Trump to Nominate FL State Representative Carlos Trujillo to be OAS Ambassador

Posted: 1:39 am ET
Follow @Diplopundit

 

On October 26, President Trump announced his intent to nominate Carlos Trujillo, a Florida State Representative to be the next U.S. Representative to the Organization of American States (OAS). The WH released the following brief bio:

Carlos Trujillo of Florida to be the Permanent Representative of the United States to the Organization of American States with the rank of Ambassador. Mr. Trujillo has been the Florida State Representative for the 105th District in the Florida House of Representatives, Tallahassee, Florida since 2010.  An attorney, he simultaneously has been the Founding Partner of Trujillo, Vargas, Gonzalez and Hevia LLP since 2011 and President of Carlos Trujillo, PA, since 2007.  Previously, he served as a Florida Assistant State Attorney at the Miami Dade County State Attorney’s Office in Miami from 2007 to 2011.  He also has been a Board Member of the Public Health Trust of Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami.  Mr. Trujillo earned a B.S. from Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama and a J.D. from Florida State College of Law in Tallahassee.  He speaks fluent Spanish.

The Chief of Mission has the title of Permanent Representative of the U.S.A. to the Organization of American States, with the rank of Ambassador; until April 12, 1971, this position was also Representative of the U.S.A. on the Council of the Organization of American States, with the rank of Ambassador.

If confirmed, Mr. Trujillo would succeed noncareer appointee Carmen L. Lomellin who served from 2009–2016 according to history.state.gov.  Mari Del Carmen Aponte was nominated for this position on July 31, 2014, but the nomination was not acted upon by the Senate. She was re-nominated on July 8, 2015, and the nomination was not acted upon and eventually was returned to President Obama on January 3, 2017.

The last career appointee to this position was John F. Maisto who was previously U.S. Ambassador to Nicaragua and Venezuela prior to his appointment to the OAS. He served as Permanent Representative of the U.S.A. to the Organization of American States (Washington) from 2003 to 2006.

#

Advertisements

SFRC Clears 23 @StateDept Nominations, Including 18 Ambassador Nominees and One FS List

Posted: 1::58 pm PT
Follow @Diplopundit

 

On October 26, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee cleared the following executive nominations for the State Department

AMBASSADORS

HAITI | The Honorable Michele Jeanne Sison, of Maryland, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Career Minister, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Haiti.

NETHERLANDS | The Honorable Peter Hoekstra, of Michigan, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

INDIA | The Honorable Kenneth Ian Juster, of New York, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of India.

DJIBOUTI |  The Honorable Larry Edward Andre, Jr., of Texas, 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 Djibouti.

VIETNAM| Mr. Daniel J. Kritenbrink, 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 Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

TIMOR-LESTE |  Ms. Kathleen M. Fitzpatrick, of the District of Columbia, 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 Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste.

SPAIN & ANDORRA |  Mr. Richard Duke Buchan III, of Florida, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Spain, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Andorra.

GERMANY |  Mr. Richard Grenell, of California, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Federal Republic of Germany.

FRANCE & MONACO | Ms. Jamie McCourt, of California, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the French Republic, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Principality of Monaco.

SWITZERLAND & LIECHTENSTEIN | Mr. Edward T. McMullen, Jr., of South Carolina, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Swiss Confederation, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Principality of Liechtenstein.

CAMEROON | Mr. Peter Henry Barlerin, of Colorado, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Cameroon.

MAURITANIA |  Mr. Michael James Dodman, of New York, 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 Islamic Republic of Mauritania.

ANGOLA |  Ms. Nina Maria Fite, of Pennsylvania, 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 Angola.

ZAMBIA |  Mr. Daniel L. Foote, of New York, 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 Zambia.

MAURITIUS & SEYCHELLES | Mr. David Dale Reimer, of Ohio, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Mauritius, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Seychelles.

NIGER | Mr. Eric P. Whitaker, of Illinois, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Niger.

CROATIA | Mr. W. Robert Kohorst, of California, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Croatia.

DENMARK | Ms. Carla Sands, of California, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Denmark.

STATE DEPARTMENT

DIPLOMATIC SECURITY |Mr. Michael T. Evanoff, of Arkansas, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Diplomatic Security).

ECONOMIC/BUSINESS AFFAIRS | Ms. Manisha Singh, of Florida, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Economic and Business Affairs).

LEGAL ADVISOR | Ms. Jennifer Gillian Newstead, of New York, to be Legal Advisor of the Department of State

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM | The Honorable Samuel Dale Brownback, of Kansas, to be Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom.

ICAO | Mr. Thomas L. Carter, of South Carolina, for the rank of Ambassador during his tenure of service as Representative of the United States of America on the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization.

The SFRC also cleared one FSO list (PN1066 FOREIGN SERVICE nominations (61) beginning Julie P. Akey, and ending Vera N. Zdravkova, which nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record of October 2, 2017).

~~ *~~

Previously, the SFRC cleared the following nominations that to-date have yet to get their full Senate votes:

Aug 03, 2017 Reported by Mr. Corker, Committee on Foreign Relations, without printed report.

Jay Patrick Murray, of Virginia, to be Alternate Representative of the United States of America for Special Political Affairs in the United Nations, with the rank of Ambassador.

Jay Patrick Murray, of Virginia, to be an Alternate Representative of the United States of America to the Sessions of the General Assembly of the United Nations, during his tenure of service as Alternate Representative of the United States of America for Special Political Affairs in the United Nations.

Sep 19, 2017 Reported by Mr. Corker, Committee on Foreign Relations, without printed report.

Doug Manchester, of California, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

Kathleen Troia McFarland, of New York, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Singapore.

EUROPEAN BANK FOR RECONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT

Steven T. Mnuchin, of California, to be United States Governor of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, United States Governor of the African Development Fund, and United States Governor of the Asian Development Bank, vice Jacob Joseph Lew, resigned.

Sep 28, 2017 Placed on the Calendar pursuant to S.Res. 116, 112th Congress.

Mary Kirtley Waters, of Virginia, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Legislative Affairs), vice Julia Frifield.

#

Who’s a Slacker in Policing Sexual Misconduct in Federal Agencies? Take a Guess

Posted: 1:26 am ET
Follow @Diplopundit

 

WaPo just did a piece on sexual misconduct in federal agencies, or the lack of consistent disciplinary practices across agencies based on the staff report by the House Oversight Government Report Committee (report embedded below).

Here’s a public request from WaPo’s Joe Davidson who writes the Federal Insider column:

Questions for Federal Insider readers: How pervasive is sexual harassment in the federal government? If you have been the target of sexual harassment, please tell us the circumstances, what form the harassment took, whether it was reported, what was done about it and whether the perpetrator was disciplined. We will use this information for a future column. In certain cases we can print your comments without identification. Please send your comments to joe.davidson@washpost.com with “sexual misconduct” in the subject line.

Here is an excerpt from the OGRC, a case study that is distinctly familiar:

The hearing examined patterns of sexual harassment and misconduct at the USDA, as well as the fear many employees had of retaliation for reporting these types of cases. It also addressed the agency’s response to harassment incidents and its efforts to improve.66

At the hearing, two women testified publicly about the harassment they personally experienced while on the job at the Forest Service and how the agency’s subsequent investigation and discipline failed to address those responsible. Witness Denice Rice testified about her experiences dealing with sexual harassment on the job when her division chief was allowed to retire before facing discipline, despite his history of misconduct.67 Further, the Forest Service re-hired this individual as a contractor and invited him to give a motivational speech to employees.68 In addition, witness Lesa Donnelly testified about her and others’ experiences with sexual misconduct at the Forest Service. Her testimony spoke about those who were too afraid to report harassment because they feared retaliation from the perpetrators.69

The report cites USAID and the State Department for having Tables of Penalties but although it cites USAID for having “differing Tables of Penalties for foreign service employees and other civilian employees primarily covered by Title 5, United States Code”, it says that the State Department’s Table is “used for foreign service employees only”.

The Foreign Affairs Manual actually spells out penalties for both Foreign Service and Civil Service employees.

3 FAM 4370 LIST OF OFFENSES SUBJECT TO DISCIPLINARY ACTION – FOREIGN SERVICE

24. Use of U.S. Government equipment for prohibited activities, including gambling, advertising for personal gain, or viewing, downloading, storing, transmitting, or copying materials that are sexually explicit, while on or off duty or on or off U.S. Government premises

50. Violation of laws, regulations, or policies relative to trafficking in persons and the procurement of commercial sex, any attempt to procure commercial sex, or the appearance of procuring commercial sex

51.  Sexual Assault (3 FAM 1700)

3 FAM 4540 LIST OF OFFENSES SUBJECT TO DISCIPLINARY ACTION – CIVIL SERVICE

24. Use of U.S. Government equipment for prohibited activities, including gambling, advertising for personal gain, or viewing, downloading, storing, or transmitting, or copying materials that are sexually explicit, while on duty.

48. Violation of laws, regulations, or policies relative to trafficking in persons and the procurement of commercial sex, any attempt to procure commercial sex, or the appearance of procuring of commercial sex

49. Sexual Assault (3 FAM 1700)

You will note by now that sexual harassment is not on these Tables of Penalties.  Both regs cited above have a section that says its Table of Penalties is not an all-inclusive list. The State Department says “It is impossible to list every possible punishable offense, and no attempt has been made to do this:” But it includes this:

#a. Employees are on notice that any violation of Department regulations could be deemed misconduct regardless of whether listed in 3 FAM 4540.  This table of penalties lists the most common types of employee misconduct.  Some offenses have been included mainly as a reminder that particular behavior is to be avoided, and in the case of certain type of offenses, like sexual assault, workplace violence, and discriminatory and sexual harassment, to understand the Department’s no-tolerance policy.

#b. All employees are on notice that misconduct toward, or exploitation of, those who are particularly vulnerable to the employee’s authority and control, e.g., subordinates, are considered to be particularly egregious and will not be tolerated.

The State Department’s sexual harassment policy is here.  Also see  3 FAM 1520  NON-DISCRIMINATION ON THE BASIS OF RACE, COLOR, NATIONAL ORIGIN, SEX, OR RELIGION updated last in December 2010.

For blogposts on sexual harassment click here; for sexual assaults, click here.

#

@USAmbCanada Kelly Craft Makes Splash Over “Both Sides of the Science” #ClimateChange

Posted: 12:39 am ET
Follow @Diplopundit

 

#

@USAmbNZ Scott Brown Gets Ahead of Bad News Over “Insensitive” Comments Probe

Posted: 12:31 am ET
Updated: Oct 27 | 12:44 am ET
Follow @Diplopundit

 

Stuff New Zealand reported on October 26 that the US ambassador to New Zealand Scott Brown faced complaints over ‘cultural misunderstanding.’

US Ambassador Scott Brown has fronted over mounting “innuendo and rumour” about a State Department investigation into his behaviour. Speaking to Stuff with wife Gail Huff at his side, Brown confirmed there had been an official “administrative inquiry” into his conduct at a Peace Corps event in Samoa in July.

It is not clear if the inquiry is conducted by HR, EEOC or OIG (we’ve asked but have not received a response) but whatever it is, talking to the local media, bound to be picked up by U.S. news media, is a calculated way to get ahead of the potential fallout from a probe that has not been publicly known until now.

We hope he’s learned his lesson that he’s not just some ex-politician from New Hampshire or Massachusetts anymore. He speaks for the United States at all times now until he steps down; and as with career folks who are considered on duty 24/7, the ambassador no longer has the luxury of personal views, only official ones. For Exhibit A, see @StateDept: Ambassador Friedman’s comment “does not represent a shift in U.S. policy”; for Exhibit B, see @StateDept on Amb. Friedman’s comment (again): “should not be read as a change in U.S. policy”.

Below is the official response from the State Department: 

The State Department takes allegations of misconduct seriously and we investigate them thoroughly. We hold all employees to the highest standard. The Office of Inspector General has conducted an independent review of the allegations and reported its findings to the Department. Senior leadership at the State Department has been in contact with Ambassador Brown and he has been counseled on standards of conduct for government employees, which also includes Ambassadors.

So hey, while we’re on the subject of “insensitive” or “inappropriate” comments, say…we’ve posted about this and more related to Diplomatic Security. Has anyone sent in investigators over there to see about Special Agent Sticky Balls and what he’s up these days?

#

Tillerson Delivers to @StateDept’s Africa Bureau Its “Most Significant Management Challenge”

Posted: 12:25 am ET
Follow @Diplopundit

 

All Foreign Service posts in Africa receive post hardship differential, that is, an allowance meant to provide “additional compensation of up to 35 percent over basic compensation for the majority of employees officially stationed or detailed to a mission with extraordinarily difficult living conditions, excessive physical hardship, or notably unhealthful conditions.” More than half of all AF posts have been designated “Historically Difficult to Staff” meaning fewer than three at- grade/in-skill-code bids were received in three of the last four summer bidding cycles. Of all AF posts, 47 percent (24 posts) have also been designated ” Service Need Differential” that is, 20 percent hardship differential/standard 2 year tour of duty gets a 15 percent  bump in pay if employees agree to serve a third year.

According to State/OIG, the AF Bureau’s FY2017 staffing includes 1,147 American Direct Hire overseas, 572 local staff, 140 reemployed annuitants (retired Civil Service or Foreign Service employee rehired on an intermittent basis for no more than 1,040 hours during the year), and 14 rover-employees based overseas who go where they are needed. State/OIG also says that the AF bureau relies on 399 eligible family member employees for its overseas staffing. The 399 EFM employees are not specifically excluded from the State/OIG 1,147 count; we calculate that family member employees encumbering direct-hire positions constitute 34 percent, or a third of the bureau’s overseas workforce. If the 399 employes are in addition to the 1,147 count,  the number would be 25 percent, or a quarter of the bureau’s overseas workforce.

To be sure, staffing the AF Bureau’s posts has suffered from longstanding difficulties. Unfortunately for everyone with few exceptions,  the 69th Secretary of State sure made it worse.

On January 23, 2017, President Trump ordered a freeze on the hiring of Federal civilian employees to be applied across the board in the executive branch (see OMB Issues Initial Guidance For Federal Civilian Hiring Freeze (Read Memo); President Trump Freezes Federal Hiring Regardless of Funding Sources (Read Memo).

In April, while the OMB lifted the hiring freeze, the State Department with very few exceptions continued with its self-imposed freeze (see No thaw in sight for @StateDept hiring freeze until reorganization plan is “fully developed”).  On April 12, 2017, the State Department posted a statement indicating that the current hiring freeze guidance remained in effect particularly as it affected the hiring of Foreign Service family members (see Are #EFM positions literally about to become…extinct under #Tillerson’s watch?).

During the first week of August, amidst cascading bad press of his stewardship of the State Department, Secretary Tillerson quietly “approved an exemption to the hiring freeze that will allow the Department to fill a number of priority EFM positions that are currently vacant. This exemption gives posts authority to fill critical vacancies supporting security, safety and health responsibilities.”

The hiring freeze snared folks who transferred between January and July (FLO April data says 743 jobs were pending due to security clearance or hiring freeze). Deputy Secretary Sullivan told members of the press on August 8 that “almost 800 EFMs [that] have been approved since this – the hiring freeze was imposed.” So, that’s like everyone who’s been waiting since January. And we were all so happy to see folks granted the exemptions that we forgot to ask who’s the “bright” bulb who started this mess. And if these EFM jobs were finally filled in August (a month before the end of the fiscal year), these employees could not all show up to work the following week, given all the paperwork needed and security investigations required.

Freezing EFM jobs never made sense. We’re still floored that it lasted that long and no one told S “But that’s nuts!” Despite Mr. Tillerson slip of the tongue (“we’re styling as the redesign of the State Department”), we can’t imagine the “redesign” resulting in zero jobs for diplomatic spouses overseas, not only because EFM jobs  makes sense and help post morale, but also because it is the cheaper option.  Unless, of course, 1) the “employee-led” redesign teams are proposing that embassies hire third country nationals for mailroom, escort, fingerprinting, and all support services for post overseas, too (yes, we heard North Korean labor imports are way cheaper). Or 2) this is part of the strategery to reduce the FS workforce without going through a reduction-in-force, while maintaining a goal of a 3 for 1 in attrition.

In any case, as we’ve pointed out in May, when the EFMs leave posts during the transfer season, their positions would not have been filled (with very few exceptions) due to the hiring freeze; and they could not be hired at their next posts because of the same hiring freeze. And that’s exactly what happened. In the oral history of the State Department, this will be remembered as that time when the Secretary of State created/produced/delivered one bureau its “most significant management challenge.” We don’t think this is limited to just the AF Bureau but it’s the only one reported on by State/OIG at this time.

Via State/OIG (PDF):

Four previous OIG reports over the past 20 years have highlighted challenges in staffing AF’s overseas posts. OIG found that these challenges persist, despite reforms to Foreign Service bidding and career development processes intended to promote service in hardship posts and bolster bureau efforts to improve recruitment. Hardships at AF’s overseas posts include ethnic violence, deteriorating local infrastructure, evacuations, health risks, high crime, limited recreation opportunities, physical isolation, political instability, pollution, poor medical facilities, severe climates, and substandard schools. All 51 AF posts receive post hardship differential, 27 posts were included in the Historically Difficult to Staff program, and 24 were Service Need Differential posts.

AF’s difficulties in filling its overseas positions were profound. For the 2017 summer bidding season, AF attracted, at most, only one Foreign Service bidder on 37 percent of its positions, leaving 143 of 385 total positions potentially unfilled. The bureau used a broad range of alternative and sometimes costly personnel mechanisms to fill vacancies and short-term gaps. It relied on 399 eligible family member employees, a roster of 140 reemployed annuitants, 14 rovers based overseas, and approximately 50 senior locally employed staff members to fill staffing gaps and support essential services. AF also filled about 25 percent of its 2017 positions with entry-level employees. AF overseas management officers who responded to an OIG survey cited concerns about eligible family member employment as their most significant management challenge. Because of the Department-wide hiring freeze, these positions could not be filled as they became vacant. These vacancies are of concern because, as explained by the Government Accountability Office in 2009, staffing and experience gaps place at risk diplomatic readiness, particularly for high-threat environments such as those in which AF operates.

For readers who are not familiar with the Foreign Service and spouse employment — say you and your spouse arrived at a 2-year assignment at a post in Africa in late October 2016. You found an embassy job in December 2016 but was not officially hired prior to January 22, 2017, so you would have been included in the hiring freeze. When the EFM exemptions were granted on August 4, you would have already waited some eight months to start on that embassy job. Wait, but you needed a security clearance or an interim security clearance which could also take a few weeks to 90 days (or longer). By the time you officially start work, you have some 12-14 months to do the job (maybe less). And then you move on to your next  post and do this process all over again. Now, imagine doing this every 2-3 years, that’s the arc of the working life of a diplomatic spouse.

Photo of the Day: Excuse me? Who is this person, and why is he redesigning my playtime?

Posted: 2:32 am ET
Follow @Diplopundit

 

Via state.gov:

Secretary Tillerson Greets Staff and Families at U.S. Embassy Riyadh
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson greets U.S. Embassy staff and their families at the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on October 22, 2017. [State Department Photo/ Public Domain]

#

Tillerson Talks About the Styled Redesign and Expected “Quick Wins” in 2018

Posted: 2:21 am ET
Follow @Diplopundit

 

Excerpt from Rex W. Tillerson’s Remarks to Staff and Families at U.S. Embassy Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, October 22, 2017:

But a real – a real honor to be here. I do want to say a real quick word because I know there’s a lot of interest in what we’re doing back home with what we’re styling as the redesign of the State Department. And this is very much a bottom-up, a bottom-up, employee – your colleagues – led initiative. Many of you, I hope, participated early on when we had the listening tour, we called it, exercise. We had over 35,000 of your colleagues, and I’m sure many of you responded to the survey that was conducted early on. We had 300 face-to-face interviews with various members of the State Department at all types of positions and including people out in mission.

And this was so that I could get some baseline understanding of what are the issues that you’re faced with, what are the challenges, what are things we can do to help you get your work done more effectively and more efficiently. So out of that we’ve created a number of working teams. There are five core teams that are working on a number of work processes and addressing all kinds of issues, from hardware issues like our IT systems, which I know everyone knows we need some upgrading to, and other ways that we can make you efficient. But we’re looking also at how we train people for assignment, lengths of assignment, how do we allow you to contribute more, what are the obstacles to getting your work done, what are the interface issues, how can we clear some of the obstacles out for you. So this is very much led by your colleagues, and then my role is to try to clear and do some blocking and tackling for all of that effort as well.

So the work’s underway. We’re going to be saying more here as we get towards the end of the year. We have some what we’re calling quick – we believe they’re quick wins and things that we’ll be able to do right away and implement throughout 2018 that we hope you’re going to see the effects of that are going to make your work easier, more efficient. And ultimately, the objective is that you have a very fulfilling, rewarding career. You’ve dedicated yourself. This is what you want to do. We want to allow you to be successful and to have a very fulfilling career and realize all of your own aspirations as well. So it’s something that I’m quite committed to, and we have a great team of folks back home helping us, your colleagues helping us in that regard as well.

Read the full remarks here.

#

Retired Navy Rear Admiral Kenneth J. Braithwaite to be U.S. Ambassador to Norway

Posted: 1:35 am ET
Follow @Diplopundit

 

On October 19, President Trump announced his intent to nominate Kenneth J. Braithwaite to be the next ambassador to Norway. The WH released the following brief bio:

Kenneth J. Braithwaite of Pennsylvania to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Norway. Mr. Braithwaite, a distinguished 27-year veteran of the U.S. Navy and U.S. Navy Reserve, currently serves as Group Senior Vice President for Vizient, a healthcare strategy and performance improvement company. He completed his military service in 2011 as the Navy’s Vice Chief of Information. Immediately prior, he served as Commanding Officer, Joint Public Affairs Expeditionary Support Element (Reserve), Joint Forces Command. In that role, he deployed to Pakistan as the overall Director of Strategic Communications supporting work of the American Embassy. Earlier, Mr. Braithwaite served as Commanding Officer, Navy Combat Camera deployed in combat operations to Iraq. He also served as Executive Director, Delaware Valley Healthcare Council; Vice President, Government Affairs, Ascension Health and State Director to U.S. Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA). Mr. Braithwaite received his B.S degree from the U.S. Naval Academy, his pilot wings as a Naval Aviator and an M.G.A from the University of Pennsylvania.

Almost 80 percent of ambassadors nominated for this post are political non-career appointees.  The U.S. Navy provides a more detailed bio for Trump’s second rear admiral appointee (also see Retired Navy Rear Admiral Edward Masso to be Ambassador to Estonia):

In his final assignment as the Navy’s Vice Chief of Information Rear Adm. (ret) Kenneth J. Braithwaite served as the principal Navy Reserve liaison and advisor to the Chief of Information having responsibility for formulating strategic communications counsel to the leadership of the Department of the Navy. Concurrently, he served as the head of the Navy Reserve (NR) Public Affairs program and as an adjunct advisor to the Commander, Navy Reserve Force.

A 1984 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, Braithwaite was designated a naval aviator in April 1986. His first operational assignment was to Patrol Squadron 17, NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii. He flew anti-submarine missions tracking adversary submarines throughout the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean regions.

In April 1988, Braithwaite was selected for redesignation as a public affairs officer (PAO) with his initial tour aboard the aircraft carrier USS America (CV-66). He had additional duty as PAO to Commander Carrier Group 2 and Commander, Striking Force 6th Fleet. He made both a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Force deployment to the North Atlantic operating above the Arctic Circle and a Mediterranean /Indian Ocean cruise where the battle group responded to tensions in the Persian Gulf. In 1990 he was assigned to the staff of Commander, Naval Base Philadelphia as chief of Public Affairs.

Braithwaite left active duty in 1993 and immediately resumed naval service in the reserve where he served with numerous commands from Boston to Norfolk. Additionally during this time he earned a master’s degree in Government Administration in April 1995 with honors from the University of Pennsylvania.

In October 2001, Braithwaite assumed command of NR Fleet Combat Camera Atlantic at Naval Air Station Willow Grove, Pa. During this tour the command was tasked with providing support to the Joint Task Force (JTF) Commander, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In March 2003 Braithwaite deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom with a portion of his command in support of naval operations to capture the port of Umm Qasr. Following this tour he served as commanding officer of Navy Office of Information New York 102.

Braithwaite served as Commander, Joint Public Affairs Support Element-Reserve (JPASE-R) from October of 2004 to October 2007. In this role he commanded a 50-person joint public affairs expeditionary unit that was forward deployed to support Joint Combatant Commanders in time of conflict. While in command and following the devastating earthquake in Pakistan in 2005, Braithwaite was deployed to Pakistan as part of the Joint Task Force for Disaster Assistance serving as the director of Strategic Communications working for both the JTF Commander and the U.S. Ambassador in Islamabad.

His decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal (with oak leaf cluster), Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (5) with Combat “V”, Navy Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon and numerous campaign and service medals.

#

#

Avoidable Mess: U.S. to Help Chad After “Important Partner” Withdraws Troops From Niger Following Visa Sanctions

Posted: 3:33 am ET
Follow @Diplopundit

 

On September 24, President Trump announced new security measures that establish minimum requirements for international cooperation to support U.S. visa and immigration vetting and new visa restrictions for eight countries, including Chad. See Trump Announces New Visa Restrictions For Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, Somalia:.

Chad – Although it is an important partner, especially in the fight against terrorists, the government in Chad does not adequately share public-safety and terrorism-related information, and several terrorist groups are active within Chad or in the surrounding region, including elements of Boko Haram, ISIS-West Africa, and al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb. Accordingly, the entry into the United States of nationals of Chad, as immigrants, and as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas, is suspended.

Via BuzzFeed: Experts from the State Department to humanitarian organizations were stunned when the Chad was added to the travel ban in late September. The country is home to a US military facility and just hosted an annual 20-nation military exercise with the US military’s Africa Command to strengthen local forces to fight extremist insurgents. Chad’s capital, N’Djamena, is the headquarters of the five-country Multinational Joint Task Force battling Boko Haram.

What kind of visa numbers do we have for Chad? For temporary nonimmigrant visas the last five fiscal years, see below via travel.state.gov:

FY2016: 1,355 | FY2015: 1,352 | FY2014: 1,294 |  FY2013: 731 |  FY2012: 624

So given Chad’s counterterrorism cooperation, and the carved out already given to Iraq in the September 24 order, why was Chad included in the visa restrictions?  FP proposes this:

One possible explanation for this discrepancy, which would be preposterous in any administration except this one, is that the architects of the ban, having repeatedly heard the phrases “Boko Haram” and “Lake Chad” in the same sentence, assumed that Chad must be the epicenter of Boko Haram. (Lake Chad in fact lies on the border of Chad and three other countries, and Boko Haram is mostly confined to northern Nigeria, northern Cameroon, and southeastern Niger.)
[…]
In the wake of the new travel ban announcement on Sept. 24, Chad has withdrawn hundreds of troops from neighboring Niger, where up to 2,000 of its soldiers were part of a coalition battling Boko Haram. The Chadian government has not yet offered an official explanation for the pullout, but Communications Minister Madeleine Alingué condemned Chad’s inclusion on the travel ban, saying that it “seriously undermines” the “good relations between the two countries, notably in the fight against terrorism.”
[…]
The Chadian president is likely betting that with his forces withdrawn from Niger, the Trump administration will quickly come to appreciate his country’s security contributions and remove it from the list.

But it turns out — Chad had simply run out of passport paper!

AP’s Josh Lederman writes that Chad lacked the passport paper and offered to furnish the U.S. with a pre-existing sample of the same type of passport, but it was not enough to persuade DHS.  A congressional official told the AP that DHS working with the White House “pushed Chad onto the list without significant input from the State Department or the Defense Department.” 

Without significant input from agencies with people on the ground in Chad. If we were in Chad’s shoes, wouldn’t we do exactly the same? Obviously, being called an “important partner” does not make up for having your citizens banned from traveling to the other country. The action telegraphed careless disregard of the relationship, and Chad most likely, will not forget this easily. “Remember that time when the U.S. put Chad on the visa sanctions list while we have 2,000 soldiers fighting in Niger?” Yep, they’ll remember. We actually would like to know who among the local contacts showed up for the new embassy dedication, by the way (see @StateDept Dedicates New $225M U.S. Embassy in N’Djamena, Chad).

The DHS/WH architects of these visa bans/sanctions really are the best people with the best brains, hey?

Federal court has now issued a TRO for the latest travel restrictions that includes Chad. So basically, a carefully constructed bilateral relationship ends up in a mess, and it was all for nothing.

#