Quickie: Hundreds of People in the Pipeline …

for a civilian uplift in Afghanistan?


US Embassy Kabul Photo
via Flickr

Nancy A. Youssef and Warren P. Strobel of the McClatchy Newspapers are reporting that Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal will ask the Obama administration to double the number of U.S. government civilian workers who are in Afghanistan. This is in addition to requesting some 45,000 additional U.S. troops in the country.


“The proposed civilian “surge” is the fourth leg of Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s emerging strategy to rebuild Afghanistan’s economy and government, along with more American troops, vastly expanded Afghan security forces and closer cooperation between U.S. and Afghan troops, including posting troops from both countries at the same bases.”


A State Department official was quoted in the report as saying there were 560 to 570 U.S. government civilian employees in Afghanistan at the end of last year, and that by the end of this year there’ll be about 1,000. The U.S. Embassy in Kabul has reportedly alerted the State Department that hundreds more civilians beyond the total of 1,000 now planned probably will be needed in 2010 and 2011, officials said. The total could end up reaching 1,350, with about 800 in Kabul and about 550 outside the capital.


Richard Holbrooke, the Obama administration’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan was quoted in the report dismissing criticism that the civilian buildup has been insufficient so far. “We have a very sustained plan. This is not like taking an existing military unit out of Fort Bragg and training them and then sending them out,” Holbrooke said at a briefing last month. “We have hundreds of people in the pipeline.”


Read the whole thing here.

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Oops, what happened to Robert Connan’s nomination?

Iceland, from the NASA Visible Earth image gal...Image via Wikipedia

A Diplopundit reader asked about Robert Connan’s nomination. I thought I’ve been good about tracking these appointments, but not good enough it seems. I have no idea where this one is right now.

The WH announced President Obama’s intent to nominate Robert S. Connan to be his ambassador to Iceland back in May. So far, I have not been able to find anything on this nomination, aside from the WH announcement of the president’s intent. I could not locate any announcement that this nomination had been sent to the Senate. (Nominations received by the Senate are normally included in the Congressional Record; nothing there either). And I could not find any record in the SFRC, pending or otherwise.

It seems like after the official announcement, this nomination did not go anywhere. Malasef, I have no idea why. If you know, would you enlighten us? I think the Icelanders are anxious to hear when the new Ambassador will get there.

Robert S. Connan is a career member of the US Foreign Commercial Service. He was Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs at the U.S. Mission to the European Union in Brussels. I recently discovered a series of his photographs exhibited at the USEU Mission in Brussels in January 2009. See the photos here. Below is part of the blurb from the exhibit brochure:

Robert S. Connan discovered photography at a young age. He said later: “I discovered that my greatest enjoyment came in viewing a small highlight inside a larger scheme – an intersection of angles of details and contrast that pulls together in a simple design.” He cites André Kertész, W. Eugene Smith, and Paul Strand as inspirations. His career in the Foreign Service has enabled him to practice his art around the world. His journeys through 74 countries have resulted in unique images of our world. Connan’s work has been exhibited in Paris, Rome, Stockholm, Kuwait City, Sydney, and Washington, DC. He has also been published in National Geographic, Down East, the Hasselblad Forum and CLAM Magazine.

He began his international career in the private sector. In 1980, he entered the Foreign Commercial Service. His first assignment was Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, followed by Johannesburg, Algiers, Stockholm, Kuwait, Rome and Sydney. He served in Baghdad, Iraq from September 2003 till January 2004 under the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), setting up the Iraqi Business Center for the Iraqi Ministry of Trade. After Baghdad, he was posted to Paris as Minister-Counselor for Commercial Affairs. Currently, he serves as Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs at the U.S. Mission to the European Union in Brussels.

Robert S. Connan is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He earned his undergraduate degree in Econometrics from Carnegie Mellon University and his MBA in international marketing from the Wharton School of Finance, University of Pennsylvania.

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Pending Nominations Update – August 2009

The following are the pending State Department nominations in the Committee on Foreign Relations as of August 7. For the list of the most recent confirmation prior to the summer recess, click here. The Senate resumes business on Tuesday, September 8.

Aug 07, 09 PN910 Department of State
Barry B. White, of Massachusetts, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and
Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Norway.

Aug 06, 09 PN874 Department of State
Alan D. Solomont, of Massachusetts, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and
Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Spain, and to serve
concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador
Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to
Andorra.

Aug 06, 09 PN873 Department of State
William E. Kennard, of the District of Columbia, to be Representative
of the United States of America to the European Union, with the rank
and status of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.

Aug 06, 09 PN872 Department of State
Jose W. Fernandez, of New York, to be an Assistant Secretary of State
(Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs).

Jul 29, 09 PN829 Department of State
Robert D. Hormats, of New York, to be United States Alternate Governor
of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development for a
term of five years; United States Alternate Governor of the
Inter-American Development Bank for a term of five years; United
States Alternate Governor of the African Development Bank for a term
of five years; United States Alternate Governor of the African
Development Fund; United States Alternate Governor of the Asian
Development Bank; and United States Alternate Governor of the European
Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Jul 28, 09 PN822 Department of State
Mary Jo Wills, of the District of Columbia, 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 Mauritius, and to serve concurrently and without
additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and
Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of
Seychelles.

Jul 22, 09 PN798 Department of State
Alberto M. Fernandez, 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 Equatorial Guinea.

Jul 20, 09 PN795 Department of State
Robert D. Hormats, of New York, to be an Under Secretary of State
(Economic, Energy, and Agricultural Affairs).

Jul 20, 09 PN794 Department of State
Lee Andrew Feinstein, of Virginia, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and
Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of
Poland.

Jul 07, 09 PN710 Department of State
Michael H. Posner, of New York, to be Assistant Secretary of State for
Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.

Jun 24, 09 PN650 European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
James Legarde Hudson, of the District of Columbia, to be United States
Director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Jun 08, 09 PN552 Department of State
David C. Jacobson, of Illinois, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and
Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Canada.

The two nominations below were reported out of SFRC on July 28 but have not been confirmed by the full Senate when it left for the summer break. You can read more on these two nominations here.

Arturo A. Valenzuela, of the District of
Columbia, to be an Assistant Secretary of
State (Western Hemisphere Affairs), vice
Thomas A. Shannon, Jr., resigned.

Thomas Alfred Shannon, Jr., of Virginia, a
Career Member of the Senior Foreign
Service, Class of Career Minister, to be
Ambassador Extraordinary and
Plenipotentiary of the United States of
America to the Federative Republic of Brazil.