Officially In: Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley to Valletta*

A church in St. Julian's, Malta.Image via WikipediaPresident Obama recently announced his intent to nominate Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley to be Ambassador to the Republic of Malta.

The WH released the following brief bio:

Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister-Counselor, currently serves as Deputy Coordinator for Policy, Programs, and Budget in the Office of the Coordinator for Counter-Terrorism. Prior to this role, she was Director of the Office of Egypt and the Levant in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.  Her previous positions include: Chairwoman for Middle East Area Studies at the Foreign Service Institute, Consul General in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Senior Advisor for Middle Eastern Affairs at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, Director for Near East South Asian Affairs, and Director for Legislative Affairs at the National Security Council.  Her earlier posts include: Political Officer at the Embassy in Tel Aviv with responsibility for the Gaza Strip, Consul in Baghdad, and postings in Jakarta and Cairo.  She joined the Foreign Service in 1985 after serving as a Presidential Management Fellow at the United States Information Agency.

Ms. Abercrombie-Winstanley received a B.A. from George Washington University and an M.A. from Johns Hopkins University.

If confirmed, Ms. Abercrombie-Winstanley, a career diplomat would succeed political appointee, Douglas Kmiec who resigned in August this year as US ambassador to Malta. We haven’t had a career diplomat assigned to the US embassy in Valletta since 1985 when Gary L. Matthews was appointed chief of mission by President Ronald Reagan. 

We note that Ms. Abercrombie-Winstanley had spent most of her recent
assignments in the domestic offices of the State Department.  Except for a stint as Consul
General in Jeddah (presumably a three-year tour see update below), and earlier assignments overseas, her bio indicates that she spent the last several years in the offices of CT, NEA, FSI,
USUN, NSC. As far as I can tell, all those offices are not overseas. And really, except for USUN in New York where rental rates are awful (and Jeddah), would anyone call any of those assignment a hardship?  But Malta is an island, with only a few thousand folks; and if State takes away its R&Rs, it’ll definitely be a hardship assignment.

Update: Not sure how long was the Jeddah assignment and how long ago was the assignment there but see the comment from one of our readers.  I stand corrected.  Note that Jeddah, Saudi Arabia is currently a 15% danger post, a 20% hardship post, and a 15% cost of living differential.

*Note: In honor of Mr. Dorschner who recently wrote about “a rule is a rule,” Diplopundit will start monitoring the prior gigs of ambassadorial nominees, particularly those of our career diplomats. We heard that FSOs cannot get promoted without hardships assignments which seems to mean, right now, the war zone destinations of Iraq and Afghanistan (Pakistan, too).

Related item:
President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts | Oct 17, 2011