Officially In: Joseph R. Donovan, Jr. — From AIT/DC to the Republic of Indonesia

Posted: 3:02 am ET

On July 13, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Joseph R. Donovan, Jr., to be the next U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Indonesia. The WH released the following brief bio:

Joseph R. Donovan Jr., a career member of the Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, is Managing Director of the Washington Office of the American Institute in Taiwan, a position he has held since 2014. Previously, Mr. Donovan served as Foreign Policy Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon from 2012 to 2014, Associate Professor at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. from 2011 to 2012, and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the Department of State from 2009 to 2011. He was the U.S. Consul General in Hong Kong from 2008 to 2009, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan from 2005 to 2008, and Director of the Department of State’s Office of Chinese and Mongolian Affairs from 2003 to 2005. Prior to that, Mr. Donovan was Political Section Chief at the Taipei Office of the American Institute in Taiwan from 2000 to 2003 and Political/Military Unit Chief at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan from 1997 to 2000.Earlier assignments in the Foreign Service include posts in Taiwan, China, South Korea and Qatar.Before joining the Foreign Service, he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Seoul, South Korea.

Mr. Donovan received a B.S.F.S. from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and an M.A. from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School.

Joseph Donovan, the Managing Director of AIT’s Washington office, met with President Ma Ying-jeou at the Presidential Office on February 10, 2015. (Photo by AIT/Flickr)

Joseph Donovan, the Managing Director of AIT’s Washington office, met with President Ma Ying-jeou at the Presidential Office on February 10, 2015. (Photo by AIT/Flickr)

If confirmed, Mr. Donovan would succeed career diplomat, Robert O. Blake, Jr. who was appointed ambassador to Jakarta on July 30, 2013.

 

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Ambassador Nomination: Douglas Silliman — From Kuwait to Iraq

Posted: 1:23 am ET

On May 19, President Obama announced Douglas Silliman as his nominee for the next Ambassador to the Republic of Iraq. The WH released the following brief bio:

Douglas Silliman, a career member of the Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, currently serves as U.S. Ambassador to the State of Kuwait, a position he has held since 2014.  Ambassador Silliman was a Senior Advisor in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs from 2013 to 2014 and Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq from 2012 to 2013.  From 2011 to 2012, he was Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs in Baghdad.  Before serving in Iraq, he was Deputy Chief of Mission in Ankara, Turkey from 2008 to 2011.  Ambassador Silliman was Director of the Office of Southern European Affairs from 2005 to 2007 and Deputy Director from 2004 to 2005.  From 2000 to 2004, he was Political Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan.  Since joining the Foreign Service in 1984, he has also served at posts in Haiti, Pakistan, and Tunisia.

Ambassador Silliman received a B.A. from Baylor University and an M.A. from The George Washington University.

Photo via USEmbassy Kuwait/FB

Photo via USEmbassy Kuwait/FB

Ambassador Silliman had his confirmation hearing at the SFRC on June 21.  If confirmed, he would succeed career diplomat, Stuart E. Jones, who was sworn in as the United States Ambassador to Iraq on September 17, 2014.

 

Related posts:

 

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Ambassador Nomination: Sung Y. Kim — From North Korea Special Rep to the Philippines

Posted: 1:21  am ET

On May 18, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Sung Y. Kim as his nominee to be the next Ambassador to the Republic of the Philippines. The WH released the following brief bio:

Sung Y. Kim, a career member of the Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, is Special Representative for North Korea Policy and Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs at the Department of State, positions he has held since 2014.  Previously, he served as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea from 2011 to 2014, Special Envoy for the Six Party Talks with the rank of Ambassador from 2008 to 2011, and Director of the Office of Korean Affairs in the Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs from 2006 to 2008.  Mr. Kim was Political-Military Chief at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, Korea from 2002 to 2006.  Since joining the Foreign Service in 1988, Mr. Kim has also held positions at posts in Hong Kong, Japan, and Malaysia.  Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Mr. Kim was a Deputy District Attorney in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Mr. Kim received a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, a J.D. from Loyola Law School, and an LL.M. from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

US Ambassador to Seoul, Sung Kim with Psy (Photo via US Embassy/FB)

US Ambassador to Seoul, Sung Kim with Psy
(Photo via US Embassy/FB)

If confirmed, Ambassador Kim would succeed career diplomat, Philip Goldberg who was appointed chief of mission to the US Embassy in Manila in December 2013.

 

Related posts:

 

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Ambassador Nomination: Geoffrey R. Pyatt — From Ukraine to Greece

Posted: 12:05 am ET

On May 18, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Geoffrey R. Pyatt, to be Ambassador to Greece. The WH released the following brief bio:

Geoffrey R. Pyatt, a career member of the Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, currently serves as U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, a position he has held since 2013.  Previously, Ambassador Pyatt was Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs from 2010 to 2013.  He was Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Mission to the International Organizations in Vienna, Austria from 2007 to 2010.  He also served at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India as Deputy Chief of Mission from 2006 to 2007 and as Political Counselor from 2002 to 2006.  Ambassador Pyatt served as Economic Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong from 1999 to 2002 and as Principal Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Lahore, Pakistan from 1997 to 1999.  Since joining the Foreign Service in 1989, he has also served on the National Security Council staff and at posts in Honduras and India.

Ambassador Pyatt received a B.A. from the University of California, Irvine and an M.A. from Yale University.

Ambassador Pyatt at “Demo Day” at the 1991 Open Data Incubator, April 8, 2016. Via US Embassy Kyiv/FB

Ambassador Pyatt at “Demo Day” at the 1991 Open Data Incubator, April 8, 2016. Via US Embassy Kyiv/FB

His state.gov bio includes the following details:

Prior to joining the Foreign Service, he worked with The Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington-based think tank that brings together leading citizens of the Americas.

Ambassador Pyatt grew up in La Jolla, California and holds a Master’s degree in International Relations from Yale and B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Irvine.

If confirmed, Ambassador Pyatt would succeed career diplomat, Ambassador David D. Pearce who was appointed chief of mission to the US Embassy in Athens in August 1, 2013.

 

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Ambassador Nomination: Marie L. Yovanovitch — From State/FSI to Ukraine

Posted: 12:03 am ET

On May 18, President Obama announced his  intent to nominate Marie L. Yovanovitch to be the next Ambassador to Ukraine. The WH released the following brief bio:

Marie L. Yovanovitch, a career member of the Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, currently serves as Dean of the School of Language Studies at the Department of State’s Foreign Service Institute, a position she has held since 2014.  Ms. Yovanovitch was Deputy Commandant at the Eisenhower School at the National Defense University from 2013 to 2014.  She served in the Department of State’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary from 2012 to 2013 and as Deputy Assistant Secretary from 2011 to 2012.  Prior to that, she served as U.S. Ambassador to Armenia from 2008 to 2011 and as U.S. Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan from 2005 to 2008.  Ms. Yovanovitch was Senior Advisor and Executive Assistant in the Office of the Under Secretary for Political Affairs from 2004 to 2005 and Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine from 2001 to 2004.  Since joining the Foreign Service in 1986, she has also served at posts in Canada, Russia, Somalia, and the United Kingdom.

Ms. Yovanovitch received a B.A. from Princeton University and an M.S. from the National War College.

The State Department’s bio includes the following details:

A Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Ambassador Yovanovitch has been granted both the Senior Foreign Service Performance Award and the State Department’s Superior Honor Award on five occasions. She is also the recipient of the Presidential Distinguished Service Award and the Diplomacy in Human Rights Award.

Ms. Yovanovitch is a graduate of Princeton University where she earned a BA in History and Russian Studies. She studied at the Pushkin Institute and received an MS from the National Defense University. Ms. Yovanovitch speaks Russian.

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Via US Embassy Yerevan

If confirmed, Ambassador Yovanovitch would succeed career diplomat, Geoffrey R. Pyattwho was appointed chief of mission to the US Embassy in Kyiv in August 2013.  Ambassador  Pyatt has been nominated to be the next U.S. Ambassador to Greece.

 

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Ambassador Nomination: Anne S. Casper– From State/Global Engagement Center to Burundi

Posted: 12:23 am ET

On May 18, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Anne S. Casper to be Ambassador to the Republic of Burundi. The WH released the following brief bio:

Anne S. Casper, a career member of the Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, serves as Senior Advisor in the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications at the Department of State, a position she has held since 2015.  Ms. Casper has served concurrently as Acting Director of Partnerships for the Department’s Global Engagement Center since April 2016.  Ms. Casper was Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Public Affairs from 2014 to 2015, Principal Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia from 2012 to 2014, and Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Kigali, Rwanda from 2009 to 2012.  She was Public Affairs Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand from 2006 to 2009 and served as Arabic Media Liaison Officer in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs from 2002 to 2004.  From 2001 to 2002, Ms. Casper was the Counterterrorism Policy Officer in the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism.  Since joining the Foreign Service in 1993, Ms. Casper has held positions at posts in Albania, Jerusalem, and Syria.

Ms. Casper received a B.A. from Tufts University, an M.A. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, and an M.S. from the National War College.

annecasperofficial

Her state.gov bio includes additional details:

Anne Casper, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, joined the Public Affairs bureau as Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Media in July 2014. In this capacity, she oversees the Office of International Media Engagement, including the State Department’s six Regional Media Hubs; the Foreign Press Centers in Washington, DC and New York; and the Rapid Response Unit, which provides timely feedback to policymakers on global reporting of critical issues.

Ms. Casper served most recently as the U.S. Consul General in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and, prior to that, as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Rwanda. Previously, she held positions at U.S. Embassies in Thailand, Albania, Syria and Morocco and at the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem. In Washington, she served as a State Department liaison to the Arabic media as well as a counterterrorism policy officer, covering European and Middle Eastern issues, successively.

Ms. Casper holds a B.A. in anthropology (summa cum laude) from Tufts University, an M.A. from The Johns Hopkins University’s School for Advanced International Studies, and is a distinguished graduate of the National War College. She also studied in Cairo as a Center for Arabic Studies Abroad Fellow. She speaks Arabic and French and has studied the language and culture of every country in which she has served.

If confirmed, Ms. Casper would succeed career diplomat, Dawn Liberiwho was appointed chief of mission to the US Embassy in Bujumbura in July 2012.

As of this writing. the Certificates of Competency required under the Foreign Service Act of 1980 for submission to the SFRC and made available online by State/HR for every nominee since 2014 have yet to include the President’s nominees of May 18.  Once the certificates are available, they will be posted here: http://www.state.gov/m/dghr/coc/index.htm.

 

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Ambassador Nomination: Rena Bitter — From HCMC to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic

Posted: 12:02 am ET

On May 19, President Obama announced Rena Bitter as his nominee for Ambassador to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.  The WH released the following brief bio:

Rena Bitter, a career member of the Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, is Consul General at the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, a position she has held since 2013.  Previously, Ms. Bitter served in the Department of State’s Operations Center as Director from 2010 to 2012 and Deputy Director from 2009 to 2010.  Ms. Bitter was Consular Section Chief at the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan from 2006 to 2009, and Chief of the Nonimmigrant Visa Unit in the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in London, United Kingdom from 2003 to 2005.  She was a Transatlantic Diplomatic Fellow in London from 2002 to 2003.  Before that, Ms. Bitter served as a Special Assistant in the Office of the Secretary of State from 2001 to 2002 and on the Department’s Executive Secretariat Staff from 2000 to 2001.  Since joining the Foreign Service in 1994, Ms. Bitter has also served at posts in Colombia and Mexico.

Ms. Bitter received a B.S. from Northwestern University and a J.D. from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law.

Via FB

CG Rena Bitter with Ambassador Ted Osius | Via FB

If confirmed, Ms. Bitter would succeed career diplomat, Dan Clunewho was appointed chief of mission to the US Embassy in Vientiane in September 2013.  The Lao People’s Democratic Republic is one of the 42 countries in the world where we haven’t had a political appointee. Ever.

As of this writing. the Certificates of Competency required under the Foreign Service Act of 1980 for submission to the SFRC and made available online by State/HR for every nominee since 2014 have yet to include the President’s nominees of May 18.  Once the certificates are available, they will be posted here: http://www.state.gov/m/dghr/coc/index.htm.

 

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Career @StateDept Nominees Remain Stuck in Senate Confirmation Purgatory

Posted: 12:15  am ET

Senators hope to rename some more streets?

President Obama’s nominations of eight career diplomats for ambassadorships and one development professional for an assistant administrator position for USAID remain stuck in the Senate as of Friday, May 13, 2016. The nominee for Ambassador to APEC has now waited for over 220 days. The nominees for the Marshall Islands and Micronesia have each waited over 190 days.

The Senate’s second session calendar is getting shorter. It will be on recess from May 30 – June 3 (Memorial Day); July 1 – 5 (Fourth of July); July 18 – September 5th (reconvene Tuesday September 6);  and has the target pre-election adjournment on October 7th.

This has now become the new normal.  Even non-controversial career diplomats routinely get stuck for months in confirmation purgatory.  What crises would nudge these senators to confirm these nominees? Wasn’t there a U.S. airstrike west of the Somali capital of Mogadishu this past week?  A coup somewhere? A hurricane?

Maybe some senators hope to rename some more streets in exchange for the confirmation of these ambassador nominees?

This must be laughable to look at from overseas. Here is the United States, a global power, and this is how our Senate functions; must be quite simply the envy of the world 🙃.

But in this article about Merrick Garland’s nomination for SCOTUS, part of “Confirmations: The Battle Over the Constitution,” and also relevant to ambassador-rank appointments, the author Michael D. Ramsey — a Professor of Law at the University of San Diego School of Law and a former judicial clerk for Justice Antonin Scalia — notes:

The relevant text is the appointments clause of Article II, Section 2, which provides: “[The president] shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States…” This language makes the Senate’s consent a prerequisite to presidential appointments, but it does not place any duty on the Senate to act nor describe how it should proceed in its decision-making process. Even if the word “shall” in the clause is read as mandatory, “shall” refers only to things the president does. Instead, the Senate’s core role in appointments is as a check on the president, which it exercises by not giving consent—a choice it can make simply by not acting. 
[…]
The Senate’s practice, under both Democrats and Republicans, shows that it thinks the appointments clause does not impose a duty to take formal action.

It remains to be seen if these executive nominees will survive the Senate obstacle course this year.

The 2016 Election Day is in 175 days.

PN933 | Robert Annan Riley III, of Florida, 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 Federated States of Micronesia

PN934 | Karen Brevard Stewart, of Florida, 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 the Marshall Islands

PN895 | Matthew John Matthews, of Oregon, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, for the rank of Ambassador during his tenure of service as United States Senior Official for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum.

PN1041 | Adam H. Sterling, of Virginia, 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 Slovak Republic.

PN1054 | Kelly Keiderling-Franz, 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 Oriental Republic of Uruguay.

PN1055 | Stephen Michael Schwartz, of Maryland, 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 Federal Republic of Somalia.

PN1154 | Christine Ann Elder, of Kentucky, 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 Liberia.

PN1155 | Elizabeth Holzhall Richard, 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 Lebanese Republic.

PN1139 | R. David Harden, of Maryland, to be an Assistant Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development.

 

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Senate Finally Confirms Roberta Jacobson as New Ambassador to Mexico

Posted:9:44 pm ET

 

So the senator with some serious grrrrrr over the administration’s Cuba policy finally relented on President Obama’s ambassador pick for Mexico.  On April 28, Roberta Jacobson was confirmed by voice vote after a wait of almost a year.

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Senator With Serious Grrrrr Over Cuba Policy Picks On Obama’s Ambassador Nominee. For Mexico!

Posted: 3:53 am ET

 

The Hill reported on April 26 that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) blocked the Senate from moving forward with President Obama’s nominee to be ambassador to Mexico.

The Florida senator said he had questions about policies that nominee Roberta Jacobson has “pursued” in her current position as assistant secretary of State for Western Hemisphere affairs.

Last year, Politico reported that the delays in her committee approval have “everything to do with the Cuban policy,” according to Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, ranking Democrat on the committee. “That’s not Roberta Jacobson. That’s the Obama policy.” See Mexican post held hostage over Cuba.  Her nomination had since cleared the Senate Foreign Relations Committee but remains ensnared in the Senate.

 

 

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