Andrea L. Thompson to be Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security (T)

Posted: 1:33 am ET

 

On December 13, the WH announced President Trump’s intent to nominate retired U.S. Colonel Andrea L. Thompson to be the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. The WH released the following brief bio:

Andrea L. Thompson of South Dakota to be the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. Ms. Thompson, a former military officer, currently serves as a Special Advisor in the Office of Policy Planning at the Department of State. Previously, she was Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor to the Vice President at the White House. A former Director of the McChrystal Group Leadership Institute, Ms. Thompson has more than 25 years of military service in the U.S. Army including deployments to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Bosnia. She has also served as National Security Advisor to the House Homeland Security Committee, Executive Officer to the Under Secretary of the Army, Senior Military Advisor to the House Foreign Affairs Committee and a Senior Fellow with the Army’s strategic studies group. She earned a B.A. in both journalism and Spanish at the University of South Dakota, a M.S. from Long Island University and a M.A. from the National Defense University.

If confirmed, Colonel Thompson would succeed Rose Eileen Gottemoeller who served from 2014–2016, and was subsequently appointed to NATO (see Rose @Gottemoeller Moves to @NATO as First Female Deputy Secretary General).

Via history.state.gov:
Congress, in the Foreign Assistance Act of 1971 (P.L. 92-226; 86 Stat. 28), authorized the President to appoint, with the advice and consent of the Senate, an officer for the purpose of coordinating the government’s security assistance programs. Under this act, the President has commissioned all incumbents as “Under Secretaries of State for Coordinating Security Assistance Programs.” Since then, the Department of State has assigned the position different functional designations. On Aug 22, 1977, the Department changed the designation from “Under Secretary for Security Assistance” to “Under Secretary for Security Assistance, Science, and Technology.” On Apr 30, 1990, the Department changed this designation to “International Security Affairs.” In addition to coordinating U.S. security assistance programs, duties associated with this position have also included at one time or another: nuclear non-proliferation; control of technology transfers and strategic goods; and coordination of international communications policy. Title changed to Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs on May 12, 1994.

 

The previous appointees to this position are as follows:

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Trump to Nominate Ex-NHTSA Admin Nicole R. Nason to be Asst Secretary For Administration

Posted: 2:12 am ET

 

On November 28, the White House announced President Trump’s intent to nominate former NHTSA Administrator Nicole R. Nason to be the next Assistant Secretary of State for Administration. The WH released the following brief bio:

Nicole R. Nason of New York will serve as an Assistant Secretary of State for Administration. Ms. Nason, an attorney and senior government official, has served as a Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State in Washington, D.C. since June 2017. She previously served in Washington, D.C. as Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation (2006-2008), Assistant Secretary for Government Affairs, U.S. Department of Transportation (2003-2006), Assistant Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (2002-2003) and Attorney for the Subcommittee on Crime, U.S. House of Representatives (1995- 1999). From 2014-2017, she founded and ran Project Koe in Connecticut, empowering women and improving health and fitness using traditional Japanese martial arts techniques. Ms. Nason earned a B.A. in Political Science and Government at American University and a J.D. at Case Western Reserve University.

According to AllGov, she previously worked as counsel and communications director for Intelligence Committee Chairman Porter Goss of Florida, as counsel for the House Judiciary Committee under Chairman Henry Hyde of Illinois, and as assistant commissioner of the Office of Congressional Affairs  at the U.S. Customs Service.

According to Consumer Report, Nason left NHTSA after serving a little more than two years as head of the government’s primary auto safety agency.

A quick summary about the A bureau via state.gov:

The Bureau of Administration provides support programs to the Department of State and U.S. embassies and consulates. These programs include: procurement; supply and transportation; diplomatic pouch and mail services; official records, publishing, and library services; language services; setting allowance rates for U.S. Government personnel assigned abroad and providing support for Department assisted overseas schools; domestic real property and facilities management; domestic emergency management; support for White House travel abroad; and logistical support for special conferences.

Direct services to the public and other government agencies include: responding to requests under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts and providing the Virtual Reading Room for public reference to State Department records and information access programs; printing official publications; simultaneous interpretation for Senior USG Officials; and determining use of the Diplomatic Reception Rooms of the Harry S Truman headquarters building in Washington, DC.

State/A oversees the offices of Allowances, Directives, Emergency Management, Global Publishing, Languages Services, Logistics Management, Overseas Schools, and the Office of the Procurement Executive. The incumbent reports to the Under Secretary for Management.

History.state.gov notes that the Department of State created the position of Assistant Secretary of State for Administration during a general reorganization in December 1944, after Congress authorized an increase in the number of Assistant Secretaries in the Department from four to six (Dec 8, 1944; P.L. 78-472; 58 Stat. 798). The reorganization was the first to designate substantive designations for specific Assistant Secretary positions. The title for this position has varied over the years. Assistant Secretaries for Administration have supervised a variety of functions ranging from budget and personnel matters to foreign buildings and record keeping. Several of these functions, such as accounting and diplomatic security have become the responsibility of newly created bureaus.

Of the last ten appointees to this position, two have been non-career appointments, Arthur Fort and Rajkumar Chellaraj.

Related items:

Nicole Nason: AllGov
Diplomacy, humor take new NHTSA chief far (by Jayne O’Donnell, USA Today)
Hey Auto Journalists, NHTSA Administrator Nicole Nason Is Waiting To Take YOUR Call! (Jalopnik)
Bush Names Choice To Head Traffic Safety (by Sholnn Freeman, Washington Post)
What’s Off the Record at N.H.T.S.A.? Almost Everything (NYT, August 22, 2007 via Wayback Machine)
David Kelly replaces Nicole Nason as top NHTSA administrator (Consumer Reports News, Sept 8, 2008)
For NHTSA Chief Nason, Family Influences Policy (Edmunds.com, Wayback Machine)

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Trump to Nominate Career Diplomat Joseph E. Macmanus to be U.S. Ambassador to Colombia

Posted: 2:34 am ET

 

On November 21, the White House announced President Trump’s intent to nominate career diplomat Joseph E. Macmanus to be the next U.S. Ambassador to Colombia. The WH released the following brief bio:

Joseph E. Macmanus of New York to be Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Colombia. Mr. Macmanus, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, has served as an American diplomat since 1986. He is currently Adviser to the Secretary of State, a position he undertook in June 2017. Previously, he was Senior Adviser to the Secretary of State and Executive Secretary of the Department of State from 2014-2017. A former Ambassador, Mr. Macmanus has been a senior aide to four Secretaries of State. He has served at five U.S. Missions overseas. Mr. Macmanus earned a B.A. at the University of Notre Dame and a M.L.S. at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He speaks Spanish, French, and Polish.

If confirmed, Ambassador Macmanus would succeed career diplomat Kevin Whitaker who was appointed chief of mission in Bogota in April 2014.  The last seven chief of mission appointees to Colombia going back to the mid-1990’s have been career diplomats.  According to history.state.gov, the last non-career appointee sent to Bogota was Morris Dempson Busby (1938–) who served from September 1991–July 1994 under George H. W. Bush.

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Trump to Nominate Car-Dealer CEO David T. Fischer to be Ambassador to Morocco

Posted: 3:49 am ET

 

On November 21, the WH announced President Trump’s intent to nominate David T. Fischer to be the next U.S. Ambassador to Morocco. The WH released a five-sentence announcement as follows:

David T. Fischer of Michigan to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Morocco.Mr. Fischer is the Chairman, CEO, and principal owner of The Suburban Collection, one of the largest privately held automotive dealership groups in the United States. Mr. Fischer provides philanthropy to many charities and has joined the boards of numerous academic, cultural, and social welfare institutions and foundations. He has been a Member of the Judicial Tenure Commission in Detroit since 2012. Mr. Fischer earned a B.A. at Parsons College.

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SFRC Hearings: Goldstein, Gonzales, Johnson, Evans, Lawler #OBE

Posted: 12:18 am ET
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We missed the Nov 1 confirmation hearings at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, so this is an OBE post. We are posting them below to easily retrieve the nominees’ prepared testimonies and provide a link to the video.  We have also added links to the Certificates of Competency for Chiefs of Mission. 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. Unfortunately, there is no such requirements for top ranking nominees in the State Department.

Date: Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM
Location: SD-419
Presiding: Senator Portman

Click here for the video of the confirmation hearing.

Mr. Irwin Steven Goldstein
Of New York, To Be Under Secretary Of State For Public Diplomacy
Download Testimony

Ms. Rebecca Eliza Gonzales
Gonzales, Rebecca Eliza – Kingdom of Lesotho – September 2017
Of Texas, 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 Kingdom Of Lesotho |
Download Testimony

Ms. Lisa A. Johnson
Johnson Lisa A. – Republic of Namibia – October 2017
Of Washington, 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 Namibia
Download Testimony

Mr. James Randolph Evans
(certificate not available at state.gov as of 11/2/2017)
Of Georgia, To Be Ambassador Extraordinary And Plenipotentiary Of The United States Of America To Luxembourg
Download Testimony

Mr. Sean P. Lawler
o
f Maryland, To Be Chief Of Protocol, And To Have The Rank Of Ambassador During His Tenure Of Service
Download Testimony

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Founding Member of Mar-a-Lago Club Robin Bernstein to be U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic

Posted: 4:23 am ET
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On October 31, President Trump announced his intent to nominate Robin Bernstein, a founding member of The Mar-a-Lago Club  to be the next U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic. The WH released the following brief bio:

Robin Bernstein to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Dominican Republic.  Ms. Bernstein has served as President and Director of Richard S. Bernstein and Associates, Inc. since 2004, and Vice President and Director of Rizbur, Inc. since 2002, both of West Palm Beach, Florida.  For four decades, she has provided leadership and management to the business, government, and the non-profit communities of Florida.  Currently, she is co-founder of Palm Beach Country Cares, a Florida relief effort for victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Ms. Bernstein earned a B.A. from American University School of International Service and an M.B.A. from George Washington University.  She speaks French and basic Spanish.

This nomination has the potential to be the more contentious of the Trump ambassador nominations due to her association with Mar-a-Lago, but also because she was one of Trump’s 2016 Presidential Electors.

But hey, it’s the U.S. Senate where its “advice and consent” role often constitutes a light touch — just a few public questions, and whether or not the nominee has previously visited the country. In some of these public hearings, they have four-five nominees for an hour or so, most of that taken up by the prepared testimonies of the nominees, the senators listening to themselves talk, and then a few questions for the nominees. If a nominee is in a panel with a controversial individual, the nominee might get just a question or two. If the nominee is the controversial one, or in the crosshairs of one or two of the senators, then the nominee might get most of the questions. Sometimes though, when a nominee comes unprepared, it blows up the house, and a normally inattentive public reacts in unexpected ways. But that does not happen often.

We must admit, however, that we suffer from low expectations when it comes to these confirmations. Since singing in a church choir, and being spouse of an ex-politician are deemed relevant qualifications for an ambassador, the bar for the Senate is low. Other than making a real spectacle of yourself in front of the cameras, like trampling through the salad bowl with no dressing, most political nominees get handed the keys to embassies after their quick confirmation hearings. Not unique to this administration, we should add, but USA Today, notes that “never in modern history has a president awarded government posts to people who pay money to his own companies.” So we’ll have to watch what happens with Corker and Flake who sits in the SFRC, and if McCain shows up for the hearing.

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Trump Nominates Career Diplomat Joel Danies to be U.S. Ambassador to Gabon/Sao Tome and Principe

Posted: 4:17 am ET
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On October 27, President Trump announced his intent to nominate career diplomat Joel Danies to be the U.S. Ambassador to Gabon and Sao Tome and Principe. The WH released the following brief bio:

Joel Danies of Maryland to be Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Gabonese Republic and the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe.  Mr. Danies, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Counselor, has served as an American diplomat since 1987.  He is currently Associate Dean of the School of Professional and Area Studies, Foreign Service Institute, at the Department of State.  Mr. Danies has served in senior-level Department of State positions at home and abroad.  He earned a master’s degree from National War College in Washington, D.C., and a bachelor’s degree from University of Maryland, College Park.  He speaks French, Haitian-Creole and Arabic.

Is it just us or are the bios of career diplomats getting the minimalist treatment now? The WH-released bio doesn’t mention prior assignments anymore, only that the nominee has “served in senior-level Department of State positions at home and abroad.”

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NSC’s Christopher Ford to be Asst Secretary For International Security and Non-Proliferation

Posted: 4:16 am ET
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On October 31, President Trump announced his intent to nominate Christopher A. Ford, currently with the National Security Council to be the next Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Non-Proliferation (ISN). The WH released the following brief bio:

Christopher Ashley Ford of Maryland to be an Assistant Secretary of State, International Security and Non-Proliferation.  Dr. Ford currently serves as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Weapons of Mass Destruction and Counterproliferation at the National Security Council.  Dr. Ford served on several different committees in the U.S. Senate, served as a State Department official, and worked as a senior fellow at Hudson Institute.  Dr. Ford is the author of three books – China Looks at the West: Identity, Global Ambitions, and the Future of Sino-American Relations (2015), The Mind of Empire: China’s History and Modern Foreign Relations (2010), and The Admirals’ Advantage: U.S. Navy Operational Intelligence in World War II and the Cold War (2005) – and scores of articles and monographs.  He also served as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve, receiving an Honorable Discharge at the rank of Lieutenant Commander.  Dr. Ford earned an A.B., summa cum laude, at Harvard University, a D.Phil. at Oxford University in the United Kingdom (as a Rhodes Scholar), and a J.D. at Yale Law School.  A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, he lives with his family in Bethesda, Maryland.

Back in January, in a piece about the NSC, WaPo notes the following:

Longtime senate staffer Christopher Ford has joined the NSC staff to work on non-proliferation and nuclear issues. Ford has served as chief council for the Senate Appropriations Committee, the Senate Banking Committee and most recently the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. During the George W. Bush administration, Ford was a deputy assistant secretary of state in the bureau of arms control and international security, then led by John Bolton.

His Wikipedia page is here.

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CDA Caracas M. Lee McClenny to be U.S. Ambassador to Paraguay

Posted: 1:20 am ET
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On October 26, President Trump announced his intent to nominate M. Lee McClenny to be the U.S. Ambassador to Paraguay. The WH released the following brief bio:

M. Lee McClenny of Washington to be Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Paraguay.  Mr. McClenny, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, began his public service with the U.S. Information Agency in 1986.  He is currently the Chargé d’Affaires e.p. of the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela.  He has previously served overseas in Kuala Lumpur, Montreal, Manila, London, Brussels, Guatemala City, Belgrade and Ottawa, as well as in leadership positions at the Department of State and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.  Mr. McClenny is a recipient of the Presidential Meritorious Service Award, and numerous performance awards from the Department of State and U.S. Information Agency.  He received a B.A. from the University of Washington, and speaks Spanish, French, and some Serbo-Croatian and Russian.

Also see US Embassy Caracas: Chargé Lee McClenny Gets the Spotlight, Plus Two Weeks to Downsize

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Trump to Nominate Career Diplomat Peter H. Vrooman to be U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda

Posted: 1:16 am ET
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On October 26, President Trump announced his intent to nominate Peter Hendrick Vrooman to be the next U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda. The WH released the following brief bio:

Peter Hendrick Vrooman of New York to be Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Rwanda.  Mr. Vrooman, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Counselor, has served as an American diplomat since 1991.  He most recently served as Chargé d’Affaires from 2016 to 2017 and Deputy Chief of Mission from 2014 to 2016 at the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  Mr. Vrooman has held senior positions with the Department of State at home and at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, as well as overseas.  He has served at seven embassies in Africa, the Near East and South Asia.  Mr. Vrooman possesses a deep knowledge of East African issues, expertise in UN peacekeeping, strong management and public diplomacy credentials, and economic/commercial advocacy experience.  He earned a M.S from the National Defense University’s Industrial College of the Armed Forces, and a B.A. from Harvard College.  He speaks French and Arabic.

 

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