July 18 SFRC Hearing: Carl Risch to be Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs

Posted: 4:42 am ET
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Today, the SFRC is holding a confirmation hearing on the nomination of Carl C. Risch to the Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs (State/CA).

Date: Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM
Location: SD-419
Presiding: Senator Johnson

The live video and prepared testimony will be posted here when available.

The assistant secretary of state position is not ambassadorial rank and not a chief of mission position. The certificate of competency is a requirement under the Foreign Service Act of 1980 (see below). We do not know if there is a comparable document that is required for the top bureau positions at the State Department.

In accordance with Section 304 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980, Certificates of Competency must be presented to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for presidential nominees to be Chief of Mission that demonstrate the competence of [a] nominee to perform the duties of the position in which he or she is to serve. Per Section 712 of the Department of State Authorities Act, Fiscal Year 2017, Certificates of Competency are posted to this site within seven days of transmittal to the Senate. 

 

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July 18 SFRC Hearing: George Edward Glass to be U.S. Ambassador to Portugal

Posted: 4:35 am ET
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Today, the SFRC is holding a confirmation hearing on the nomination of George Edward Glass to be the U.S. Ambassador to Portugal.

Date: Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM
Location: SD-419
Presiding: Senator Johnson

The live video and prepared testimony will be posted here when available.

Below is the report submitted to the SFRC:

SUBJECT: Ambassadorial Nomination: Certificate of Demonstrated Competence — Foreign Service Act, Section 304(a)(4)

POST: Portuguese Republic

CANDIDATE: George Edward Glass

George Edward Glass, Owner & Managing Partner of MGG Development LLC in Lake Oswego, Oregon, is a prominent American businessman with an expertise in finance, investment banking, and technology. His company is a large commercial enterprise that purchases and operates apartment complexes and rental homes. In addition to his expertise in real estate, Mr. Glass is known for his business acumen, management skills and broad experience in technology investment banking and financing. He has been recognized for his contributions to higher education, in particular his role as a Trustee to the University of Oregon and his role as a Trustee of the Oregon Health Sciences University, where he serves on the investment and executive committees. Mr. Glass’s engaged leadership, insights and valuable contributions to economic development, especially in the global technology sector, make him well qualified to serve as Ambassador to Portugal.

Prior to establishing MGG Development in 2015, Mr. Glass was Founder, President and Vice Chairman of Pacific Crest Securities, a pre-eminent technology investment bank located in Portland, Oregon (1990-2014), Director of Fixed Income and Institutional Sales, Gallagher Capital Corporation, Portland, Oregon (1984-1990) and U.S. Treasury and Agency Bond Trader for the Investment Division of U.S. National Bank, U.S. National Bank, Portland, Oregon (1982-1984). He has served on numerous private and public boards and advisory councils.

Mr. Glass earned a B.S. from The University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon in 1989. He received the “Outstanding Young Alumnus Award” from the University of Oregon in 2004.

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July 18 SFRC Hearing: Nathan Alexander Sales to be Counterterrorism Coordinator

Posted: 4:31 am ET
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Today, the SFRC is holding a confirmation hearing on the nomination of Nathan Alexander Sales to be the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, with rank of Ambassador at Large.

Date: Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM
Location: SD-419
Presiding: Senator Johnson

The live video and prepared testimony will be posted here when available.

Below is the report submitted to the SFRC:

SUBJECT: Ambassadorial Nomination: Certificate of Demonstrated Competence — Foreign Service Act, Section 304(a)(4)

POST: Coordinator for Counterterrorism, with rank of Ambassador at Large

CANDIDATE: Nathan Alexander Sales

Nathan Alexander Sales is a distinguished attorney, scholar, and policy maker who currently is Associate Professor, Syracuse University College of Law and Of Counsel, Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Mr. Sales served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (2006 – 2007), and as Senior Counsel (2001 – 2003) and Special Counsel (2005) in the Office of Legal Policy, U.S. Department of Justice. Mr. Sales was Director, Homeland and National Security Curriculum, George Mason University School of Law (2008 – 2014) and a member of the Center for Strategic and International Studies and Heritage Foundation Joint Task Force on Homeland Security (2008). Mr. Sales was also a Member and Reporter on the American Bar Association Task Force on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (2010 – 2012). His considerable experience in government coupled with his professional and academic engagement on national security issues makes him well-qualified to serve as Coordinator for Counterterrorism, with the rank of Ambassador at Large.

Mr. Sales was John M. Olin Fellow, Georgetown University Law Center (2005 – 2006), Counsel with Bancroft PLLC (2005 – 2006 and 2007 – 2016), and is currently a member of the editorial board of the Journal of National Security Law and Policy.

Mr. Sales was awarded his B.A. from Miami University in 1997 and his J.D. from Duke Law School in 2000. He is the recipient of Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional service in 2002 and the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award in 2003.

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July 18 SFRC Hearing: Callista L. Gingrich to be U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See

Posted: 4:27 am ET
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The SFRC is holding a confirmation hearing today on the nomination of Callista Gingrich to be the U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See.

Date: Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM
Location: SD-419
Presiding: Senator Johnson

The live video and prepared testimony will be posted here when available.

Below is the Certificate of Demonstrated Competence submitted to the SFRC as required under the Foreign Service Act, Section 304(a)(4):

POST: Holy See

CANDIDATE: Callista L. Gingrich

Callista L. Gingrich is the President and CEO of Gingrich Productions, a multimedia production and consulting company in Arlington, Virginia. Mrs. Gingrich is also the author of the New York Times bestselling Ellis the Elephant children’s series and co-author of Rediscovering God in America. In addition to writing, Mrs. Gingrich, produces and hosts historical and public policy documentary films. Along with key Church leaders in the United States, Poland, and the Vatican, Mrs. Gingrich produced and hosted, Nine Days that Changed the World, about Pope John Paul II’s historic 1979 pilgrimage to Poland. This film has been very well received by the Catholic Church and is used in religious education programs throughout the United States. Recently Mrs. Gingrich produced and hosted a documentary film entitled, Divine Mercy: The Canonization of John Paul II. Mrs. Gingrich’s understanding of the Catholic Church, her considerable experience in government and business, and her ability to communicate effectively make her well-qualified to serve as the United States Ambassador to the Holy See.

Prior to leading Gingrich Productions, Mrs. Gingrich served as a congressional aide in the U.S. House of Representatives. She worked on the House Committee on Agriculture (1995-2007), and in the Office of Congressman Steve Gunderson (R-WI) (1988-2007). A lifelong Catholic, Mrs. Gingrich has a deep appreciation for the Catholic Church. Active in her faith community, she has sung for over 20 years at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. Mrs. Gingrich is also the President of The Gingrich Foundation, dedicated to supporting charitable causes and preserving American history.

Mrs. Gingrich earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree and graduated Cum Laude from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa in 1988. While at Luther, Mrs. Gingrich was a member of Pi Kappa Lambda (music honor society) and a Regents Scholar.

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SFRC Grills D/S Sullivan About @StateDept FY18 Reauthorization Bill and Reorganizational Plans

Posted: 4:22 am ET
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Deputy Secretary John Sullivan appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on July 18 for a hearing intended to Review the State Department Reauthorization Bill for FY 2018 and the State Department Reorganization Plans. As we expected, the deputy secretary cited the “listening tour” as the “cornerstone” of the agency’s redesign efforts:

In the 21st century, the United States faces many evolving threats to our national security. As the Committee knows well, the State Department – with a workforce of more than 75,000 – must respond to these challenges with the necessary speed and the appropriate resources. In other words, the nature of our work at the State Department demands flexibility and adaptability to an ever-changing world. We ask that the Committee keep this in mind as you continue to evaluate proposals for the Authorization Bill.

We also appreciate the great interest and support the Committee has shown to the Department’s efforts to make our programs and organizations more efficient and effective. The cornerstone of this redesign effort has been the input and feedback received from State Department employees.

Our main take away from watching the hearing is that D/Secretary Sullivan is a more personable and reassuring presence when talking about the State Department and USAID. He comes across as a champion of his agency without contradicting his superiors. He sounded reasonable and accommodating to the requests of the senators. At one point during the hearing, Senator Udall (D-NM) complained that he sent the Department a letter asking for specific information but has not received a response in four months. D/Secretary Sullivan quickly apologized, saying this is the first he’s heard of it, and he will make sure it is acted soonest.

There were lots of concern about the reported merger of State and USAID.  D/S Sullivan assured the senators that there is no predetermination in absorbing USAID to State. He also told Senator Menendez that there is no intention to fold USAID into State. He explained that the merger is a proposal made by people outside of the State Department but that there has not been an intention to absorb USAID to State.

He was also asked about the idea floated by the WH of moving CA and PRM functions to DHS. He told the panel that it is not the intent of the Department to move these functions.  He told the senators that it is something that if it were raised, they would  consider it but that it would be from a position that the two are vital to the mission of the State Department. Senator Shaheen (D-NH) informed him that if this  happens, she would be one of those leading the charge against it.

Senator Udall said the panel need significant oversight language in the bill to ensure that Congress has a say on the reorganization at State. Senator Cardin said that he expect State to implement what Congress has authorized and wanted some some assurance that when Congress passes the appropriation and authorization that it would be carried out. D/S Sullivan assured him that his agency will comply with the law, execute the law, and follow the instructions of Congress.

Special envoys is a big topic for the panel. Apparently there are about 68 special envoys; of that 7 are permissive positions (Congress uses may instead of shall) and 11 are mandated positions.  The senators worry that they all come with large staff. One senator wanted to know — if Congress is the authorizing body, do they have to put these positions in a statute? And should the Senate provide advice and consent for all of them. Senator Corker notes that despite the complaints about the multiple special envoys, Secretary Tillerson had recently appointed a Special Envoy for Ukraine. He notes that if we have somebody working on policy that the individual should go through confirmation.

In addition to the budget request and the reorganization, other topics discussed include diversity, employee welfare (Mission Juba got a mention from Senator Coons), Global Engagement Center (a mention from Senator Portman), morale problems and isolated leadership (Senator Udall’s concerns), hiring freeze, and the Russian diplomatic properties.

Senator Corker closed the meeting with a compliment for D/S Sullivan about the latter bringing a lot to the Department at the time when it is most needed.

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