@StateDept Loses One More Under Secretary as Bruce Wharton (Public Diplomacy/Public Affairs) Steps Down

Posted: 4:31 am ET
Updated: July 29, 1:50 pm PT
[twitter-follow screen_name=’Diplopundit’]

 

One of the State Department’s top three senior officials is retiring this week. Ambassador D. Bruce Wharton was designated as Acting Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs (R) on December 8, 2016.  He was one of the top two senior officials who remained at the State Department after the January 20 transition (the other official was  Thomas A. Shannon, Jr. who is Under Secretary for Political Affairs). Ambassador Wharton’s main task is public diplomacy and public affairs engagement and to oversee the following bureaus: Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA)Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP)Bureau of Public Affairs (PA)Global Engagement Center (GEC); and the Office of Policy, Planning and Resources (R/PPR).

U/S Wharton’s second in command is listed as Mark Taplin, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary (PDAS) in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). We understand that Mr. Taplin is also stepping down, so he will not be Acting “R”.

Apparently, there are no senior officials in the bureau who were previously confirmed by the U.S. Senate.  It is not clear to anyone on who might assume Ambassador Wharton’s duties and responsibilities when he steps down this week. The Special Envoy and Coordinator of the Global Engagement Center is currently vacant and the deputy assistant secretaries (DASes) in the Public Affairs bureau are all on “acting” status.

We understand that Ambassador Wharton will transition to retirement via FSI’s retirement seminar but will retain and exercise the authorities needed to keep everything moving forward until another person is appointed to assume those authorities. But the retirement seminar is not very long, so at some point, absent a new nominee, Secretary Tillerson will need to appoint a senior official in an acting capacity to oversee “R.” 

Per authority delegated under section 308(a) of the Foreign Service Act of 1980, as amended, the Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources (who is now also in an acting capacity) may recall any retired career member of the Service for active duty whenever he or she determines that the needs of the Service so require. This authority was used previously to fill temporary vacancies but apparently as of last Monday, recalled retired FSOs have had their recalls cancelled.

Ambassador Wharton served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of African Affairs from 2015-2016. Prior to that he served as the U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe from September 2012 to November 2015. He has also served as the Bureau of African Affairs Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Diplomacy, African Affairs Director of the Office of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, and Deputy Coordinator of the Department of State’s Bureau of International Information Programs. From 2003 to 2006 he was the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala.

Bruce Wharton entered the Foreign Service in 1985 and has served at U.S. embassies in Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. In Africa, he has also had temporary duty in Tanzania, Nigeria, Kenya, and Ghana. From 1992 to 1995 he worked in Washington, D.C. on Andean Affairs and Western Hemisphere policy issues. He has received Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards from the Department of State and the U.S. Information Agency, and was the 2011 recipient of the Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Public Diplomacy.  He is a graduate of the University of Texas in Austin and speaks Spanish and German.

#

Advertisements

SFRC Clears Nine Ambassador Nominations, Two @StateDept Nominees, and Five Foreign Service Lists

Posted: 3:45 am ET
[twitter-follow screen_name=’Diplopundit’]

 

On July 27, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee cleared a nine nominees for ambassador positions, and two State Department positions. It also cleared the nominees for ECOSOC and OPIC and five Foreign Service lists.  The Senate was originally scheduled to leave for the August recess on July 28 and return after Labor Day. But the new schedule announced earlier this month will now keep them in Washington until Aug. 11. So there’s a good chance that these nominees will be confirmed by the full Senate before senators leave for their summer break. If that doesn’t happen, the confirmation votes will happen after September 4.

AMBASSADOR NOMINEES

The Honorable Luis E. Arreaga, 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 Guatemala

Ms. Callista L. Gingrich, of Virginia, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Holy See

Ms. Kelly Knight Craft, of Kentucky, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Canada

Ms. Sharon Day, of Florida, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Costa Rica

Mr. Lewis M. Eisenberg, of Florida, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Italian Republic, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of San Marino

Mr. George Edward Glass, of Oregon, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Portuguese Republic

The Honorable Kay Bailey Hutchison, of Texas, to be United States Permanent Representative on the Council of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, with the rank and status of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary

Mr. Robert Wood Johnson IV, o New York, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Mr. Krishna R. Urs, of Connecticut, 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 Peru

STATE DEPARTMENT

Mr. Carl C. Risch, of Pennsylvania, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Consular Affairs)

Nathan Alexander Sales, of Ohio, to be Coordinator for Counterterrorism, with the rank and status of Ambassador at Large, vice Tina S. Kaidanow, resigned.

UN/ECOSOC

Ms. Kelley Eckels Currie, of Georgia, to be Representative of the United States of America on the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, with the rank of Ambassador, and to be an Alternate Representative of the United States of America to the Sessions of the General Assembly of the United Nations

OPIC

Mr. Ray Washburne, of Texas, to be President of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation

FOREIGN SERVICE LISTS

* PN578 FOREIGN SERVICE nominations (164) beginning Nicholas Raymond Abbate, and ending Elizabeth Marie Wysocki, which nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record of June 6, 2017.

* PN579 FOREIGN SERVICE nominations (106) beginning Gabriela R. Arias Villela, and ending Haenim Yoo, which nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record of June 6, 2017.

* PN580 FOREIGN SERVICE nominations (4) beginning Andrew Anderson-Sprecher, and ending Evan Nicholas Mangino, which nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record of June 6, 2017.

* PN581 FOREIGN SERVICE nominations (4) beginning Rameeth Hundle, and ending Loren Stender, which nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record of June 6, 2017.

* PN730 FOREIGN SERVICE nominations (53) beginning Andrew K. Abordonado, and ending Peter B. Winter, which nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record of June 29, 2017.

 #

SFRC Confirmation Hearings: Ambassador Nominees Michael A. Raynor, Maria E. Brewer, and John P. Desrocher

Posted: 3:12 am ET
[twitter-follow screen_name=’Diplopundit’]

 

We missed this one but last Wednesday, the SFRC held a confirmation hearing on the nominations of three career diplomats to be ambassadors to Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, and Algeria.

Date: Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM
Location: SD-419
Presiding: Senator Flake

The video is available to watch here.

Nominees

The Honorable Michael Arthur Raynor
Of Maryland, 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 Federal Democratic Republic Of Ethiopia
Download Testimony

Ms. Maria E. Brewer
Of Indiana, 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 Sierra Leone
Download Testimony

Mr. John P. Desrocher
Of New York, A Career Member Of The Senior Foreign Service, Class Of Minister-Counselor, To Be Ambassado Extraordinary And Plenipotentiary Of The United States Of America To The People’s Democratic Republic Of Algeria
Download Testimony

 

#

VP Pence Swears-In U.S. Ambassador to Japan Bill Hagerty

Posted: 2:58 am ET
[twitter-follow screen_name=’Diplopundit’]

 

#