A Word on Diplomacy 3.0

Future Or Bust!Image by Vermin Inc via Flickr

The Director General of the US Foreign Service, Nancy Powell writes about Diplomacy 3.0 in the November issue of State Magazine: “Diplomacy 3.0” is a term that highlights strengthening the workforce for the three pillars of Diplomacy, Development and Defense.

I can understand State strengthening the workforce for the first two Ds here, but Defense? D3.0 does not seem to include large scale rotations of FS personnel to the combatant commands and elsewhere in the military structure. How do you strengthen the FS workforce for the third pillar, er great looming tower of Defense? I hate it when the marketing spin misses the bull’s-eye and just sounds pretentious. Or I’m just dim – ‘cuz I really don’t get it. I need my headlights replaced, darn it!

In fairness to Ambassador Powell, she did not get nominated to her current position until May 21, 2009; she inherited this advert from her immediate predecessor, Harry Thomas, Jr., the former DG and current nominee to be Ambassador to the Philippines. But she now pitches for it. Excerpts below:

Launched in March 2009, Diplomacy 3.0, a multi-year effort to increase the size of the workforce by 25 percent, aims to bring on board 1,200 new Foreign and Civil Service employees above attrition in fiscal year 2009 and another 1,200 in fiscal year 2010. These unprecedented hiring numbers are a significant increase over recent years, higher than the Diplomatic Readiness Initiative we undertook in 2001–2004.
These additional resources gave us the opportunity to redress existing deficits, thaw the “frozen” positions of recent assignment cycles, eliminate the need for freezes in future cycles and create new positions needed to better respond to the Administration’s foreign policy objectives. In the short-term, we are working to identify and establish at least 200 new positions by December and more in 2010. With these new positions, we can also build a language training float, particularly for priority languages, such as Arabic, Chinese and Urdu. We hope that our carefully structured approach will help us achieve these priority goals while also creating new assignment opportunities for our mid-level colleagues and the positions we need to accommodate our new hires.
In order to reach our hiring targets, we are also pulling out the stops to get the people we recruit into the pipeline. For example, the Board of Examiners has instituted Saturday assessments for Foreign Service Specialists. MED and DS continue to work on reducing the time that it takes to get all clearances and thus the time that elapses from conditional offer to entry into service. At the same time, the Foreign Service Institute has increased its offerings of orientation courses for FS Generalists (A-100) and Specialists. The revised course for Generalists is now five weeks in duration, with eight classes scheduled for fiscal year 2010. For Specialists’ orientation, there are seven classes scheduled in fiscal year 2010, with the possibility of adding additional classes, depending on hiring.

So, we are well on our way to reaching our hiring targets under Diplomacy 3.0. These new hires will go a long way toward easing our chronic Departmental vacancies.

While I find this new staffing authorization good news, the thing that is particularly worrisome is that the State Department seems to be looking no further than 2010 or 2012. Even during the recent hearings on diplomatic readiness, I did not hear anything new, or inspiring, or forward looking.

AFSA President Susan Johnson recently calls for “Rebranding the Foreign Service” but that FSJ piece had me scratching my head, too. In these difficult economic times you want to talk about building a memorial?

The managers, leaders and ambassadors of the State Department in 2035 are already serving their first-second tours in China, India, Brazil, Mexico and the rest of our overseas missions. The political ambassadors of 2035 are just starting their businesses and networking right now. In 25 years, they will all be confronted with newer and harder challenges in a world that will be exponentially more complicated.

What are we doing to prepare them for it?

Quickie: Senator LeMieux on Thomas Shannon and Latin America

Latin AmericaImage via Wikipedia

Lesley Clark reported for McClatchyDC that nine former assistant secretaries of state
who served under Republican and Democratic presidents wrote to the new Senator from Florida urging him to lift his opposition to Thomas Shannon, President Obama’s nominee for US Ambassador to Brazil: “This continuing, prolonged vacancy sends an unintended signal that the United States does not consider Brazil an important relationship.” (Florida Sen. LeMieux blasted for blocking appointment of Brazil diplomat | November 19, 2009).

This is what Senator LeMieux said according to the report:

“I feel like I have a role and a responsibility far greater than other senators do in terms of anything that deals with Latin America, and I take that job seriously,” LeMieux said. “This is about the entire hemisphere. This is about Venezuela, El Salvador, Bolivia, Colombia and Brazil and Cuba and the role that Mr. Shannon played . . . and the role he will play. We are burning the midnight oil here to make sure I’m doing the best job I can for 18 million Floridians, and that’s my motivation.”

Clark also writes: “Senate staffers suggested Wednesday that LeMieux — who was appointed by Gov. Charlie Crist to fill the seat vacated by Mel Martinez — could be trying to burnish his Cuba credentials to help Crist, who faces a Cuban-American opponent in the Republican primary for the Senate seat. LeMieux said it was his responsibility as Florida’s senator to vet the nominee, noting that he had heard concerns about Shannon’s record from constituents and fellow members of Congress.”

Hmmnn…hmmmnn ….

The nine former assistant secretaries reportedly also noted that Shannon had been approved by the Foreign Relations Committee — of which LeMieux is not a member and that Shannon was endorsed by the committee in a 14-to-4 vote.

Officially In: David Adelman to Singapore

US Embassy SingaporeImage by runako via Flickr

On November 19, President Obama announced his intent to nominate David Adelman to be the US Ambassador to the Republic of Singapore. The WH released the following official bio below:

David Adelman has been a member of the State of Georgia Senate since being elected in 2002. He serves as Minority Whip and Chairman of the Urban Affairs Committee. Senator Adelman is an equity partner in the firm Sutherland Asbill and Brennan LLP where he has practiced law since 1993 representing energy and communications companies.

Prior to entering private practice, Senator Adelman was an Assistant Attorney General in Georgia for three years. In addition to his commercial practice, for many years Senator Adelman has represented veterans pro bono before the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. He has been active in his community on domestic violence issues and served on the Board of the Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority.

Senator Adelman graduated from the University of Georgia with a B.A. and received an M.P.A. from Georgia State University and a J.D. from the Emory University School of Law.

* * *

David Adelman led the Georgia Obama campaign and also served as a member the Obama National Finance Committee.

If confirmed, Mr. Adelman would replace Patricia Louise Herbold (Chairman of the King County (Washington) Republican Party from December 2002 to December 2004) who was appointed US Ambassador to Singapore from Oct 12, 2005-January 20, 2009. The last seven ambassadors assigned to Singapore were all non-career political appointees, including Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., who is currently our US Ambassador to China.

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President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts, 11/19/09

Officially In: Harry K. Thomas, Jr. to Manila

Chancery of the American Embassy in ManilaImage via Wikipedia

On November 19, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Harry K. Thomas, Jr., to be the next US Ambassador to the Republic of the Philippines. The WH released the following official bio below:

Harry K. Thomas, Jr. is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service and served most recently as Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources. He previously served as a Special Assistant to the Secretary and Executive Secretary of the Department.

Thomas, who joined the Foreign Service in 1984, served as U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh from 2003 to 2005. He also served in the White House as the Director for South Asia at the National Security Council from 2001 to 2002. His other postings include: New Delhi, India; Harare, Zimbabwe; Kaduna, Nigeria; and Lima, Peru. He has served as Senior Watch Officer, Deputy Director, and Director of the State Department Operations Center; Special Assistant to the Under Secretary for Political Affairs; and Staff Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for African Affairs.

Thomas holds a bachelors degree from the College of the Holy Cross.

* * *

If confirmed, Ambassador Thomas would succeed Kristie Kenney, probably our most visible and well-liked representative in Manila in recent years (She is a well known supporter of the Ateneo Blue Eagles‘ basketball team and has also appeared on ABS-CBN shows, including Wowowee and Umagang Kay Ganda taking part in the each show host’s dance Boom Tarat Tarat and Papaya).

Ambassador Thomas’ predecessors to the US Mission in the Philippines also include diplomatic luminaries like John D. Negroponte, Stephen Warren Bosworth (currently Special Representative for North Korea policy), David D. Newsom, Henry A. Byroade, Francis Joseph Ricciardone, Jr. (currently deputy ambassador to the US Embassy in Kabul) and many more.

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Officially In: Elizabeth Littlefield to OPIC

On November 19, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Elizabeth Littlefield to be President of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). The WH released the following official bio:

Elizabeth Littlefield is currently a Director of the World Bank and the CEO of the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), a multi-donor organization created to help build a large scale permanent microfinance industry providing flexible, high-quality financial services on a sustainable basis to the poor. Ms. Littlefield previously worked with JP Morgan, where she was the Managing Director in charge of JP Morgan’s Emerging Markets Capital Markets Division. As such, she oversaw JP Morgan’s capital markets business in Central, Eastern and Southern Europe, Central Asia, Middle East and Africa.

In parallel to her career in investment banking, Ms. Littlefield also spent a year and a half providing guidance to several start-up microfinance institutions in West and Central Africa and in Pakistan. She has served on the executive board of several organizations including Women’s World Banking, Profund, Africa International Financial Holding, the Mastercard Foundation, the Calvert Foundation, and E&Co.

Littlefield is a graduate of Brown University and also attended Ecole Nationale de Sciences Politiques in Paris.

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The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) is an agency of the United States Government established in 1971 that helps U.S. businesses invest overseas and promotes economic development in new and emerging markets as well as fosters the development & the growth of free markets.

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