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: 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.

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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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SFRC Hearing on Feb 11: Stewart, Riley, Dandekar, Matthews, Escobari

Posted: 4:28  pm EDT

 

Today, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a confirmation hearing for the following State Department and USAID nominees:

  • The Honorable 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
    Adobe Acrobat DocumentDownload Testimony
  • Mr. 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
    Adobe Acrobat DocumentDownload Testimony
  • Ms. Swati A. Dandekar
    Of Iowa, To Be United States Director Of The Asian Development Bank, With The Rank Of Ambassador
    Adobe Acrobat DocumentDownload Testimony
  • Mr. 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
    Adobe Acrobat DocumentDownload Testimony
  • Ms. Marcela Escobari
    Of Massachusetts, To Be An Assistant Administrator Of The United States Agency For International Development
    Adobe Acrobat DocumentDownload Testimony

The SFRC page with the video of the hearing is available here.

 

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Senate Confirms Gayle Smith to be USAID Administrator

Posted: 6:41 pm EDT

 

On November 30, the U.S. Senate confirmed Gayle Smith as Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development by a vote of 79-7.

The National Security Advisor was quick to issue a statement. The State Department’s number 2 was quick to issue a tweet.

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Clinton Email Staffing Pitches: Loyal and years of successfully making high ranking govt officials look good

Posted: 7:08 pm EDT

 

Another end of the month, another Clinton email dump. Below via foia.state.gov:

The Department is conducting a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) review of all emails provided by former Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton. Starting in June 2015, a new set of emails from this collection will be released on this site at the end of each month. These monthly releases will continue until the entire collection of records is reviewed for public release, and all releasable records will be available on this site.

In May 2015, the Department released a set of 296 of these documents which previously had been provided in February 2015 to the House Select Committee on Benghazi. These and additional emails released in coming months from this collection will be available here.

On December 1, 2008, President-elect Obama formally announced that Clinton would be his nominee for Secretary of State. On January 21, 2009, Clinton was confirmed in the full Senate by a vote of 94–2. The emails we have looked at so far from this latest dump are from the start of her tenure with routine staffing issues, folks looking for jobs, people recommending others, stuff like that. There are some interesting ones:

 

This is a June 2009 email to HRC chief of staff Cheryl Mills from an individual (name redacted) seeking other opportunities at the State Department.  Remember this pitch … “years of successfully making high ranking government officials look good.”

cinton email dump july 31 2015

 

Here is an email from an individual (name redacted) “applying for a job” sent to Nicholas Blair, son of former UK PM Tony Blair, forwarded to Cherie Blair, who then forwarded the resume to HRC:

Screen Shot 2015-07-31

 

If the secretary of state wants to hire you, it’s only a question of tasking someone to find a slot for you at WHA, S/P (policy planning shop) or elsewhere, really — but “someone who lacks discretion is not possible.”

Screen Shot 2015-07-31

 

State/OBO’s very difficult time and what looks like a staffing pitch in 2009 from “M”:

Screen Shot 2015-07-31

 

In September 2009, then US Ambassador Susman in London sent an email to Cheryl Mills about a Schedule C appointee referred for a Special Assistant job to the ambassador. Ambassador Susman writes that the individual “was so overqualified for the position we need to fill” and that he appointed the individual to a [REDACTED] which the individual was apparently “very excited about.” Ambassador Susman attached the individual’s letter to him and forwarded it to Ms. Mills.  A Schedule C at every groovy embassy? Since when did we start hiring Schedule C appointees for overseas missions? Is this some big gun or some kid of some big gun, you think?  Schedule C positions are excepted from the competitive service because of their confidential or policy-determining character. Most such positions are at grade 15 of the General Schedule or lower.

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 3.36.33 PM

There’s more but gotta make dinner.  In any case as early as May 2009, just four months into her tenure, folks were already talking about 21st statecraft as a “major part of HRC’s legacy.”

Screen Shot 2015-07-31

 

Our favorite email, if we could pick one, is probably the one sent by Huma Abedin to HRC in November 2009 about Kurt somebody who did not want his sleep disturbed:Screen Shot 2015-07-31

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Gayle Smith For USAID Gets a Confirmation Hearing, a Protestor, an Open Letter to End Famine

Posted: 12:13 pm  PDT

 

On June 17, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a confirmation hearing on the nomination of Gayle Smith as the next USAID Administrator:

Ms. Gayle Smith Of Ohio,
To Be Administrator Of The United States Agency For International Development
Download Testimony (pdf)

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Then this happened:

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