On October 23, Secretary Pompeo appointed Career Ambassador Daniel Smith as the new Director of the Foreign Service Institute. He was recently the Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research (INR). This past summer, he was one of four career diplomats nominated by Trump and subsequently confirmed by the U.S. Senate for the personal rank of Career Ambassador. This FSI appointment does not require a Senate confirmation.
In the waning days of Tillerson’s Redesign Project, Ambassador Smith was also assigned as the lead of the “Impact Initiative.” He was widely rumored as the next Director General of the Foreign Service but in late July, the WH announced the president’s intent to nominate career diplomat Carol Z. Perez of Virginia, to be the next Director General of the Foreign Service.
Below is a brief bio of Ambassador Smith (via state.gov):
Daniel B. Smith was appointed as Director of the Foreign Service Institute on October 23, 2018. In this capacity, he serves as the Chief Learning Officer for the Department of State and the federal foreign affairs community.
A member of the Senior Foreign Service, Ambassador Smith holds the Department’s highest diplomatic rank of Career Ambassador. Ambassador Smith served most recently as Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research from 2013 to 2018 and as Ambassador to the Hellenic Republic from 2010 to 2013. Previously, he served as Executive Secretary of the State Department, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs, and Deputy Executive Secretary. In addition to Greece, his overseas service includes tours in Bern, Istanbul, Ottawa, and Stockholm. He also taught Political Science at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Ambassador Smith is a recipient of the Arnold L. Raphel Memorial Award, the Secretary’s Distinguished Service Award, a Presidential Distinguished Service Award, and several Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards.
Ambassador Smith received his Ph.D. and M.A. from Stanford University, and his B.A. from the University of Colorado at Boulder. His foreign languages are German, Turkish, and Swedish.
As of this writing, the highest ranking officers of the Foreign Service with the exception of David Hale (P) are out of Foggy Bottom (Goldberg in Cuba, Sison in Haiti, and Smith at FSI). With one of only four Foreign Service’s equivalent to a four-star general heading to FSI, one wonders if Pompeo is out to elevate FSI and training to the same level as the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) headed by Army four-star Gen Stephen J. Townsend. If yes, that’s great. If not, then not so great because you know what that means.
For now, nothing in Ambassador’s Smith’s blogpost Up To the Task of Preparing Our Foreign Affairs Professionals indicate forthcoming changes in Foreign Service training.