@StateDept Cuts $100M Aid to Afghanistan Over “Govt Corruption and Financial Mismanagement”

 

 

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Trump Names Hostage Envoy Robert O’Brien His Fourth National Security Advisor

 

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SCOTUS Justice Clarence Thomas Swears-In U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Christopher Landau

 

The new U.S. Ambassador to Mexico had a ceremonial swearing at the State Department officiated by SCOTUS Associate Justice Clarence Thomas last week.
Ambassador Landau was officially sworn in as United States Ambassador to Mexico on August 12, 2019. His bio says that after graduating from law school, he clerked for then-Judge Clarence Thomas of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  He later clerked for Associate Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court of the United States during the 1990 and 1991 terms.
His father, George Walter Landau (1920–2018), a career Foreign Service officer, served as U.S. Ambassador to Paraguay from October 13, 1972–October 14, 1977. Ambassador George Landau who also served as U.S. Ambassador to Chile and Venezuela passed away last year.
The new ambassador speaks fluent Spanish, and earned a Certificate in Latin American Studies at Harvard College.  He was born in Madrid, Spain, and attended the American School of Asunción, Paraguay, for five years.

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Pompeo Accuses Iran in Saudi Aramco Attacks, His Boss Tweets, US “Locked and Loaded”

 

 

@StateDept to Launch ‘Heroes of U.S. Diplomacy’ Initiative – Friday, September 13, HST

 

Via state.gov:

The Heroes of U.S. Diplomacy initiative will launch at U.S. Department of State in the Harry S. Truman Building in Washington, D.C. on Friday, September 13, 2019. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo will kick-off the event, and the Director of the Foreign Service Institute Ambassador Daniel B. Smith will serve as Master of Ceremonies. The inaugural event features the first “Hero” Elizabeth “Lizzie” Slater in conversation with Director General Ambassador Carol Z. Perez. Lizzie will discuss her actions following the embassy bombings in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi in 1998 as she helped re-build the communications systems for both embassies, as well as the professional values she modeled throughout her career. Read more below.

The Heroes of U.S. Diplomacy initiative will run through 2020.  This initiative highlights the stories of modern-day “Heroes Among Us,” alongside heroic figures from our Department’s rich history.  These individuals displayed sound policy judgment, as well as intellectual, moral and/or physical courage while advancing the Department of State’s mission, thereby elevating U.S. diplomacy.

More about this initiative:

This initiative highlights the stories of modern-day “Heroes Among Us,” alongside heroes from our Department’s rich history. These heroes have displayed sound policy judgment, as well as intellectual, moral and physical courage while advancing the Department of State’s mission, or elevating U.S. diplomacy.

With support from the Una Chapman Cox Foundation, this initiative will include Department of State remarks and panel discussions, programming around the country, and other videos, podcasts, reading lists, and exhibits to tell these Heroes’ stories. New Heroes are announced on a semi-monthly basis. Learn about our first Hero here.

It is our hope that the Heroes of U.S. Diplomacy initiative will raise awareness about diplomacy as an instrument to advance the interests of the American people at home and around the world. This initiative will also educate current and future Department of State employees about the shared history for all foreign affairs professionals.

The Heroes of U.S. Diplomacy Steering Committee, comprised of senior Department officials, established the eligibility and criteria befitting of the Hero designation. Nominees must be affiliated with the Department of State as current or former Civil Servants, Foreign Service Generalists or Specialists, non-career appointees, Eligible Family Members, or Locally Employed Staff. To allow for historic perspective, the actions and accomplishments for which they are being recognized must have occurred at least five years prior to their nomination.

For updates and continual coverage, visit www.state.gov/HeroesofUSDiplomacy/ . You may also follow the hashtag #HeroesofUSDiplomacy on social media. For general inquiries, send message to HeroesOfDiplomacy@state.gov.

 

Secretary Pompeo Will Not Take Second Job as National Security Advisor #nodualswagger

 

 

Pompeo: “I’m flattered when people say Mike will be a good United States senator representing Kansas.”

 

Secretary Pompeo returned to Kansas last week to deliver the 190th Landon Lecture in the McCain Auditorium at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. He also did at least seven local interviews; all asked him about a potential senate run.  See his response below, particularly the part about what flattered him, and spending “every waking moment” … “to try and achieve good diplomatic outcomes for the  people of Kansas.”
He said that he’s been “unambiguous” about the senate run but that he “continue to get asked.”
Especially as he kept going back to Kansas.

Via: SECRETARY POMPEO:  Steve, that’s why I always love coming on your show.  Look, I’m focused on my mission.  I’m serving America and working on President Trump’s team to deliver America’s foreign policy.  That’s what I’m focused on.  I do see the noise.  I’m flattered when people say Mike will be a good United States senator representing Kansas.  Susan and I love this place.  We miss our Shockers.  We miss our church there in Wichita and all our family and friends.  But I’m doing something that I consider an incredible privilege, an opportunity of a lifetime to lead the State Department, and I’m focused on doing that each and every day.

Via:  SECRETARY POMPEO:  Oh, goodness.  I’m so focused on what I’m doing.  We just ripped through half a dozen topics.  There’s another 20 we could’ve gone through.  I spend every waking moment working to try and achieve good diplomatic outcomes for the people of Kansas.  That’s my mission set; it’s what I’m focused onAs for what happens tomorrow, a week from now, or two years from now, goodness only knows.

Via:  SECRETARY POMPEO:  Every day I am focused on my mission as the Secretary of State, America’s most senior diplomat.  It’s what I think about.  It’s what I’m focused on.  I kind of miss following Kansas politics as closely as it sounds like you are, but I have a very clear mission from President Trump and from the American people to deliver on his America First foreign policy, and me and the team that I have the privilege to lead here for a little bit are going to continue to do that.

Via:    SECRETARY POMPEO:  I have no Earthly idea.  I’m so focused on what I’m doing each and every day and so proud to represent the great people at the State Department every day.  I haven’t spent a heck of a lot of time thinking about my future.  I think there’s a lot of other people thinking about my future an awful lot more than Susan and I think about it.

Via: SECRETARY POMPEO:  Yeah.  I’m very focused on what I’m doing.  You just heard me recount half a dozen opportunities for America around the world.  I get the privilege to serve as President Trump’s Secretary of State, and I’m focused on that every day and plan to continue that.

Via: SECRETARY POMPEO:  Well, Pete, I always want to come back to Kansas.  Susan and I love it here.  We miss it.  When I flew in last night, it certainly feels like home.  But I’ve seen the speculation. I’ve been unambiguous, but I continue to get asked.  I’m focused on what I’m doing every day.  I want to be the Secretary of State as long as President Trump wants me to continue to do this.  That’s my focus.  What comes next, goodness knows.  But every day my sole focus is ensuring that I’m doing my best to deliver American diplomacy, and leading my team to successfully protect American people all around the world.

Via: SECRETARY POMPEO:  I’m still focused on what I’m doing, Lily.  I see the noise, I hear it, but my mission set every day is very clear.  I intend to stay in this current role just as long as President Trump says, “I want you to be my most senior diplomat.”  That’s the mission set. I came back to Kansas for this incredible privilege to give a lecture at K-State as part of the Landon Lecture Series where amazing people – presidents and all kinds of great leaders – have had the opportunity to come.  Mikhail Gorbachev – he had this opportunity to speak to K-Staters and people of this community.  And I’m really looking forward to it.

 

Related posts:

Report: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Lacks Authority to Fire a Political Appointee #DeptofSwagger

 

Foreign Policy recently reported on a State Department town hall meeting where Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan “acknowledged having failed to act more vigorously to shield State Department staffers from retaliation by the Trump administration for their perceived political views” and reportedly said that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo lacked the authority to fire a top Trump political appointee accused of inflicting, or abetting, the alleged harassment. (See State Department Failed to Shield Its Diplomats From Political Reprisals, Officials Concede; also Workplace Horror Award Goes to the IO Bureau, @StateDept Offers Counseling in Uppercase Voice).
Most notable items from the report:
— Deputy Secretary Sullivan and P’s David Hale “acknowledged shortcomings in their response and pledged to make amends for staffers whose careers were upended in a long-running controversy that triggered an investigation by the department’s inspector general.”
— “I will be the first to admit the failure on my part to have done more to address the situation,” Sullivan told the gathering, according to an account of the meeting relayed to Foreign Policy
— Hale encouraged staffers whose careers were damaged as a result of political retaliation to come to him to seek some sort of professional remedy or, if they preferred, to pursue a formal grievance against the department. “I’d like to help; I’d also like people to know they can come to me,” Hale said. He pledged to take their case to the undersecretary of state for management, the director general, or human resources “to make amends.”
— “There’s absolutely no doubt that what was going on was completely unacceptable,” Hale said. “Misconduct is a soft word, frankly, to use for what has occurred.” 
–[M]any of the questions revolved around the fate of Moley and why action had not been taken sooner to discipline him. And some noted that officials in other bureaus of the State Department have been subject to similar mistreatment. […] And other staffers privately expressed skepticism that the State Department’s leadership would hold Moley accountable, noting that Foggy Bottom’s top brass had known about the allegations of political targeting for well over a year and had failed to act swiftly to stop it.
— The “general vibe after the meeting was a mix of bitter disappointment and depression,” one State Department official told Foreign Policy, who was skeptical about assurances that Moley would be reprimanded. “Bottom line here is that there will be NO action taken on Kevin Moley.”
— “The decision to ignore the IG report is devastating,” said another staffer in the bureau. “Ultimately, it renders this kind of vicious political targeting acceptable.”
Perhaps the most shocking thing reportedly said by Deputy Secretary Sullivan:
“The secretary can’t fire an assistant secretary appointed by a president, so it adds a layer of complexity there,” Sullivan said.
*
Well, first, this individual is not the only non-career official appointed by the president.  According to AFSA, the State Department has 74 political ambassadors (or 45.4% ) appointed by Trump, and confirmed by the Senate. In addition, there are 55 senior officials in Foggy Bottom where 50 of them (or 90.9%) are also political appointees; almost all of them were presidentially appointed and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
So, we’d like to understand what Sullivan told State Department employees actually means. If Secretary Pompeo cannot fire an assistant secretary appointed by a president, does this mean, he cannot fire any of the politically appointed senior officials and political ambassadors working for him? Those are his highest ranking officials. They are appointed by the president but they do not report to the president or the White House but to the secretary of state.  How can the secretary manage his agency without authority to, as the FAM likes to put it, “promote the efficiency of the Service?”
Good gracious! Who, pray tell, can the Secretary of State fire?
Second, when Sullivan says “The secretary can’t fire an assistant secretary appointed by a president” does this mean Pompeo is not allowed to do so, or was told not to do it (base on what law or regulations exactly?). Or is it that the secretary is using his discretion as agency head not to fire this one individual?
As often the case these days, we’re quite perplexed about this reported excuse. The deputy secretary appears to be making a rather sweeping statement here, not just with this secretary, and not just with this assistant secretary or this president: “The secretary can’t fire an assistant secretary appointed by a president.”
Remember Elizabeth Tamposi?  She was Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs  from 1989 – 1992 during the George H. W. Bush Administration.  She was a political appointee. Her tenure is noted for the scandal related to the search of passport records of then presidential candidates Bill Clinton and Ross Perot  (see Throwback Thursday: An Election, an FOIA, and @StateDept in the Eye of the Storm). She was dismissed by acting Secretary of State Lawrence S. Eagleburger.
An acting Secretary of State fired an assistant secretary of state appointed by a president, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
Remember Secretary Colin Powell and Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Mary Ryan? She was a widely respected career employee, and the “only U.S. government official to be fired as a consequence of the worst attack ever on U.S. soil” (see Remembering Mary Ryan, FSJ, June 2010)? The secretary of state fired a Senate-confirmed appointee of President George W. Bush. There was apparently another assistant secretary fired by Secretary Powell but we could not find a publicly available citation, so we’re leaving that out.
During the fallout from the Benghazi attack, the assistant secretary, principal deputy, and deputy assistant secretary all lost their jobs in Diplomatic Security. In the NEA bureau, one deputy assistant secretary lost his job; his firing reportedly ordered by the State Department counselor. This report says that then Secretary Clinton accepted the resignation of the DS assistant secretary. Whether “S” or “M” made the decision concerning the departure of the DS assistant secretary is not clear, but somebody in Foggy Bottom had the authority to do it.
In recent years, there were also very public departures by political ambassadors to Luxembourg, Kenya, and Malta; all were presidentially nominated and Senate confirmed.
Now, we have the Deputy Secretary of State telling employees that their agency head lacks this authority; an authority which has clearly been exercised by previous secretaries of state several times in the past, in very public ways. So this is mighty confusing for your poor blogger who can’t make sense of the goings on there.
We do want to know where does Sullivan’s “The secretary can’t fire an assistant secretary appointed by a president” excuse come from. We think this has implications not just for this secretary and the agency going forward but potentially for future secretaries of state. 

Related items:

@StateDept’s New “One Team” Award For Employees Includes $10,000 Prize, Certificate, and a Glass Statuette

 

We recently posted about the new ‘One Team’ four-day pilot course at the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute (See Foreign Service Institute Rolls Out Pompeo’s Pursuit – A ‘One Team’ Four-Day Pilot Course For “Everyone”). Early last month, DGHR Carol Perez also tweeted about the new ‘One Team’ Award (sorry, the nominations were due on August 29).
In mid-July, the ‘One Team’ Award was official added to the Foreign Affairs Manual. The FAM says that “This annual award recognizes a current employee or contractor who exemplifies the Departments Professional Ethos, a true champion of American diplomacy and servant of the American people.”
This award is open to employees who are in the Foreign Service, the Civil Service, locally employed staff, non-Senate confirmed political appointees, and contractors. It carries a prize money of $10,000 USD, a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and a glass statuette. Please note that if the awardee is a contractor, he/she will only receive a certificate and letter of recognition both signed by the Secretary of State and provided to the individual’s company, but no monetary award.
A lucky runner-up will also receive a letter from the Secretary of State. The Department employee recipient will have that letter placed into his/her personnel file.
The Foreign Affairs Manual says that the winning nominee will be chosen by a Selection Committee chaired by the Deputy Secretary or his/her representative and including three other committee members designated by the Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources (Director General). We’ve asked DGHR Carol Perez for the names of the Selection Committee members. Easy question, nothing sensitive, it’s a Pompeo project, and we’ve used please and thanks, you guys. But some folks, you know, pretend we’re just a ghost in space, and can’t hear us. That’s all right, somebody please use a ghost whisperer and let us know who gets the $10K and the glass statuette this year. 

3 FAM 4832.25 The One Team Award

3 FAM 4832.25-1 Description

(CT:PER-952; 07-18-2019)
(State Department)
(Applies to Foreign Service, Civil Service, Locally Employed Staff, non-Senate confirmed political appointees, and Contractors)

a. This annual award recognizes a current employee or contractor who exemplifies the Departments Professional Ethos, a true champion of American diplomacy and servant of the American people. The award recognizes an employee or contractor whose exceptional professionalism, integrity, responsibility and leadership enabled results-producing teamwork, particularly in the face of challenging circumstances.

b. Department employee recipients will receive $10,000, a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, a glass statuette which is a miniature of the large One Team Award, and a letter from the Secretary of State for his/her official personnel file.

c. Contractor recipients will receive a certificate and letter of recognition, both signed by the Secretary of State and provided to the individuals company in appreciation of the contractors performance, in coordination with the contracting officer.

d. A runner up will be selected and will receive a letter from the Secretary of State. For Department employee recipients, the letter will be placed into his/her personnel file.

3 FAM 4832.25-2 Eligibility

(CT:PER-952; 07-18-2019)
(State Department)
(Applies to Foreign Service, Civil Service, Locally Employed Staff, non-Senate confirmed political appointees, and Contractors)

All current Department of State employees serving in the Foreign Service, Civil Service, as Locally Employed staff, or as non-Senate confirmed political appointees, and current contractors are eligible for nomination and consideration. Only employees are eligible to receive the monetary award and statuette. Contractors are not Department employees.

3 FAM 4832.25-3 Criteria

(CT:PER-952; 07-18-2019)
(State Department)
(Applies to Foreign Service, Civil Service, Locally Employed Staff, non-Senate confirmed political appointees, and Contractors)

Selection is based on exceptional leadership by an individual who:

(1) Demonstrates and communicates a clear understanding of the link between individual and team contributions, and the importance of working together with a shared mission and sense of purpose;

(2) Takes ownership and accepts responsibility for his/her actions and decisions, and projects uncompromising personal and professional integrity, as exemplified in the Departments Professional Ethos Statement;

(3) Fosters effective collaboration within and across office, Bureau, and mission lines that produces outstanding results; and

(4) Respectfully guides and supports teams to enable them to overcome challenging circumstances and achieve Department objectives.

3 FAM 4832.25-4 Nominating and Approval Procedures

(CT:PER-952; 07-18-2019)
(State Department)
(Applies to Foreign Service, Civil Service, Locally Employed Staff, non-Senate confirmed political appointees, and Contractors)

a. Any current employee may nominate an eligible individual who they think meets the award criteria.

b. Nominations do not require endorsement or supervisory approval.

c. Nominations should be submitted using the one-page nomination submission form available on the HR/PE website.

d. The winning nominee will be chosen by a selection committee chaired by the Deputy Secretary or his/her representative and including three other committee members designated by the Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources (Director General). Members of the selection committee must recuse themselves if they have any financial interest in or personal ties to any nominated contractor or contracting company under consideration for the award.

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U.S. Special Rep for Iran Makes Stunning Million Dollar Offer to #AdrianDarya Captain