Officially In: Wendy R. Sherman as Under Secretary for Political Affairs ("P")

Revolving door sign in Syracuse, New YorkImage via WikipediaOn July 1, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Wendy R. Sherman as the next Under Secretary for Political Affairs. The WH released the following brief bio:

Wendy R. Sherman is the Vice Chair of Albright Stonebridge Group, a global strategy firm, and is also a member of the Investment Committee of Albright Capital Management.  Before becoming a founding member of The Albright Group in 2001, she served as Counselor for the State Department, while also serving as President Clinton’s Policy Coordinator on North Korea from 1997 to 2001.  Prior to her confirmation as Counselor, Ambassador Sherman was President and CEO of the Fannie Mae Foundation.  From 1993 to 1996, she was Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs under Secretary of State Warren Christopher.  In 2008, she was appointed by Congressional leaders to serve on the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction, Proliferation and Terrorism.  Ambassador Sherman has served on the U.S. Defense Policy Board since 2009, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Aspen Strategy Group.  

She attended Smith College and received a B.A. from Boston University and a Master’s degree from the University of Maryland.

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According to the Historian’s Office, the Department of State by administrative action established the position of Deputy Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, after Congress authorized three Deputy Under Secretary positions in the State Department Reorganization Act of Aug 5, 1955 (P.L. 84-250; 69 Stat. 536). Prior to the creation of the position of Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs in Aug 1959, the Deputy Under Secretary for Political Affairs assisted the Secretary and Under Secretary in the formulation and conduct of U.S. foreign policy.

After Aug 1959, the Deputy Under Secretary for Political Affairs served as a focal point for interdepartmental relations, especially those dealing with politico-military issues. During 1969, the Department discontinued the position and created a new Bureau for Politico-Military Affairs.

If confirmed, Ms. Sherman would succeed career diplomat William J. Burns, recently nominated to be Deputy Secretary of State (a position that usually goes to a political appointee). She would also be the first woman ever to incumber the “P” office at the State Department. 

OpenSecrets.org of the Center for Responsive Politics has listed Ms. Sherman in its “revolving door” profiles and explains: 

“Although the influence powerhouses that line Washington’s K Street are just a few miles from the U.S. Capitol building, the most direct path between the two doesn’t necessarily involve public transportation. Instead, it’s through a door—a revolving door that shuffles former federal employees into jobs as lobbyists, consultants and strategists just as the door pulls former hired guns into government careers. While officials in the executive branch, Congress and senior congressional staffers spin in and out of the private and public sectors, so too does privilege, power, access and, of course, money.”

In terms of  the number of “revolving door” people profiled by the OpenSecrets.org, the State Department ranks #10 with 199 individuals — ahead of the Office of the Vice President but behind DOJ and way, way behind DOD.

Josh Rogin of The Cable notes that even before the official announcement of this nomination, “detractors in the Republican Party began a campaign to question her suitability for the post and her record both inside and out of government. Her confirmation hearing is sure to focus on her time dealing with Pyongyang, which is seen by her critics as a period of appeasement of the North Korean regime.”

Also that “Senate offices are also planning to dig into Sherman’s client base while she worked at Albright-Stonebridge.”

It doesn’t look like this would be a love feast over at the Senate. Still, I’m wondering who might show up to introduce her during the confirmation hearing …

Related item:
President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts | July 1, 2011

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4th of July – U.S. Embassy Celebration Round-Up (Part 2)


US Embassy Belgrade, Serbia | June 30, 2011


Ambassador Mary Warlick:
“This year we celebrate a milestone, 130 years of diplomatic relations between our two countries. In 1878, within days of Serbia gaining independence at the Congress of Berlin, the U.S. Ambassador to Vienna recommended to Washington that the United States establish formal relations with the Principality of Serbia. Although our economic relationship at the time was limited, the United States wanted to extend its support and official recognition to Serbia’s hard earned independence. Thus, in Belgrade in October of 1881, Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Finance Čedomilj Mijatović and U.S. diplomat Eugene Schuyler signed a Consular Convention and Treaty of Commerce.”

US Ambassador to Serbia Mary Warlick with husband, US Ambassador to
Bulgaria James Warlick during the July 4th celebration
at the US Embassy in Serbia
Photo from US Embassy Serbia/Facebook

US Embassy Nassau, Bahamas | June 30, 2011
“On Thursday, June 30 the United States Embassy observed the 235th Anniversary of Independence of the United States of America by co-hosting a grand celebration in Freeport, Grand Bahama under the theme, “Celebrating the United States’ Great Military Traditions”.  The event was held in partnership with the United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) aboard the U.S. Naval Ship USS VICKSBURG at the Lucayan Harbour.”

Minister of Housing The Hon. Kenneth Russell and Mrs. Russell,
Mr. Theodore Sarandos (Netflix’s Chief Content Office and ambassador’s spouse),
U.S. Ambassador to The Bahamas Nicole A. Avant,
USNORTHCOM Admiral James A. Winnefeld Jr., and Mrs. Winnefeld
participate in the official cake cutting ceremony

U.S. Embassy Paraguay | 1 July 2011

235º Aniversario de la Independencia| 1 de julio, 2011 – “Esta mañana, se llevó a cabo el Izamiento de la Bandera en conmemoración del 235º aniversario de la Independencia de los Estados Unidos de América. La Embajadora, Liliana Ayalde, dio lectura al mensaje de la Secretaria de Estado, Hillary Clinton, con motivo de la Independencia de los Estados Unidos, celebrada cada 4 de julio. El solemne acto se llevó a cabo en los jardines de la Embajada.”



US Embassy Kabul, Afghanistan |  July 02.2011


US Embassy Ottawa, Canada | July 4, 2011

Canada – USA Ambassador’s BBQ Cup held at the official residence of the U.S. ambassador, David Jacobson.  Three teams from Canada against three teams from the U.S. which reportedly served 4,000 guests.  Oh, yes, the Canadian team swept all three categories for chicken, ribs and pork butt! Ambassador Jacobson blogged about his bbq event with the 4,000 friends here.  Photos of the yummy bbq here.  Press coverage here.



US Mission Pakistan: Islamabad | July 4, 2011

U.S. Ambassador Cameron Munter, Pakistani Prime Minister Raza Gilani and wife of Ambassador Munter, Dr. Marilyn Wyatt cut the cake at Independence Day celebration in Islamabad. Also in photo is Minister of Interior Rehman Malik
Photo from US Embassy Pakistan
US Consulate General Lahore | June 30, 2011

“U.S. Consulate General Lahore celebrated 235th Independence day of the United States of America with great enthusiasm and festivities. Deputy Chief of Mission Richard E. Hoagland from Islamabad also participated in the event. […] This year’s theme was “Washington State” since our current Consul General Carmela Conroy was born there.  The party was based on a street market in Washington State called Pike Place Market.  The food represented Washington State specialties like apples and onions and were named after Washington State cities, famous locations and companies. Adding to the street market scene and feel, USAID displayed and presented seven projects that are currently underway in Pakistan. “

Deputy Chief of Mission Richard E. Hoagland, U.S. Consul General Carmela Conroy, and chief guest Shehryar Taseer cutting the Independence Day celebration party cake
Photo from US CG Lahore/Facebook