On March 26, 2021, President Biden announced his intent to nominate senior career diplomat Daniel J. Kritenbrink to serve as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (EAP). The WH released the following brief bio:
Daniel J. Kritenbrink, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, has been U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam since 2017. He was previously the Senior Director for Asian Affairs at the National Security Council, and Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. In earlier tours in Beijing, he served as Political Minister Counselor, and as a Political Officer. Kritenbrink was Director of the Office of Chinese and Mongolian Affairs at the Department of State. He also served as a Political-Military officer at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. Kritenbrink earned a Masters Degree at the University of Virginia, and a Bachelors Degree at the University of Nebraska-Kearney. He speaks fluent Chinese and Japanese.
According to history.state.gov, the Division of Far Eastern Affairs, established in 1908, was the first geographical division to be established in the Department of State. The Department of State established the position of Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs in 1949, after the Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of Government (Hoover Commission) recommended that certain offices be upgraded to bureau level and after Congress increased the number of Assistant Secretaries of State from six to ten (May 26, 1949; P.L. 81-73; 63 Stat. 111). On Nov 1, 1966, the Department by administrative action changed the incumbent’s designation to Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.
The last three appointments to this position were political appointees. We have to go back all the way to 2005 to find a career appointee for EAP; that’s Christopher Robert Hill who served from 2005–2009.
Previous appointees to this position include Philip Charles Habib (1974–1976); Richard Charles Albert Holbrooke (1977–1981); William Averell Harriman (1961–1963); and Winston Lord (1993–1997). The complete list is here.
DFM #HaKimNgoc received @PacificMarines Lieutenant General David H. Berger & US Amb. to Viet Nam Daniel J. Kritenbrink, affirming that 🇻🇳wishes to cooperate closely w/ other countries, including 🇺🇸, in order to ensure the maintenance of peace and stability in the region pic.twitter.com/uGhGpcEV1Y
— Viet Nam Diplomacy #WeWillWinTogether (@MOFAVietNam) April 11, 2018
- Oct 2017: SFRC Clears 23 @StateDept Nominations, Including 18 Ambassador Nominees and One FS List
- Sept 2017: WED 9/27 SFRC AM Hearings: Fitzpatrick (Timor-Leste), Kritenbrink (Vietnam)
- July 2017: Nomination: Career Diplomat Daniel J. Kritenbrink to be U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam