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

 

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SFRC Confirmation Hearing: Marshall Billingslea to be Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights (J)

 

On September 19, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will have a confirmation hearing for  four Trump nominees including Marshall Billingslea to be the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights (J) at the Department of State. This office oversees five bureaus and four offices.
Mr. Billingslea was originally nominated in 2018, and re-nominated in January 2019.

Via WH, August 21, 2018:

Marshall Billingslea of Virginia, to be Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights at the Department of State.

Mr. Billingslea currently serves as Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing of the Treasury Department. Previously, he worked for Deloitte as a Managing Director; the Department of Defense as Deputy Under Secretary of the Navy, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict, and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Negotiations Policy; the NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, as Assistant Secretary General for Defense Investment; and the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations as a senior staff member in national security affairs. Mr. Billingslea is the recipient of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service, the Cross of Merit of the Minister of Defence of the Czech Republic, and the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana of Estonia. Mr. Billingslea earned his B.A. from Dartmouth College and M.A. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

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New @USUN Ambassador Kelly Craft Enters World Stage, Also Get Ready For #UNGA74

 

On September 12, new USUN Ambassador Kelly Craft presented her credentials to the UN Secretary General. The U.S. Senate confirmed her as US Ambassador to the United Nations in a 56-33 vote on July 31, 2019.  On September 10, she was also confirmed to be Representative of the United States of America to the Sessions of the General Assembly of the United Nations (UNGA) during her tenure of service as Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations in a 56-38 vote.

The 74th session of the General Assembly opens on Tuesday, 17 September 2019. For more information, see the Provisional Agenda of the Session. The first day of the high-level General Debate will be Tuesday, 24 September 2019.

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 Appoints Ex-Pompeo Chief of Staff as Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance Resources

 

Secretary Pompeo recently informed State Department employees that they just swore in a new Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance Resources, Jim Richardson. “Most recently, Jim served as the Assistant to the Administrator in USAID’s Bureau for Policy, Planning and Learning and the Coordinator of USAID’s Transformation Task Team. In his new role, he’ll guide the F Bureau in helping both the State Department and USAID connect the resources to our foreign policy objectives.”
Mr. Richardson succeeds Eric M. Ueland who was appointed as F Director in October 1, 2018 but has since been appointed to the WH as head of legislative affairs.  Mr. Ueland is however, still listed as F Director on state.gov.
While Pompeo did not mention that Richardson was his former chief of staff when he served in the Congress, the state.gov bio did mention the work he did for the former congressman:

James “Jim” Richardson is the Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance Resources at the U.S. Department of State, where he coordinates the allocation of more than $35 billion in foreign assistance resources.

Previously, Jim served as Assistant to the Administrator in USAID’s Bureau for Policy, Planning and Learning (PPL) and Coordinator of USAID’s Transformation Task Team, where he led the Agency’s historic reorganization to reshape the Agency around the principle of ‘Ending the Need for Foreign Assistance’.

Jim has nearly 20 years of government experience. Prior to joining the Trump Administration, he was Chief of Staff for then-Congressman Mike Pompeo (KS-04)—overseeing Pompeo’s offices in Washington, DC and in Wichita, Kansas, as well as the campaign organization.

Throughout his years in Washington, Jim spearheaded numerous complex operations and developed an extensive background in public policy and the legislative process. Prior to leading Congressman Pompeo’s staff, Jim worked with the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee for Congressman Todd Tiahrt (KS-04), the House Armed Services Committee for Congressman Jim Ryun (KS-02), and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for Senator John Ashcroft (R-MO). He started his government career with Christopher “Kit” Bond (R-MO).

Jim holds a Bachelors of Science in Government from Evangel University and a Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies from Missouri State University. He is also a graduate of the United States Air Force Air Command and Staff College (ACSC).

 

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@StateDept Appoints  Peter Berkowitz as New Director of Policy Planning

 

Secretary Pompeo told Foggy Bottom that Peter Berkowitz will serve as  the Department’s new Director of Policy Planning, where “he will help craft a long-term strategic vision for American diplomacy.” His appointment follows the departure of Kiron Skinner who until recently was S/P Director (see @StateDept Policy Planning’s Kiron Skinner Reportedly Out Over “Abusive” Management Style). Below is Dr. Berkowitz’s bio via state.gov:

Dr. Peter Berkowitz is the Director of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff in the office of the Secretary.

Dr. Berkowitz joined the State Department from the Hoover Institution at Stanford University where he is the Tad and Dianne Taube Senior Fellow.

Dr. Berkowitz’s study and writing has focused on, among other things, constitutional government, conservatism and progressivism in the United States, liberal education, national security and law, and Middle East politics.

He is the author of Constitutional Conservatism: Liberty, Self-Government, and Political Moderation (Hoover Institution Press, 2013); Israel and the Struggle over the International Laws of War (Hoover Institution Press, 2012); Virtue and the Making of Modern Liberalism (Princeton University Press, 1999); and Nietzsche: The Ethics of an Immoralist (Harvard University Press, 1995).

He is the editor of seven collections of essays on political ideas and institutions published by the Hoover Institution: Renewing the American Constitutional Tradition (2014); Future Challenges in National Security and Law (2010); The Future of American Intelligence (2005); Terrorism, the Laws of War, and the Constitution: Debating the Enemy Combatant Cases (2005); Varieties of Conservatism in America (2004); Varieties of Progressivism in America (2004); and Never a Matter of Indifference: Sustaining Virtue in a Free Republic (2003).

He is a contributor at RealClearPolitics, and has written hundreds of articles, essays and reviews on a range of subjects for a variety of publications, including The American Interest, The Atlantic, The New Republic, Politico, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Weekly Standard, and the Yale Law Journal.

In addition to teaching regularly in the United States and Israel, Dr. Berkowitz has led seminars on the principles of freedom and the American constitutional tradition for students from Burma at the George W. Bush Presidential Center and for Korean students at Underwood International College at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea.

He taught constitutional law and jurisprudence at George Mason University School of Law from 1999 to 2006, and political philosophy in the department of government at Harvard University from 1990 to 1999.

He holds a JD and a PhD in political science from Yale University, an MA in philosophy from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a BA in English literature from Swarthmore College.

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@StateDept Appoints Cam Henderson as Chief of Protocol

 

On August 12, the State Department appointed Cam Herderson as its new Chief of Protocol. She replaces Sean Lawler who was sworn in as Chief of Protocol of the United States, with rank of Ambassador on December 1, 2017. In late June, Bloomberg reported that Mr. Lawler was pulled off AF1 manifest after his staff complained of intimidating behavior, including reportedly, carrying a horsewhip in the office (see @StateDept’s Protocol Chief Sean Lawler to Quit Before G-20 Summit #horsewhip #wherearethehorses). It looks like the new Protocol Chief does not have an ambassador rank and did not require Senate confirmation. Below is a brief bio via state.gov:

Cam Henderson was appointed as the Chief of Protocol of the United States on August 12, 2019. In this role, Ms. Henderson leads the Office of the Chief of Protocol in its mission to advance the foreign policy of the Trump Administration by creating and fostering an environment for successful diplomacy. Welcoming kings, queens, presidents, prime ministers, and other foreign leaders to the United States, Ms. Henderson serves on the front lines of diplomatic engagement, building bridges and fostering understanding between peoples and governments. Prior to her appointment as the Chief of Protocol of the United States, Ms. Henderson served as the Deputy Chief of Protocol.

Ms. Henderson brings 20 years of experience in politics and fundraising to her role as the Chief of Protocol. Before joining the U.S. Department of State, she was Special Assistant to the President in the Office of Presidential Personnel in the Trump Administration. She worked extensively in the political realm in New Jersey, serving as former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s finance director during his 2016 presidential campaign. From 2010-2012, Ms. Henderson honed her protocol skills as First Lady Mary Pat Christie’s Chief of Staff and Director of Protocol. In 2013, she left the NJ State House to help New Jerseyans recover from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, working as executive director of the Hurricane Sandy NJ Relief Fund and ultimately raising 42 million dollars to help with those relief efforts.

In the early stages of her career, Ms. Henderson worked for President George W. Bush in the Office of Presidential Personnel, on the George W. Bush re-election campaign, and at the Republican National Committee.

Ms. Henderson is originally from Chattanooga, TN and is a proud graduate of American University.

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Secretary Pompeo Gives a Speech in Indiana, Next Week He’ll Deliver a Lecture in Kansas #hesnotrunning

 

The Washington Examiner recently reported that Mike Pompeo has “closed the door on any speculation he might run for the open Senate seat in Kansas next year.”  “I am going to stay here,” he said in an interview with the Washington Examiner. “There’s lots of people talking about it. The only one who’s not talking about it is me.”
The interview was conducted just a day after he attended an event with the Committee to Unleash American Prosperity, a group launched in 2015 with a stated goal of “persuading the presidential hopefuls in both parties to focus on the paramount challenge facing our country: slow growth and stagnant incomes.” (Also see Mike Pompeo’s Kansas Run: He’s Running, He’s Not …He’s Running, He’s … He’s …).
On August 27, Secretary Pompeo, delivered remarks at the 101st National Convention of The American Legion, this time in Indianapolis, Indiana and told attendees “we’re not going to apologize for America anymore”. Excerpt below:

Some of our leaders would say that the idea of America, or of “Americanism,” means inherent racism, or sexism.  Others say that Americanism is a code word for a narrow-minded nationalism.  Some even want us to reject the founding principles which have blessed us since 1776.  They want to substitute our founders’ words for something else.

They’d like us to shun those founding principles, principles that were bestowed on us by God and codified in our Constitution and properly taught in our schools’ civics courses.  They want us to reject the very ideas that are central to understanding our nation’s exceptionalism, and indeed its greatness.

That can’t happen, and I’m counting on you all to help me make sure that that never happens.  (Applause.)

And when it comes to Americanism in our foreign policy, for decades, frankly we just plain ignored it.  We didn’t lead.  We let the bureaucrats in international organizations lead us.  We let our allies shun their responsibilities.

We pretended our enemies were our friends, and sometimes sadly we even appeased them.

But those days are over.  No more.  The Trump administration – and you’ll hear it from the Vice President tomorrow – we’ve gotten back to the basics.  As I said when I was in Cairo now a few months back, we’re not going to apologize for America anymore.  (Applause.)  No, Americanism is something that we must be proud of.  We’re putting it at the center of our foreign policy.  Every one of my diplomats all across the world knows it, and is delivering it.

On Friday, September 6, 2019, he will also deliver the 190th Landon Lecture in the McCain Auditorium at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. Sounds like a bunch of domestic stuff going on for somebody who’s not running for political office. Get ready, in any case; Foggy Bottom could get Mick Mulvaney as Acting SecState 🙂 We live in Netflix’s Stranger World.

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U.S. Ambassador to Denmark Gets the Spotlight After Absurd Greenland Offer Failed

 

 

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Pompeo: “you will treat every human being with the dignity and respect …” (except when senior leaders don’t)

 

 

…”[I]t’s an imperative that senior leaders set the culture right on that. That we make sure that every team member, whether they’re a Foreign Service Office, or a Civil Servant, or part of our locally-employed teams in the field, understands that you will treat every human being with the dignity and respect they deserve by the nature of their humanness. And so I’ve said that from the moment I walked in the building on C Street the first day, and I say it in every gathering that I have. We have to do that. The team has to do that. The leadership must lead on that issue, but everyone who comes through here must understand it is one team, one mission.
And the second thing we’ve tried to do is set a professional standard of excellence that isn’t unique to any one group. It’s not unique to Western Hem. It’s not unique to our cyber folks.  It’s not unique to Foreign Service Officers. We did this with something that we’ve called the Ethos that we’ve put forward, which says these are the characteristics of people who will be part of America’s diplomatic corps, the team that is out delivering on behalf of the United States of America. So if you work with USAID, or you work in another part of our organization, this is the standard to which you should aspire. It has both the personal character standard and an organizational set of understandings, and we hope that that will become something that’s foundational and part of the DNA of everyone who works here at the State Department.”

Secretary Mike Pompeo
State Magazine, July 2019

Note: We should note here that USAID (created with the passage of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (pdf) by Congress) is not/not part of the Department of State.  Despite a recent effort to merge USAID into the State Department, it remains an independent agency with its own Senate-confirmed administrator, Mark Green.

BONUS:

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