fears of understandably concerned family members. In a chaotic and frightening time, Gail was an island of calm. So today, we’re recognizing Gail as the office Management Specialist of the Year, not only for her superior office management abilities, but also for her leadership in the midst of a crisis.”
Luther I. Replogle Award for Management Improvement – Recipient: Mark J. Cohen
The late Luther I. Replogle, former U.S. Ambassador to Iceland, makes this award possible. It recognizes outstanding contributions to management improvement. The winner of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $5,000.
Mary A. Ryan Award for Outstanding Public Service – Recipient: M. Andre Goodfriend
Selection will be based on the extent to which nominees demonstrate leadership abilities when providing services while assigned domestically or abroad to U.S. citizens. The recipient receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $5,000.
Herbert Salzman Award for Excellence in International Economic Performance – Recipient: Douglas J. Apostol
This award is made possible by the late Herbert Salzman, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.S. Mission to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. It recognizes outstanding contributions in advancing U.S. international relations and objectives in the economic field. The recipient of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $5,000.
Rockwell Anthony Schnabel Aard for Advancing U.S.-EU Relations – Recipient: Paul E. Pfeuffer
A supervisor must nominate candidates for this award. Endorsement of the nomination by the chief of mission or principal officer at posts abroad or the appropriate assistant secretary or equivalent from participating agencies, State, USAID, Commerce, and Agriculture, is required. The winner of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $5,000.
Innovation in the Use of Technology Award - Recipient: David C. Schroeder
This award recognizes the suggestion, planning, development, or implementation of an innovative use of technology (both program and administrative) that has substantially contributed to the efficiency and effectiveness of the Department. The winner of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000.
Barbara M. Watson Award for Consular Excellence – Recipient: Joshua D. Glazeroff
This award recognizes outstanding contributions to consular operations. The winner of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000. The Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs will chair the selection committee, which will be comprised of the principal deputy assistant secretary for consular affairs, and representatives from CA offices, the Bureau of Human Resources, and the bureaus.
D/SecState Bill Burns on the awardee: “Joshua Glazeroff, Consul General New Delhi, is compassionate and perceptive — a combination of qualities that make him a consular officer of the highest caliber. A few months ago, when a gunman shot and killed six people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, Josh took charge to help the friends and relatives of those who were slain travel to the U.S. to grieve for their loved ones. Josh was put in an extremely difficult position—he had to strike the balance between helping make a tragic situation a little less painful without making the visa process any less rigorous—and he pulled it off. Today we recognize Josh’s outstanding contributions with the Barbara M. Watson Award for Consular Excellence.”
Ryan C. Crocker Award for Outstanding Leadership in Expeditionary Diplomacy (no award given)
The award recognizes those who excel in the most challenging leadership positions overseas. The winner, if an employee of the agencies covered by the Foreign Affairs Manual, receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State and $10,000. In accordance with 3 FAM 4813.2(c), the winner, if a member of the military, may only receive the certificate.
Human Rights Officer of the Year Award – this award was reportedly shared jointly by 4 officers at a US Mission in the EAP Bureau. We’ve looked for references to this award and the awardees at http://www.humanrights.gov/ but have been unable to find any further details or press. A previous winner of a human rights award was roughed up by police in central Vietnam. Not sure that’s the reason why this is low key — but if the names of the awardees are published by State mag next month, we will update this entry.
For additional details on all of the awardees, we have to wait and read it in the next issue of State magazine. The 2011 awardees were featured in its February 2011 issue.
CBS News has a report on December 8 on the State Department’s new directorate within Diplomatic Security (DSS) that focuses on seventeen high threat diplomatic posts overseas. The posts listed in the report includes Algeria, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, Mauritania, Niger, Pakistan, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia and Yemen. These are in addition to previously designated high threat posts in Iraq and
The new office will reportedly have Bill Miller as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State. According to CBS News, he was described as “an experienced Diplomatic Security Official” by a senior State Department official. A National Review report dated November 30, said that Bill Miller was a former State Department special agent who coordinated regional security for the Coalition Provisional Authority and the American Embassy in Baghdad. We missed the official announcement on this and could not locate it but according to NR, the State Department said in an announcement that the new assistant secretary will be responsible for “evaluating, managing, and mitigating the security threats, as well as the direction of resource requirements at high threat diplomatic missions.”
These posts previously fell under the portfolio of Charlene Lamb, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Programs, but apparently the unnamed senior officials who spoke to CBS News denied that this was a demotion for Ms. Lamb or anything like that. The report also described how her appearance in Congress was widely viewed within Foggy Bottom:
Two senior officials described the decision to CBS News as a matter of shifting of personnel and resources to “elevate the level” of oversight at risky posts and gave those duties to a specifically assigned Deputy Assistant Secretary. They denied that this was a demotion of Charlene Lamb though these posts no longer fall under her portfolio.
During the night of the September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Lamb was the U.S. official at Diplomatic Security Command Center who monitored the fatal assault on “multiple open lines” in “almost real-time” via audio-only feeds according to the testimony that she delivered to the House Oversight Committee on October 10. Her hesitant responses during that questioning was widely viewed within the department as damaging to the agency. She described her role as being responsible for the “safety and security of more than 275 diplomatic facilities.”
Read in full via CBS News: State Department security overhaul
We should note that Kenya was considered a medium threat post when it was bombed in 1998. Of particular concern here is what happens to posts that are not/not listed in the “high threat” category? According to the IntelCenter cited by the NYT, Al Qaeda has six regional branches and affiliations with at least 14 other terrorist groups. All together, the organizations reportedly have operations in almost 30 countries. Check out the map of operations here. So again, what happens to posts not in the “high threat” category? Do you know?
In any case, if this was not a demotion for Charlene Lamb what have they done to her official biography? (h/t to A who writes “either I’m having very selective network problems, or it appears Charlene Lamb’s official bio is no longer available from State’s website.”)
Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Programs — Charlene R. Lamb
The Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Programs is responsible for managing and directing all Bureau of Diplomatic Security programs and policies that protect the Department of State’s international missions and personnel from the threats of terrorism, espionage (human and technical), and crime. [biography]
Don’t know what’s going on. But that [biography] link now lands on a “We’re sorry. That page can’t be found and may have moved” page.
In related news, the WSJ reported (registration required) that Egyptian authorities have detained Muhammad Jamal Abu Ahmad, the alleged ringleader of an Egyptian terrorist network whose members are suspected of participating in the September 11 attack on Benghazi. Abu Ahmad is reportedly a former member of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad who was freed from prison in March 2011 following the ouster of Hosni Mubarak
The AP reported yesterday that the Accountability Review Board report is imminent. The news report also said that Senator Kerry of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee had asked that Ambassador Pickering (ARB chairman)and retired Adm. Mike Mullen (ARB member) appear before the committee before Secretary Clinton.
Secretary Clinton officially convened the Board for 60 days on October 4, 2012. The 60-day deadline hit its mark on December 4. No announcement of extension was made so we presume that the final report may already be available to the Secretary. If we recall correctly, the regs also says that Secretary Clinton has no later than 90 days after receipt of the ARB recommendations to submit a report to Congress.
Various news report said that Secretary Clinton will appear before both the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee after the Accountability Review Board report is released. No date has been set for the hearings. But it looks like the target adjourned date for the House is December 14, with December 31 for the Senate.
Given the intense public and congressional interest on this case, we suspect that the report will be publicly released sooner rather than later. Probably as early as the next week as we don’t think Congress would want to stay in DC holding hearings for the holidays. Of course, those dates can always change, especially with the fiscal cliffhanger looming large.
- State Department security overhaul (cbsnews.com)
- Benghazi Hearing: Looking for Truth Amidst a Partisan Divide, Outing OGA, Zingers (diplopundit.net)
- Where are the Accountability Review Boards for Embassy Breaches in Tunisia and Yemen? (diplopundit.net)
- Panel seeks accountability after Benghazi attacks (reuters.com)
- Benghazi Attack: Closed-Door Briefings and Hearings All This Week (diplopundit.net)