Via CRS: Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs: FY2019 Budget and Appropriations | April 18, 2018 – August 9, 2018:
Via CRS: Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs: FY2019 Budget and Appropriations | April 18, 2018 – August 9, 2018:
Posted: 12:19 PT
We’re days late on this but the United States opened the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem on May 14. The event sparked protests at the Gaza border which resulted in the deaths of over 50 Palestinians and hundreds of wounded protesters.
With the Embassy officially moved to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv has not been designated as a consulate general but as a “Branch Office”. The State Department did update its 2 FAM 440 on Changing Post Status on May 18, four days late and it does not enlightened us on what happens to the Tel Aviv post, the consular districts, the role of the chief of mission to USCG Jerusalem or for that matter, what happens to place of birth names on passports as 7 FAM 1300 Appendix D has not been updated. Note that previous to this move, USCG Jerusalem’s consular districts include the West Bank, Gaza, and the municipality of Jerusalem while Embassy Tel Aviv’s consular district includes all other territory in Israel.
We understand that the Consul General in Jerusalem will continue to live in the chief of mission residence (CMR) on the Agron Road consulate site. It is also our understanding that USCGJerusalem — a separate post with its own chief of mission that reports directly to the bureau and was never a constituent post of then Embassy Tel Aviv — “will go on as usual” even after the ambassador and mission to the State of Israel move to Jerusalem. So the USG will have two posts in Jerusalem, each with a different mission? Are there going to be one or two separate consular sections? What’s bidding going to be like? We’re having a moment with FAM confusion, help would be appreciated from folks in the know.
Last December, @POTUS acknowledged Israel’s capital is Jerusalem. He directed @StateDept to move our embassy to Jerusalem as recognition of that reality. I'm incredibly proud that today, on Israel's 70th anniversary of independence, #USEmbassyJerusalem is open.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) May 14, 2018
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) May 14, 2018
Son-in-law Jared Kushner speaks at US Embassy opening in Jerusalem: "The US stands with Israel because we both believe in freedom… in human rights… that democracy is worth defending." So far, 41 Palestinians protesters have been killed at the border. pic.twitter.com/whbk8bnBEF
— Paula Chertok🗽 (@PaulaChertok) May 14, 2018
US @statedeptspox says State had no role in picking the controversial pastor Robert Jeffress for opening ceremony for US Embassy in Jerusalem. Says Ambo Friedman picked him. Said of pastors views "we would certainly not agree with his remarks about some religious groups."
— Paul Danahar (@pdanahar) May 15, 2018
Robert Jeffress says “you can’t be saved by being a Jew,“ and “Mormonism is a heresy from the pit of hell.” He’s said the same about Islam. Such a religious bigot should not be giving the prayer that opens the United States Embassy in Jerusalem.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) May 14, 2018
BREAKING: Israeli soldiers shot and killed at least 41 Palestinians at the Gaza border pic.twitter.com/VNyUGshmSe
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) May 14, 2018
At least 41 Palestinians killed by Israeli troops in clashes on the Gaza border, as US opens embassy in Jerusalem
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) May 14, 2018
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) May 14, 2018
Opinion: Under Trump, the U.S. has abandoned the last shred of balance on Israel https://t.co/dqKdBxC6OP
— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) May 14, 2018
— Jason D. Greenblatt (@jdgreenblatt45) May 7, 2018
— USEmbassyJerusalem (@usembassyjlm) May 7, 2018
First road sign for the new US embassy in Jerusalem.
It’s happening, folks. pic.twitter.com/VagUCK8dZH
— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) May 7, 2018
New US Embassy building in Jerusalem plan unveiled. The new US Embassy will be inaugurated in Jerusalem next week, then construction works to be completed on coming years by American, Israeli firms. 🇺🇸 🇮🇱 pic.twitter.com/vabYO3Yjtd
— Michael Dickson (@michaeldickson) May 7, 2018
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).
See for yourself: She's not listed in Mexican readout, not seen in official photos released by EPN's office. Who is? Kimberly Breier, State Dept official rumored to be Trump pick for Asst Sec for Western Hemisphere Affairs https://t.co/NcPI8rGt2n https://t.co/rTNZrQJ3Vl
— Conor Finnegan (@cjf39) March 8, 2018
— Ana Rosa Quintana (@ana_r_quintana) March 8, 2018
— Univision News (@UnivisionNews) February 7, 2018
— Miguel Ruiz Cabañas (@miguelrcabanas) November 8, 2017
Posted: 3:06 pm ET
After almost ten months, the State Department formally gets its first assistant secretary for one of its six geographic bureaus. On November 2, Secretary Tilerson sworn-in A. Wess Mitchell as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. The Department of State first established a Division of Western European Affairs in 1909, which handled European nations primarily bordering on the Atlantic Ocean and their colonies. The name changed to the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs on August 8, 2001. A/S Mitchell’s predecessors include Victoria Nuland (2013–2017), Philip H. Gordon; Richard Charles Albert Holbrooke (1994–1996); Lawrence Sidney Eagleburger (1981–1982), and Walter John Stoessel Jr. (1972–1974) to name a few.
— Department of State (@StateDept) November 2, 2017
Congrats & best wishes to Dr. Wess Mitchell, sworn in today by Secretary Tillerson as Assistant Secretary for European & Eurasian Affairs pic.twitter.com/BK09SpTV6i
— WolfgangWaldner (@WaldnerWolfgang) November 2, 2017
— David Bakradze (@BakradzeDavid) November 2, 2017
— Jeff Anderson (@CGESjefe) November 2, 2017
Assistant Secretaries of State for Geographic Areas (Historical List)
Posted: 1:26 am ET
On September 11, the State Department had to distance itself from a comment made by its top representative in Israel (see @StateDept: Ambassador Friedman’s comment “does not represent a shift in U.S. policy”. On September 28, State Department spox Heather Nauert, once more from the podium, said that it’s ambassador’s two percent comment “should not be read as a change in U.S. policy.” One reporter asked “if the perception that the ambassador to Israel has his thumb on the scale in the view of this conflict creating problems for the U.S.?” The spox had an interesting response that includes North Korea, and oh, maps.
Via the Daily Press Briefing:
MS NAUERT: So I’ve also heard about this report, and when you mention that figure of two percent, I don’t know where that came from. That came from some report. I have no idea which report that came from. 14 9/28/2017
QUESTION: It was in the interview. It came from his —
QUESTION: It came from his own mouth.
QUESTION: It was from David Friedman’s mouth.
MS NAUERT: Oh. Okay, okay. I thought he was citing a report or something. Okay, okay. So I’m aware of what he said. His comments – and I want to be crystal clear about this – should not be read as a way to prejudge the outcome of any negotiations that the U.S. would have with the Israelis and the Palestinians. It should also not indicate a shift in U.S. policy.
QUESTION: Well, do they reflect – oh. So it does – so his comments by the U.S. ambassador to Israel do not reflect U.S. policy?
MS NAUERT: I just want to say it should not be read as a change in U.S. policy.
QUESTION: Did he go rogue?
QUESTION: This is —
QUESTION: So is this —
QUESTION: Yeah, yeah. That’s —
QUESTION: This is at least the second time that from this podium you’ve had to sort of clean up Ambassador Friedman’s remarks when he had upped the alleged occupation. Is this becoming an issue? I mean, even if it’s not a change of position, is the perception that the ambassador to Israel has his thumb on the scale in the view of this conflict creating problems for the U.S.?
MS NAUERT: I guess what I would say to that is we have some very effective leaders and representatives for the U.S. Government, including Jason Greenblatt, Mr. Kushner, who are spending an awful lot of time in the region trying to get both sides together to have talks about a lasting existence side by side. The President has made that one of his top priorities. And when we talk about top priorities here, we talk about the nuclear threat of North Korea, but also – the nuclear and ballistic missile threat of North Korea, but we also talk about this. And I think it indicates just how important this is to the President that he has put those two in charge of negotiating that.
In terms of the ambassador, I can’t comment any more for you on that other than to say our policy here has not changed.
QUESTION: Well, it sounds —
QUESTION: But when you say that – Heather, when you say — 15 9/28/2017
QUESTION: It sounds to me like you’re saying – that you’re telling – you’re telling the Palestinians and the Israelis don’t bother listening to the ambassador, listen to Greenblatt and Kushner.
MS NAUERT: I have not had the chance to speak to the ambassador, so I will hesitate at commenting too much —
QUESTION: I mean, the ambassador spoke —
MS NAUERT: Hold on – too much on what he said. I was not there. I have not heard it. I have not heard the context in which that conversation was had. But I just want to be clear that our policy has not changed.
QUESTION: Right. But the – but I mean, all that is fair enough, but the problem arises because he is the Senate-confirmed ambassador. Mr. – neither Greenblatt nor Kushner are. They’re just informal-type envoys. And ambassadors to every country are supposed to speak for and with the authority of the President of the United States. Do you not see that this is causing confusion?
And then as a purely factual matter, how much of – what percent of the West Bank does the United – does the administration believe is occupied?
MS NAUERT: I don’t know that we have a map of that or that we have —
QUESTION: You’ve got a lot of maps on that.
MS NAUERT: Do we have a lot of maps?
QUESTION: Oh, yeah.
MS NAUERT: Do we?
MS NAUERT: Okay. Well, see, you all pre-date me here. I’ll go pull out some —
QUESTION: Heather, do you —
MS NAUERT: — the dusty shelves.
QUESTION: You have many, many, many, many maps.
MS NAUERT: Okay, okay. Said, go right ahead.
QUESTION: I want to follow up on something else that he said.
MS NAUERT: Yes. 16 9/28/2017
QUESTION: He said that the two-state solution has lost its meaning. Is that your position? I mean, this is – it’s been the case of past U.S. presidents – I mean U.S. ambassadors in Israel to speak for the State Department and to report directly to the Secretary of State. Has he cleared that with the Secretary of State?
MS NAUERT: Okay.
QUESTION: Can we go back to Ambassador Friedman’s current comments —
MS NAUERT: Elise, I’m not going to have anything more for you on the ambassador.
QUESTION: Okay, but will you – I understand. But you just said that Jason Greenblatt and Jared Kushner are working on this issue.
MS NAUERT: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: And then you – or before that, you said that Ambassador Friedman’s comments don’t reflect a change in policy. So aren’t you a bit concerned that the ambassador’s comments are detracting or going to harm the efforts by the President’s appointed envoys on this issue?
MS NAUERT: I think I would go back to the meetings that the President held where the Secretary was last week at the UN, in meeting with Mr. Abbas and meeting with Mr. Netanyahu. And I think they know – I know they know – just how strongly we feel about trying to bring peace, peace to that region.
QUESTION: Well, they – the President told him —
MS NAUERT: And —
QUESTION: — that last week and that yes, they came across – they came out of those meetings last week. And now this week —
MS NAUERT: And we both came out of those meetings very, very hopeful.
QUESTION: I understand that.
MS NAUERT: And they both had said something along the lines of “We have” – something along the lines of “We’ve never felt like we’re in a better position to reach this goal.” So I’m not going to tarnish that in any kind of way. I think we’re still going forward with that goal.
QUESTION: But that was last week. And this week, the ambassador is coming out and saying something completely different. Has he been — 17 9/28/2017
MS NAUERT: Well, let me just say, to my knowledge, we have not received any phone calls about this just yet. Okay?
Said, go ahead. Go right ahead.
QUESTION: Let me just follow up very quickly. I’m sorry. I just want to follow up, because today, the prime minister of Israel told the official news channel that he discussed with Mr. Greenblatt and with Mr. Friedman and, in fact, with Mr. Dermer, the ambassador, the Israeli ambassador here, that they – they want to close – he raised with them closing the PLO embassy here in Washington. You have anything on that? Do you know anything about that? Because I told the Palestinian ambassador. He says we have not heard anything; this is something that the Israelis are just saying they’re doing.
MS NAUERT: Okay.
QUESTION: Do you know anything about that?
MS NAUERT: You know what? I’m not familiar with that report. If I have anything for you on it, I will certainly get it to you, but I can refer you back to the government. Okay?
Posted: 12:40 am ET
On September 28, the U.S. Senate confirmed the nomination for the new Assistant Secretary for State for EUR, and the nominees as chiefs of mission to Bahrain, Afghanistan, and Russia.
Posted: 3:03 am ET
We’ve previously blogged about the special envoys/reps at the State Department going back to 2014. In 2015, Senator Bob Corker [R-TN] introduced Senate bill S. 1635: Department of State Operations Authorization and Embassy Security Act, Fiscal Year 2016. We agreed with Senator Corker then that every secretary of state should be asked to account for these 7th Floor denizens/positions, most especially on their necessity to the effective conduct of the foreign affairs of the United States. The American Academy of Diplomacy in its American Diplomacy at Risk report also recommended that “special envoys, representatives, coordinators, etc. should be appointed only for the highest priority issues and should be integrated into relevant bureaus unless special circumstances dictate otherwise.”
The Corker bill was enacted after it was signed by President Obama on December 16, 2016. Sec. 418 of the bill requires the Secretary of State to report to appropriate congressional committees a tabulation of the current names, ranks, positions, and responsibilities of all special envoy, representative, advisor, and coordinator positions at the Department, with a separate accounting of all such positions at the level of Assistant Secretary (or equivalent), their appointment authorities, reporting requirements, staffing, and other details. The draft bill may have originally required a Senate confirmation for these positions but the inacted bill, Public Law 114–323, does not include that requirement.
Secretary Tillerson’s letter to Senator Corker notes that he is providing notification per section 7015(a) and 7034(l) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2017 (Div. J, P.L. 115-31) on certain organizational changes related to special envoys and related positions, as well as changes to special envoys and related positions that do not require notification to the Committees. He writes:
I believe that the Department will be able to better execute its mission by integrating certain envoys and special representative offices within the regional and functional bureaus, and eliminating those that have accomplished or outlived their original purpose. In some cases, the State Department would leave in place several positions and offices, while in other cases, positions and offices would be either consolidated or integrated with the most appropriate bureau. If an issue no longer requires a special envoy or representative, then an appropriate bureau will manage any legacy responsibilities.
This integration will address concerns that under the current structure, a special envoy or representative can circumvent the regional and functional bureaus that make up the core of the State Department. In each case, the allocated budget, staff members, and responsibilities would be reallocated to the appropriate bureau. Issues that require high-level interaction with senior foreign officials will be assigned to a senior official to whom authority is delegated to conduct such diplomacy.
Let’s give Secretary Tillerson a thumbs up, okay? This needed doing for some time, and we are pleased to see that some of these responsibilities are reverting to the functional and regional bureaus; that subject matter experts in the bureaus will be put to good use again, and will not be kept in the dark. It’s good to see Tillerson tamping down the proliferation of um … mushrooms. Let’s see if he can keep at it.
In response to Secretary Tillerson’s letter, Senator Corker released a statement here expressing appreciation for “the work Secretary Tillerson has done to responsibly review the organizational structure of special envoys and look forward to going through these changes in detail.”
The Secretary’s letter includes nine (9) special envoy, special representative, special advisor, coordinator, and related positions that will be removed or retired:
The Special Envoy for the Six-Party Talks position will be removed, as the talks ceased in 2008. One position and $224,000 in support costs will be realigned within the Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs (EAP).
The Transparency Coordinator position will be removed. Legacy or future responsibilities will be addressed by the Under Secretary for Management (M). Three positions and $165,000 in support costs within the D&CP will be reprogrammed from the Office of the Secretary to the Under Secretary for Management (M).
The Special Advisor for Global Youth Issues position will be removed. The portfolio of helping the U.S. Government engage young people internationally falls within the scope of the Under Secretary of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs (R). There is no support cost for this position.
The Special Envoy for the Colombian Peace Process position will be removed and the functions assumed by the Western Hemisphere Affairs Bureau (WHA). There is no position established for this special envoy, and $5,000 in support costs within D&CP will be reprogrammed from the Office of the Secretary to the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs (WHA).
The Personal Representative for Northern Ireland Issues position will be retired. The 1998 Good Friday Agreement has been implemented with a devolved national assembly in Belfast now in place. Legacy and future responsibilities will be assigned to the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs (EUR). This will involve realigning $50,000 in support costs within the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs (EUR).
The Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review Special Representative position will be removed. The State Department is undergoing an updated review process under the Presidential Executive Order on reorganizing the executive branch. This will involve realigning 8 positions and $1,247,000 in support costs within D&CP from the Office of the Secretary to the Under Secretary for Management (M).
The U.S. Special Envoy for the Closure of Guantanamo Detention Facility position will be removed. Any legacy and future responsibilities will be assigned to the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs (WHA). This will involve realigning 9 positions and $637,000 in support costs within D&CP from the Office of the Secretary to Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs (WHA).
The Special Adviser for Secretary Initiatives position will be removed. There is no staff currently authorized for this position. This will involve reprogramming $43,000 in support costs.
The Senior Advisor to the Secretary position will be removed. This will involve reprogramming 4 positions and $350,000 in support costs from the Office of the Secretary to Secretary’s Policy Planning Staff (S/P).
Here are some of the titles that will be removed and the functions performed by the appropriate bureaus:
Special Coordinator for Haiti| The Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs (WHA) will retain the functions and staff of the Special Coordinator for Haiti. The title will be removed and 9 positions and $656,000 in support costs will remain in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs (WHA).
U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change. Functions include engaging partners and allies around the world on climate change issues. This will involve realigning 7 positions and $761,000 in support costs within D&CP from the Office of the Secretary to the Bureau of Oceans and International and Scientific Affairs (OES).
U.S. Special Representative for the Arctic Region. Functions include advancing U.S. interests in the Arctic. This will involve realigning 5 positions and $438,000 in support costs within D&CP from the Office of the Secretary to the Bureau of Oceans and International and Scientific Affairs (OES).
Special Coordinator for Libya and Senior Advisor for MEK Resettlement (SCL) | The Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA) will assign the functions of the Special Coordinator for Libya and Senior Advisor for MEK Resettlement (SCL) to a deputy assistant secretary. The title will be removed and 2 positions and $379,000 in support costs will remain in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA).
U.S. Special Envoy for Syria | The Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA) will retain the functions of the U.S. Special Envoy for Syria. The title will be removed and the functions continue to be performed by a deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA). The title will be removed and 2 positions and $379,000 in support costs will remain in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA).
U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan | The Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs (SCA) will assume the functions and staff of the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and coordinate across the government to meet U.S. strategic goals in the region. This will involve removing the title and sustaining the realignment of 9 positions and $1,985,000 in support costs within D&CP from the Office of the Secretary to the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs (SCA). Given the Administration’s recent South Asia policy announcement, the Secretary will consider options regarding diplomatic responsibilities in the region as needed.
Lead Coordinator for Iran Nuclear Implementation | The Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation (ISN) will assume functions and staff of the Lead Coordinator for Iran Nuclear Implementation, including ensuring that the nuclear steps to which Iran committed in the JCPOA are fully implemented and verified. This will involve removing the title and realigning 5 positions and $1,208,000 in support costs from the Office of the Secretary to the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation (ISN).
Coordinator for Cyber Issues (CCI). Functions encompass advancing the full range of U.S. interests in cyberspace including security, economic issues, freedom of expression, and free flow of information on the internet. This will involve realigning 23 positions and $5,497,000 in support costs from the Office of the Secretary to the Bureau of Economic & Business Affairs (EB).
Read the full list here: Tillerson-Corker-Letter via Politico.
Posted: 2:01 am ET
Updated: 1:51 pm PT for clarity and a new hashtag
Updated: August 5, 10:17 am PT
Updated: 12:07 pm PT
Update: August 5, 10:17 am PT: The FLO website now has a new August 4 update that says: “The Secretary approved an exemption to the hiring freeze that will allow the Department to fill a number of priority EFM positions that are currently vacant. This exemption gives posts authority to fill critical vacancies supporting security, safety and health responsibilities.” This update has no time stamp but must have come out late on August 4.
We understand that this change relates to CLO coordinator positions at Community Liaison Offices. Embassies (USG has 170 of them) and some Consulates General have one CLO, or have two individuals sharing the position as co-CLOs. We believed that a certain number of CLO positions, not all, were made vacant in the winter and the current rotation cycle of personnel. What we don’t know yet is if Tillerson’s exemption is specific to CLO vacancies only, and if that’s the case, how many positions are actually affected.” End update.
Update: 12:07 pm PT: We’re hearing some other EFM exemptions including consular positions are also being approved but we don’t have clarity on all exempted positions or how many. End Update.
According to the FLO website, the Department of State’s current hiring freeze guidance “remains in effect, including with respect to hiring under a Family Member Appointment (FMA) or Temporary Appointment.”
It also says that Eligible Family Members may continue to apply for any advertised position for which they feel they are qualified and the hiring preference will be applied during the process. However, Appointment Eligible Family Members (AEFM) cannot be offered a position at this time due to the freeze on FMA and temporary appointments.
The stats below is from April 2017. It indicates that 6% or 743 EFMs are pending due the clearance process or the hiring freeze. Even if the security clearance process is done, now that the hiring freeze remains in place, is anyone going anywhere? Of EFMs in South Central Asia, 10% are pending, the highest percentage in the geographic bureaus (SCA includes posts like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India). In terms of actual numbers, EUR and WHA have much larger family member population, and they are at 6% and 5% respectively.
Since the 6% will not be able to work unless the freeze is lifted by Secretary Tillerson or the EFMs are issued waivers, the “Not Employed” Foreign Service family members below is not 56% (6,695) but actually 62% (7,438).
Posted: 1:30 am ET
On July 20, President Trump announced his intent to nominate A. Wess Mitchell to be the Assistant Secretary of State for the European and Eurasian Affairs. The WH released a brief bio:
A. Wess Mitchell of Virginia to be an Assistant Secretary of State, European and Eurasian Affairs. Mr. Mitchell is an expert on NATO and transatlantic relations. In 2005 he co-founded the Center for European Policy Analysis and has served as its President and CEO since 2009. He serves on numerous policy boards in the United States and Europe. Mr. Mitchell earned a B.A. from Texas Tech University, a M.A. from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and recently completed his Ph.D. at Freie Universität, in Berlin, Germany. He speaks German and has studied Dutch and Czech.
Posted: 3:03 am ET
Diplomatic Security’s 2015 Political Violence Against Americans publication notes that attacks involving U.S. citizens or interests occurred predominantly in the Near East (NEA), South Central Asia (SCA), and Africa (AF).
Some of the significant attacks against U.S.diplomatic facilities and personnel in 2015 occurred in Dhaka, Bangladesh (protesters threw flammable liquid at a U.S. Embassy vehicle); Dili, Timor-Leste (a hand grenade was thrown over the wall of a U.S. Embassy residential property); Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (a U.S. Embassy vehicle transporting two U.S. congressional staffers to their hotel was hit by pedestrians throwing rocks); Sana’a, Yemen (a mortar or rocket round exploded on the road in front of the U.S. Embassy and Houthi rebels opened fire on two U.S. Embassy Quick Reaction Force (QRF) vehicles dispatched to assist locally employed embassy staffers detained at a rebel checkpoint); Erbil, Iraq (a vehicle laden with explosives detonated outside the U.S. Consulate General, killing two Turkish nationals and injuring 11 others, including a U.S. citizen); and Bangui, Central African Republic (an individual opened fire on a U.S. Embassy two-vehicle motorcade transporting eight passengers to the airport).
The FY2018 budget request proposed to cut funding deepest in the geographic areas that are most volatile and dangerous: NEA -$45.1M; SCA -$43.7M; AF – $32.7M; EUR -$24.3M; EAP -$12.6M; WHA -$12.6M.
The Bureau of African Affairs (AF) promotes the Administration’s foreign policy priorities in 49 countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) through 44 U.S. embassies, four constituent posts, and the U.S. Mission to the African Union. AF addresses key foreign policy initiatives and development challenges across Africa by focusing on five overarching policy priorities to: 1) advance peace and security; 2) strengthen democratic institutions and protect human rights; 3) spur economic growth through two-way trade and investment; 4) promote development including better health; and 5) advance diplomatic effectiveness through appropriate staffing and facilities.
In support of U.S. national security interests, AF has provided significant assistance to ensure that the African Union could play a major role in mitigating continental peace and security challenges. AF also supports the African Union’s ability to act as a standard bearer for democracy and human rights, the rule of law, and economic prosperity. AF also strongly supports African efforts to counter terrorism in the Sahel and West/Central Africa, Somalia and wider East Africa, and the Lake Chad Basin region. Finally, the Bureau and other State Department entities are working with counterparts throughout sub-Saharan Africa to provide humanitarian assistance to drought-stricken populations in the Horn of Africa; aid refugee populations; curtail trafficking of people, drugs, and arms; and facilitate the path towards an AIDS-free generation.
The Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs (EAP) advances vital U.S. national interests in the Asia Pacific region. Home to some of the world’s fastest-growing economies, the emerging engagement occurring between the United States and nations in the Asia Pacific region reaffirms that America’s future security and prosperity will be shaped by developments in the region. EAP is comprised of 43 embassies, consulates, and American Presence Posts located in 24 countries from Mongolia to New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. EAP has 861 foreign and civil service positions in overseas posts and domestic offices. The Bureau also provides support to the American Institute in Taiwan, a non-governmental organization that represents U.S. interests in Taiwan.
EAP leadership and diplomats reinforce rules-based order in the region by building an international commitment to defeat ISIS. EAP works to promote cooperation on transnational threats such as cyberspace and health pandemics, as well as threats from state actors, such as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and defending freedom of navigation in the region’s maritime spaces, including in the South China Sea.
To support American prosperity and security, the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs’ (EUR) strategic objective over multiple administrations has been to support a Europe “whole, free, and at peace.” The bureau’s range of tools includes the 50 EUR missions and important multilateral platforms including the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the European Union (EU), and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). European nations are the United States’ most capable and globally engaged partners and can be force multipliers. Maintaining these alliances and partnerships is vital to U.S. defense and to our ability to enhance international stability, counter Russian aggression and subversion, and confront complex global challenges, such as proliferation, terrorist threats, and combatting organized crime and violent ideologies.
The total FY 2018 EUR Enduring Request is $470.6 million, a -$24.3 million decrease to the FY 2017 estimate, including $1.1 million in OCO. With these resources, and in conjunction with foreign assistance resources allocated to the region, EUR will continue to work to achieve the full range of State Department priorities, and seek to generate greater operating efficiencies and cost containment initiatives.
Through 25 embassies and consulates, stretching from Morocco to Iran, the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA) promotes U.S. interests by combating terrorism and violent extremism, and leading the Global Coalition against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS); promoting the free flow of commerce; and preserving Israel’s security, working toward a comprehensive and lasting Middle East Peace between Israel and its neighbors. The region’s primary causes for volatility include: terrorist groups, including ISIS and al-Qa’eda, who have found safe havens that threaten U.S. interests and allies; Iran’s malign regional influence impends U.S. partners’ strategic security; and the ongoing Syrian civil war that exports instability and undermines the stability of its neighbors with humanitarian crises.
In order to defeat ISIS and stabilize liberated areas, Mission Iraq will vigorously engage with the Government of Iraq, international organizations, regional neighbors, economic partners, and the Iraqi people to support improvements in governance, economic development, Iraq’s regional relations, and to maintain a strong enduring partnership with Iraq under the Strategic Framework Agreement. Mission Iraq’s 5,500 personnel working at Embassy Baghdad, the Baghdad Diplomatic Support Center (BDSC), Consulate General Basrah, and Consulate General Erbil are essential to pursuing the above-stated goals.
The FY 2018 Request is $413.3 million ($175 million Enduring and $238.3 million OCO), a -$45.1 million decrease below the FY 2017 estimate. The request strives to gain efficiencies via a more stringent management of travel, contract, and International Cooperative Administrative Support Services (ICASS) operations throughout the region. Additional efficiencies are being pursued through the review of programs/operations such as aviation assets and support, consulate operations, and financial support provided to outside entities by way of agreements.
The Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs (SCA) is responsible for promoting U.S. interests in one of the most populous and dynamic regions of the world. With a combined population of more than 1.5 billion people, the 13 countries that make up SCA are home to almost a quarter of the world’s population, including one-third of the world’s Muslims and 850 million persons under age 30, making continued engagement in South and Central Asia vital to U.S. national security and regional stability.
Department operations in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and across South and Central Asia remain critical to ensuring the security and prosperity of the United States. On the security front, the efforts of the U.S. and bilateral and regional partners have combated multiple terrorist threats. Continued programs to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and deter nuclear proliferation in the region will continue to improve security for the homeland and U.S. global partners.
SCA’s request will also support two major regional initiatives: the New Silk Road (NSR) focused on Afghanistan and its neighbors, and the Indo-Pacific Economic Corridor linking South Asia with Southeast Asia.
The Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs (WHA) is comprised of 52 Embassies and Consulates encompassing Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. WHA’s primary goals include helping to shut down illicit pathways to the United States to prevent illegal immigration, drug and human trafficking, and acts of terrorism. The bureau will continue to work with partner governments and civil society in support of democratic values and human rights. WHA will support bilateral trade agreements that respect U.S. national sovereignty and promote U.S. investment and jobs. WHA will use all possible sources of leverage to encourage other countries to open markets to U.S. exports of goods and services, to provide adequate and effective enforcement of intellectual property rights. The Department seeks to expand security, prosperity, and democracy in the Hemisphere through partnerships that benefit the United States and its strategic national security partners.
The WHA FY 2018 Request is $256.2 million, a -$12.6 million reduction to the FY 2017 Estimate. WHA will implement contractual services reductions in order to absorb the reduction.
The Bureau of International Organization Affairs (IO) and its seven diplomatic missions play a central role in U.S. efforts to advance national security through the multilateral system, including the United Nations (UN). IO works through organizations that offer opportunities to achieve multi-national solutions to complex global issues.
U.S. multilateral engagement is an important component of a robust U.S. foreign policy, and particularly in promoting U.S. priorities through transnational action. International organizations comprise a global architecture that can extend U.S. influence at a reduced cost to the American taxpayer over bilateral or unilateral actions.
The UN system, in particular, has principal convening power for multilateral action within its main bodies, funds and programs, and specialized agencies. Through the UN system, the United States can take internationally-recognized action on issues affecting U.S. citizens that may not be resolved elsewhere, including aviation safety and security, public health, internet governance, and global postal services. IO’s multilateral engagement extends beyond the UN system to buttress multi-national resolutions outside the UN’s walls.