GOP Fundraiser John Rakolta Jr. to be U.S. Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates

Posted: 4:41 am  ET

 

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Trump Formally Nominates Pompeo to be 70th Secretary of State as Tillerson Exits

Posted: 3:14 am  ET

 

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DGHR Nominee Stephen Akard Now Nominated as Director of the Office of Foreign Missions

Posted: 9:52 am  PT
Update: 7:24 pm PT

 

Update: Late on March 20, the White House officially withdrew the nomination of Mr. Akard for DGHR. 

On March 19, the White House announced the nomination of former FSO Stephen Akard to be the Director of the Office of Foreign Missions (with the Rank of Ambassador). The WH released the following brief bio:

Stephen Akard of Indiana, to be Director of the Office of Foreign Missions (with the Rank of Ambassador), Department of State.  Mr. Akard has served as a senior advisor in the Office of the Under Secretary for Economic Growth, U.S. Department of State since January, 2017.  Previously he was Chief of Staff, Vice President and General Counsel, and Director of International Development for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, Indianapolis, Indiana from 2005 -2017.  Earlier in his career, Mr. Akard was a Foreign Service Officer with the Department of State from 1997 – 2005 and had assignments in India, Belgium, and as a special assistant in the Executive Secretariat of the State Department.  He earned his B.A, M.B.A. and J.D. degrees from Indiana University, Indianapolis, Indiana.  Mr. Akard was honored with several awards while serving in the State Department, including two Meritorious Honor awards, and a Distinguished Alumni Award from Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis in 2000.

Akard was previously nominated as Director General of the Foreign Service and personnel chief of the State Department (DGHR). As far as we can tell, the White House has not withdrawn the DGHR nomination. We are, however, hearing that a new DGHR nominee is in the works but we’re still seeking confirmation.

Akard’s OFM nomination was announced on March 19 together with Joseph Mondello, the nominee for U.S. Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago. Mondello’s nomination was sent to the Senate on March 19 together with five other nominees that does not include Akard’s name, but the public notification is bound to show up at some point.

 

 

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S/P Staffer Kimberly Breier to be Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs

Posted: 3:37 am  ET

 

On March 5, The WH announced the nomination of S/P staffer Kimberly Breier to be the next Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs.

Kimberly Breier of Virginia, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Western Hemisphere Affairs), vice Mari Carmen Aponte and to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Inter-American Foundation (Government Rep), vice Roberta Jacobson. Ms. Breier has served as a member of the Secretary’s policy planning staff at the Department of State since 2017.  She previously served as the Director of the U.S.-Mexico Futures Initiative, Deputy Director of the Americas Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and as Vice President of Peschard Sverdrup International.  Formerly, she served as an analyst and manager in the United States intelligence community for more than a decade and as director for North America and as director for Brazil and the Southern Cone on the National Security Council staff at the White House.  Prior to government service, Ms. Breier served as a senior fellow and director of the National Policy Association’s North American Committee.

She earned a B.A. in Spanish from Middlebury College and a M.A. in Latin American studies from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.  She has traveled extensively in the Western Hemisphere and speaks Spanish.

According to history.state.gov, the Department of State had first established a Division of Latin American Affairs in 1909. The Department created the position of Assistant Secretary of State for American Republic Affairs during the general reorganization of Dec 20, 1944, after Congress had authorized an increase in the number of Assistant Secretaries of State from four to six (Dec 8, 1944; P.L. 78-472; 58 Stat. 798). This reorganization was the first to assign substantive designations to specific Assistant Secretary positions. The position was temporarily discontinued between Jun 1947 and Jun 1949, when American Republic Affairs were handled by an Assistant Secretary for Political Affairs. The Department re-established the position in June 1949 after the Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of Government (Hoover Commission) recommended that certain offices be upgraded to bureau level. On Oct 3, 1949, the Department by administrative action changed the incumbent’s designation to Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs.

On January 12, 1999, the Bureau assumed responsibility for Canada and was renamed the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs.  If confirmed, Ms Breier would succeed career civil servant Roberta S. Jacobson who served from 2012 until 2016 when she was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. Other recent appointees to this position include Otto Juan Reich (2002); Roger Francisco Noriega (2003–2005); Thomas Alfred Shannon Jr. (2005–2009); and Arturo Valenzuela (2009–2011).

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Certificates of Competency for Nominees to be Chiefs of Mission (As of 2/2018)

Posted: 3:38 am ET

 

Per Section 304 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980, Certificates of Competency must be presented to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for presidential nominees to be Chief of Mission that demonstrate the competence of [a] nominee to perform the duties of the position in which he or she is to serve. Section 712 of the Department of State Authorities Act, Fiscal Year 2017, Certificates of Competency are supposed to be posted here within seven days of transmittal to the Senate.

The following are the certificates posted by state.gov from January-February 2018. The nominee for Colombia, Joseph Macmanus is the only career diplomat on this list. To see the certificates of the nominees from 2017, click here.

Cella, Joseph James – Republic of Fiji, Republic of Kiribati, Republic of Nauru, Kingdom of Tonga, and Tuvalu – February 2018
Cornstein, David B. – Hungary – February 2018
Fischer, Davit T. – Kingdom of Morocco – January 2018
Gellert, Andrew Michael – Republic of Chile – January 2018
Harris, Harry B, Jr. – Commonwealth of Australia – February 2018
Macmanus, Joseph Estey – Republic of Colombia – January 2018
Mosbacher, Georgette Paulsin – Republic of Poland – February 2018
Prado, Edward Charles – Argentine Republic – February 2018
Rizzuto, Leandro – Barbados – January 2018
Traina, Trevor D. – Republic of Austria – February 2018
Wolcott, Jackie – Rep of the US to the UNVIE of the UN and Rep of the US to International Atomic Energy Agency – February 2018

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Trump Nominates Career Diplomat Jonathan Cohen to be Deputy Representative at @USUN

Posted: 3:30 am ET

 

On February 8, the White House announced the nomination of career diplomat Jonathan Cohen to be Deputy Representative of the United States of America to the UN and Deputy Representative of the United States of America in the Security Council of the UN. The WH released the following brief bio:

Jonathan R. Cohen of California, to be Deputy Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations and Deputy Representative of the United States of America in the Security Council of the United Nations, with the Rank of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Representative of the United States of America to the Sessions of the General Assembly of the United Nations, during his tenure of service as Deputy Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations.  Mr. Cohen, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, has served as an American diplomat since 1986.  He is currently Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, a position he has held since 2016.  He also served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq (2014-2016), Acting Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Paris, France (2013-2014), Minister Counselor for Political Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Paris (2011-2013) and Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Nicosia, Cyprus (2008-2011).  He has served at Embassies or Consulates in Bangkok, Jerusalem, Vienna (OSCE), Stockholm, Ankara and Rome as well as in senior leadership positions at the Department of State.  Mr. Cohen earned an A.B. at Princeton University.  He also studied at Georgetown University and at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel.  He speaks French, Swedish and Italian.

This is Mr. Cohen’s first ambassadorial appointment. A longer bio at state.gov has additional details that includes assignments during Operation Northern Watch, and at CPA during the Iraq War, and service at the Secretariat Staff/Advance Teams for Secretaries of State Baker, Eagleburger and Christopher from 1991-1993:

A Foreign Service Officer since 1986, other previous assignments include: Ankara as Political Advisor to Operation Northern Watch, and Embassy Iraq Specialist 2000-2004; Political Advisor to the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance-North, Irbil, and member of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) Governance Team, Baghdad, April-July 2003; Stockholm as Political Officer 1996-2000; Vienna as Liaison to the Hungarian Chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and Executive Assistant to the Head of the OSCE Bosnia Mission 1995-1996; State Department (Washington, DC) as OSCE Desk Officer/NATO Bosnia Officer 1993-1995, and on Secretariat Staff/Advance Teams for Secretaries of State Baker, Eagleburger and Christopher 1991-1993; Jerusalem as USAID Coordinator and Economic Officer for the West Bank 1989-1991; and Bangkok as Consular/Refugee Affairs Officer 1987-1989.

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Trump Nominates Businessman David B. Cornstein to be U.S. Ambassador to Hungary

Posted: 3:09 am ET

 

On February 13, the White House announced the nomination of David B. Cornstein to be U.S. Ambassador to Hungary. The WH released he following brief bio:

David B. Cornstein of New York, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States to Hungary.  Mr. Cornstein is chairman of Pinnacle Advisors, Ltd and was previously CEO, president, and ultimately chairman emeritus of Finlay Enterprise, a billion-dollar NASDAQ Stock Exchange Company.  A native New Yorker, Mr. Cornstein served as chairman of the New York City Off-Track Betting Corporation and as vice chair of the city’s Economic Development Corporation.  He was also chair of the New York State Olympic Games commission and a board member of the Battery Park City Authority and of the Jacob Javits Development Corporation.   He has been recognized as Man of the Year by the Chemotherapy Foundation and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.  He earned his B.A. from Lafayette College and M.B.A from New York University.

If confirmed he would succeed Colleen Bradley Bell (1967–) who was appointed to the U.S. Embassy in Budapest from 2015-2017. We have to go back to the 1990’s to find the most recent career diplomat appointed to Hungary and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and that’s Charles H. Thomas (1934–1998) who served from  July 2, 1990–January 11, 1994. Note that career diplomat Mark A. Goodfriend (1957–) served as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim from September 2013–January 2015.  Other appointees who served in Budapest include George H. Walker (1931–)Herbert Claiborne Pell (1884–1961), and Martin Joseph Anthony Hillenbrand (1915–2005)

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Trump Nominates Georgette Mosbacher to be U.S. Ambassador to Poland

Posted: 2:51 am ET

 

On February 13, the WH announced the nomination of Georgette Mosbacher to be U.S. Ambassador to Poland. The WH released the following brief bio:

Georgette Mosbacher of Florida, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Poland. Ms. Mosbacher is President of Georgette Mosbacher Enterprises, Inc., an international business and marketing consulting firm she founded in 1992.  She also sits on the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, to which President Barack Obama appointed her in 2016.  From 2001 to 2015, Ms. Mosbacher served as CEO of Borghese Inc., a global cosmetics manufacturer.  Prior to that, she was CEO of La Prairie Worldwide from 1988 to 1992, and was Marketing Director at Fabregé from 1976 to 1980.  In 1995, she founded the New York Center for Children, which assists children and families in need across New York City.  She sits on the boards of the Atlantic Council, the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, which supports veterans and military families, and Business Executives for National Security.  Ms. Mosbacher also previously served as a Co-Chair of the Republican National Committee’s Finance Committee, and was the first woman to serve as the General Chairman of the Republican Governors Association.  A published author, she has written two books on female empowerment.  Ms. Mosbacher earned a B.S. from Indiana University Bloomington.

If confirmed, Ms. Mosbacher would succeed career diplomat Paul Wayne Jones (1960–) who was appointed to Warsaw in 2015. Previous appointees to this position include Stephen D. Mull (1958–), the only Career Ambassador ranked diplomat left in active service, and career diplomats Daniel Fried (1952–), and Christopher Robert Hill (1952–).  The most recent political appointee to this position was Lee Andrew Feinstein (1959–) who was appointed to Warsaw from 2009-2012.

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Trump Nominates Campaign Liaison Joseph Cella to be U.S. Ambassador to Fiji

Posted: 2:37 am ET

 

On February 13, the WH announced the nomination of Joseph Cella to be the next Ambassador to Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga and Tuvalu. The WH released the following brief bio:

Joseph Cella of Michigan, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States to the Republic of Fiji, the Republic of Kiribati, the Republic of Nauru, the Kingdom of Tonga, and Tuvalu.  Mr. Cella, a respected businessman and committed community leader, has served since 2010 as Principal of the Pontifex Group, a consulting firm whose practice includes strategic and tactical counsel, communications, crisis management, public relations, political consulting, public policy, operational launching and enhancement, donor and investor prospecting and media advocacy.  For nearly two decades, Mr. Cella has worked in the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, political campaigns, and non-profit organizations.  In 2004, he co-founded a leading Catholic advocacy organization, Catholic Vote, a project of Fidelis, which has grown to more than 700,000 members.  He also founded and serves on the board of the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast.  Mr. Cella earned a B.A. from Hillsdale College.

If confirmed, Mr. Cella would replace career diplomat Judith Beth Cefkin (1953–) who was appointed chief of mission in 2015. The last political appointee sent to Fiji was M. Osman Siddique (1950–) who served as chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Suva from September 13, 1999–June 30, 2001.

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Adm Harry B. Harris Jr – From PACOM Commander to U.S. Ambassador to Australia

Posted: 2:50 am ET

 

The WH announced last week the President’s intent to nominate PACOM’s Admiral Harry B. Harris, Jr. to be the next U.S. Ambassador to Australia. If confirmed, Admirall Harris would succeed political appointee Morrell John Berry (1959–) who was Ambassador to Canberra from 2013–2016. The last career diplomat appointed to Australia was Edward William Gnehm Jr. (1944–) who served from 2000–2001.

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