Office of the Spokesman: Ian Kelly Signs On

Secretary Clinton came down to the briefing room and spoke to the media at the State Department to announce the release of Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi from prison in Iran. She then introduced Ian Kelly as the new State Department spokesman, thanked Robert Wood publicly and turned over the briefing to the new spokesman. This video of State Department Press Briefing with Secretary Clinton & Spokesman Ian Kelly is from c-span as it has not been posted in yet.

Ian Kelly is a career Foreign Service officer, a Russia hand, who has recently served as the director of State’s Office of Russian Affairs. He has also served in Milan, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Belgrade, Vienna, Washington, Ankara, Rome and Brussels. He was spokesman at US Embassy Rome and I think did the same gig at the US Embassy Ankara. He will reportedly serve as the chief spokesman and daily briefer. Will post the official bio when it becomes available.

I understand that career FSO, Robert Wood who has been acting spokesman since Sean McCormack’s departure will stay on as his deputy. Meanwhile, their soon-to-be boss, Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs-designate, PJ Crowley, will appear at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for his nomination hearing this week.

Update 4:06 PM EST
Video of Secretary Clinton & Spokesman Ian Kelly’s first daily press brief is below; transcript for this DPB is here. Transcript of Secretary Clinton’s introduction of the new spokesman is here. Then Mr. Kelly blogs about his first day at the podium over at DipNote.

In the Loop Name the Flu Contest

Al Kamen over in TWP’s In the Loop is running a Name the Flu contest. He wanted a better name for this thing – something more accurate than “swine flu,” less wonky than “H1N1,” in case this virus returns big in the fall. I agree that the name should be “something bold like SARS,” perhaps even catchy (but short). It might help folks remember to wash their hands or cover their mouth when they sneeze.

The 10 winners are promised fine-quality, In the Loop T-shirts. Send your entries via e-mail to or mail them to In the Loop, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.You must include a phone number — home, work or cell — to be eligible. Just passing this along.

Deadline for entries is midnight this Wednesday, May 13. Read Al’s post here.

Doesn’t say anywhere that you must limit your entry to one — so go for it! Can you come up with your top ten names for this thingy?

Ambassador Kenney: Under the Sea and More

Last month, I did some quick posts on US Ambassador to Indonesia Cameron Hume with the sharks — here, here and here. I am happy to report that he is not the only one who can do “under the sea” gigs. Our ambassador to the Philippines, Kristie Kenney can also dive (this one was taken in Boracay). Helped free a green sea turtle, did a soccer drill, more…

Ambassador Kenney is a career diplomat and is the first female U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines. She is also one of our very few diplomats ambassadors who maintains an official blog (US Ambassador to Korea Kathleen Stephens is another one), and the first to have a blog hosted by; I supposed DipNote will not blogroll these official blogs, huh? Blame it on Smith-Mundt?

One thing I must say, I think she has a good ear on the ground over in those islands. When Manny Pacquiao KO Ricky Hatton at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas last week to join the short list of boxing’s quintuple champions, Ambassador Kenney’s US Embassy was quick to laud Pacquiao for ‘dedication to excellence’. The ambassador herself blogged about it in her Sports and Champions post. Anyway, check out her blog here. Not much in terms of foreign policy there but that is to be expected, I think.

Photos below are all screen captures from the US Embassy Manila website (they don’t make it easy to download or copy these photos). Hey, guys, it’s time to move to Flickr!

Ambassador Kenney in Boracay, Philippines

Related Item:

The Ambassador is having a ball
Manila Bulletin: May 10, 2009, 2:07pm

State Dept & International Affairs – FY 2010 Budget

Here is a quick look on who gets what and how much in the FY2010 budget for State Operations and Related Programs. Read the official press release from the State Department. The detailed budget request for the agency is here, all 99 pages single space.

  • $7.3 billion for the global operating platform for the U.S. Government, which includes:
  • $280 million from all funding sources to leverage information technology.
  • $520 million for public diplomacy to engage foreign audiences and win support for U.S. foreign policy goals.
  • A total of 1,226 new positions to build Diplomatic capacity and expertise, including increasing training in languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, and Urdu. The Department also would further increase its representation on interagency and Defense regional staffs, creating enhanced interagency planning and execution of coordinated U.S. foreign policy.
  • $323.2 million for the Civilian Stabilization Initiative to develop a coordinated capacity across the U.S. Government to respond to stabilization and reconstruction needs. These resources will build civilian capacity, including capacity that draws on expertise outside the Federal Government, to work effectively, including alongside the military, in dealing with failed or failing states.
  • $1.8 billion for security-related construction and major facility rehabilitation requirements of U.S. embassies and consulates.
  • $1.7 billion in fee-funded activities, to improve protection of U.S. borders through the Border Security Program.
  • $1.6 billion to increase security for diplomatic personnel and facilities worldwide.
  • $633.2 million for educational and cultural exchanges to build strategic relationships through the exchange of people and ideas.
  • $1.8 billion for U.S. obligations to 45 international organizations, including the United Nations.
  • $2.3 billion to pay the U.S. share of assessments for UN peacekeeping missions.
  • $262.1 million to support bilateral international commissions, Foreign Affairs foundations and research centers.

The International Affairs budget covers the following:

  • 2010 Budget: $53.9 billion
  • 2009 level: $49.8 billion (includes enacted baseline, Recovery Act, and requested supplemental funding)

According to the WH/OMB: By increasing foreign assistance and expanding diplomatic and development capacity, the United States is renewing its leadership role in the global community. The President’s Fiscal Year 2010 Budget provides $53.9 billion to the Department of State and other international programs, of which $36.5 billion is for foreign assistance. To increase transparency, the budget reduces reliance on emergency supplemental appropriations by funding expenses that are predictable and recurring.

With the release of the detailed FY10 budget, also comes the list of reduction in funding and savings, including two funding reduction under the international affairs umbrella:

East-West Center in Hawaii: The Administration proposes to reduce funding for the East-West Center (EWC), a non-profit education and research organization that seeks to strengthen U.S.-Asia Pacific understanding and relations, thereby encouraging the EWC to pursue increased support from private donors and other governments of the region. In 2008 the Government provided over 70 percent of its funding. The 2010 Budget proposal would encourage EWC to compete for other Federal grants and pursue increased contributions from private entities, foundations, corporations, and other governments.

Voice of America: The Administration’s 2010 Budget proposal for the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) proposes reductions to base Voice of America (VOA) operations totaling $2 million to help offset new priority needs. The proposal would eliminate VOA Hindi, Croatian, and Greek language broadcasts and close a finance office located in Paris, France. While the overall funding level for VOA is increasing from 2009, funding related to these language services within VOA will be reduced from about $3 million to $1 million.

Read the full FY 2010 Terminations, Reductions, and Savings here.