Senate Confirmation Fight in the Horizon Once Again? Tick-Tock

 

The 70th Secretary of State is now publicly pushing to have his senior officials confirmed by the Senate. When the Senators returns from their election break, they have less than 20 working days left for the year.  And it looks like judicial nominees are taking precedence. Tick-Tock.

Hey, just a few years ago, the 69th Secretary of State was looking to have his senior officials confirmed, too. And that was months before the mid-terms. One of the nominees, Cassandra Q. Butts even spent 835 days after she was nominated waiting for Senate confirmation; she died waiting. GOP Senators put a hold on the nomination unrelated to her qualification.

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Senate Confirms @StateDept Officials and Ambassadors Before Leaving Town #MoreStillWaiting

 

The U.S. Senate adjourned on Thursday, October 11, to reconvene on November 13. Before leaving town, it confirmed three assistant secretaries for the State Department (WHA, CSO, H), four ambassadors (all career diplomats), and one ambassador at large. In late September, the Senate also confirmed two nominees for the United Nations.

The list below includes ten other nominees who already had their confirmation hearings and are pending on the Executive Calendar. There is no schedule for a full Senate vote for them at this time, although that could still happen after the Senate reconvenes next month.

Note that there are only 19 work days left for the year in the Senate’s tentative schedule (PDF). There are approximately 60 nominees pending in the Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) and “currently undergoing committee consideration” as of October 14, 2018;  at least three have been nominated in 2017 and renominated in January 2018. Tick-tock.

STATE DEPARTMENT

2018-10-11 PN1708 Department of State | Kimberly Breier, of Virginia, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Western Hemisphere Affairs)

2018-10-11 PN2030 Department of State | Denise Natali, of New Jersey, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Conflict and Stabilization Operations)

2018-10-11 PN2386 Department of State | Mary Elizabeth Taylor, of the District of Columbia, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Legislative Affairs).

 

AMBASSADORS

2018-10-11 PN2239 SURINAME | Karen L. Williams, of Missouri, 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 Suriname.

2018-10-11 PN2267 NICARAGUA |Kevin K. Sullivan, of Ohio, 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 Nicaragua.

2018-10-11 PN2278 SOMALIA | Donald Y. Yamamoto, of Washington, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Career Minister, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Federal Republic of Somalia.

2018-10-11 PN2324  BANGLADESH | Earl Robert Miller, of Michigan, 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 People’s Republic of Bangladesh.

 

AMBASSADOR AT LARGE

2018-10-11 PN2236 Department of State | John Cotton Richmond, of Virginia, to be Director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking, with the rank of Ambassador at Large.

 

UNITED NATIONS

2018-09-24 PN1448 United Nations | Jackie Wolcott, of Virginia, to be Representative of the United States of America to the Vienna Office of the United Nations, with the rank of Ambassador.

2018-09-12 PN2019 Department of State | Cherith Norman Chalet, of New Jersey, to be Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations for U.N. Management and Reform, with the rank of Ambassador.

2018-09-12 PN2020 Department of State | Cherith Norman Chalet, of New Jersey, to be an Alternate Representative of the United States of America to the Sessions of the General Assembly of the United Nations, during her tenure of service as Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations for U.N. Management and Reform.

 

PENDING NOMINATIONS ON THE EXECUTIVE CALENDAR

2018-05-22  PN1280 Joseph E. Macmanus, of New York, 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 Colombia.

2018-06-26 PN1768 Kenneth S. George, of Texas, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Oriental Republic of Uruguay.

2018-06-26 PN1762 Stephen Akard, of Indiana, to be Director of the Office of Foreign Missions, with the rank of Ambassador.

2018-07-26 PN1638  Joseph Cella, of Michigan, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Fiji, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Kiribati, the Republic of Nauru, the Kingdom of Tonga, and Tuvalu.

2018-07-31 PN2140 Ellen E. McCarthy, of Virginia, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Intelligence and Research).

2018-08-22 PN2022 Donald R. Tapia, of Arizona, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Jamaica.

2018-09-18 PN2206 Lynda Blanchard, of Alabama, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Slovenia.

2018-09-18 PN2237  Daniel N. Rosenblum, of Maryland, a Career Member of the Senior Executive Service, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Uzbekistan

2018-09-18 PN2277 Kip Tom, of Indiana, for the rank of Ambassador during his tenure of service as U.S. Representative to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture.

2018-09-26 PN2235 Francisco Luis Palmieri, of Connecticut, 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 Honduras.

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Confirmations: David Hale as “P”, Ambassadors, and Foreign Service Lists

The U.S. Senate confirmed the following State Department nominations recently. Click on the links to view the names included in the Foreign Service lists (State, USAID, Commerce).

STATE DEPARTMENT

2018-08-28 PN2276 Department of State | David Hale, of New Jersey, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Career Minister, to be an Under Secretary of State (Political Affairs).

AMBASSADORS

2018-09-06 PN1942 NepalRandy W. Berry, of Colorado, 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 Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal.

2018-09-06 PN2028 Kyrgyz Republic | Donald Lu, of California, 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 Kyrgyz Republic.

2018-09-06 PN2031 Sri Lanka/Maldives | Alaina B. Teplitz, of Colorado, 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 Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Maldives.

2018-09-06 PN2172 Democratic Republic of the Congo | Michael A. Hammer, of Maryland, 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 Democratic Republic of the Congo.

2018-09-06 PN2208 Moldova | Dereck J. Hogan, of Virginia, 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 Moldova.

2018-09-06 PN2234 Kosovo | Philip S. Kosnett, of Virginia, 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 Kosovo.

2018-09-06 PN2238 Ghana | Stephanie Sanders Sullivan, of Maryland, 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 Ghana.

2018-09-06 PN2349 Montenegro | Judy Rising Reinke, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Career Minister, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Montenegro.

FOREIGN SERVICE LISTS

2018-09-06 PN2371 Foreign Service Nominations beginning Ami J. Abou-Bakr, and ending Emily Yu, which 71 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on July 31, 2018.

2018-09-06 PN2132 Foreign Service Nomination for Jason Alexander, which nomination was received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on June 11, 2018.

2018-09-06 PN1743 Foreign Service Nominations beginning Michael Calvert, and ending Marvin Smith, which 27 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on March 12, 2018.

2018-09-06 PN1800-1 Foreign Service | Nominations beginning Polly Catherine Dunford-Zahar, and ending William M. Patterson, which 12 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on April 9, 2018.

2018-09-06 PN1800-2 Foreign Service Nomination for Tanya S. Urquieta, which nomination was received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on April 9, 2018.

2018-09-06 PN1801-1 Foreign Service Nominations beginning Sandillo Banerjee, and ending Robert Peaslee, which 4 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on April 9, 2018.

2018-09-06 PN1802-1 Foreign Service Nomination for Peter A. Malnak, which nomination was received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on April 9, 2018.

2018-09-06 PN1802-2 Foreign Service Nomination for Maureen A. Shauket, which nomination was received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on April 9, 2018.

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Senate on Recess, See Pending @StateDept Nominations (as of August 4, 2018)

Posted: 4:40 pm PT

 

The U.S. Senate went on its summer recess on Wednesday, August 1. The senators will not be back until August 15. Nominees hoping the Senate would make a slew of confirmation before they head home for their break must be disappointed. Roll Call reports that the Senate will hold brief pro forma sessions only until Wednesday, Aug. 15. These sessions are not designed to include legislative business but will prevent President Trump from making recess appointments.

Even after the Senate returns to work in a couple of weeks, their tentative schedule does not leave a lot of time before the senators head home again to campaign. While some of these nominations will presumably get through the full Senate before November, we suspect that some will likely die in committee given the length of time they’ve been sitting there with no action.

Below is a run down of one confirmation we’ve missed (Poland), the nominations currently pending in the Executive Calendar (cleared by the SRFC/SSCI but awaiting their final vote in the Senate), and the nominations pending (some appears stuck) in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as of August 4, 2018.

CONFIRMATIONS

2018-07-12 PN1640  | Georgette Mosbacher, of Florida, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Poland.

PENDING ON THE EXECUTIVE CALENDAR

PN1708 | Kimberly Breier, of Virginia, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Western Hemisphere Affairs)

PN2030 Denise Natali, of New Jersey, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Conflict and Stabilization Operations).

PN2140 | Ellen E. McCarthy, of Virginia, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Intelligence and Research)

PN1768Kenneth S. George, of Texas, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Oriental Republic of Uruguay.

PN1942 | Randy W. Berry, of Colorado, 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 Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal.

PN2028 | Donald Lu, of California, 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 Kyrgyz Republic.

PN2031 | Alaina B. Teplitz, of Colorado, 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 Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Maldives.

PN1638 | Joseph Cella, of Michigan, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Fiji, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Kiribati, the Republic of Nauru, the Kingdom of Tonga, and Tuvalu.

PN1762 | Stephen Akard, of Indiana, to be Director of the Office of Foreign Missions, with the rank of Ambassador.

PN1447 | Jackie Wolcott, of Virginia, to be Representative of the United States of America to the International Atomic Energy Agency, with the rank of Ambassador.

PN1448 | Jackie Wolcott, of Virginia, to be Representative of the United States of America to the Vienna Office of the United Nations, with the rank of Ambassador.

PN2019 | Cherith Norman Chalet, of New Jersey, to be Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations for U.N. Management and Reform, with the rank of Ambassador.

PN2020 | Cherith Norman Chalet, of New Jersey, to be an Alternate Representative of the United States of America to the Sessions of the General Assembly of the United Nations, during her tenure of service as Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations for U.N. Management and Reform.

PN2319 | Nominations beginning Philip S. Goldberg, and ending Daniel Bennett Smith, which 4 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on July 18, 2018.

PN2132 | Nomination for Jason Alexander, which nomination was received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on June 11, 2018.

PN1802-2 | Nomination for Maureen A. Shauket, which nomination was received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on April 9, 2018.

PN1802-1 | Nomination for Peter A. Malnak, which nomination was received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on April 9, 2018.

PN1801-1 | Nominations beginning Sandillo Banerjee, and ending Robert Peaslee, which 4 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on April 9, 2018.

PN1800-2 | Nomination for Tanya S. Urquieta, which nomination was received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on April 9, 2018.

PN1800-1 | Nominations beginning Polly Catherine Dunford-Zahar, and ending William M. Patterson, which 12 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on April 9, 2018.

PN1800-1 | Nominations beginning Polly Catherine Dunford-Zahar, and ending William M. Patterson, which 12 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on April 9, 2018.

PN1743 | Nominations beginning Michael Calvert, and ending Marvin Smith, which 27 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on March 12, 2018.

PENDING IN COMMITTEE

STATE DEPARTMENT

2018-07-18 PN2276 |  David Hale, of New Jersey, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Career Minister, to be an Under Secretary of State (Political Affairs).

2018-06-18 PN2139 | Brian J. Bulatao, of Texas, to be an Under Secretary of State (Management).

2018-07-09 PN2236 | John Cotton Richmond, of Virginia, to be Director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking, with the rank of Ambassador at Large.

2018-07-09 PN2232 | R. Clarke Cooper, of Florida, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Political-Military Affairs). Note: Aug 1 WaPo report notes that Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) informed R. Clarke Cooper, who is nominated as the next assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, that he would be objecting to his confirmation until the administration reverses its policy. Cooper would have authority over the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, the government office that reached a settlement with Defense Distributed that would have allowed it to post the blueprints.

2018-06-25 PN2207 | Robert A. Destro, of Virginia, to be Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.

2018-05-24 PN2029 | Ronald Mortensen, of Utah, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Population, Refugees, and Migration).

2018-04-09 PN1769 | David Schenker, of New Jersey, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Near Eastern Affairs).

2018-01-08 PN1386 | Susan A. Thornton, of Maine, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (East Asian and Pacific Affairs). (Note: Nominee retired as of June 30, 2018)

AMBASSADOR NOMINEES

2018-07-31 PN2351 | Adrian Zuckerman, of New Jersey, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Romania.

2018-07-31 PN2350 | Lucy Tamlyn, of New York, 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 Central African Republic.

2018-07-31 PN2349 | Judy Rising Reinke, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Career Minister, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Montenegro.

2018-07-23 PN2324 | Earl Robert Miller, of Michigan, 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 People’s Republic of Bangladesh.

2018-07-18 PN2278 | Donald Y. Yamamoto, of Washington, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Career Minister, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Federal Republic of Somalia.

2018-07-17 PN2267 | Kevin K. Sullivan, of Ohio, 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 Nicaragua.

2018-07-09 PN2239 | Karen L. Williams, of Missouri, 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 Suriname.

2018-07-09 PN2238 | Stephanie Sanders Sullivan, of Maryland, 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 Ghana.

2018-07-09 PN2237 | Daniel N. Rosenblum, of Maryland, a Career Member of the Senior Executive Service, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Uzbekistan.

2018-07-09 PN2235 | Francisco Luis Palmieri, of Connecticut, 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 Honduras.

2018-07-09 PN2234 | Philip S. Kosnett, of Virginia, 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 Kosovo.

2018-07-09 PN2233 | Kathleen Ann Kavalec, of California, 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 Albania.

2018-06-25 PN2208 | Dereck J. Hogan, of Virginia, 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 Moldova.

2018-06-25 PN2206 |  Lynda Blanchard, of Alabama, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Slovenia.

2018-06-20 PN2172 | Michael A. Hammer, of Maryland, 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 Democratic Republic of the Congo.

2018-05-24 PN2032 | Christine J. Toretti, of Pennsylvania, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Malta.

2018-05-21 PN2022 | Donald R. Tapia, of Arizona, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Jamaica.

2018-05-21 PN2021 | John Rakolta, Jr., of Michigan, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the United Arab Emirates.

2018-05-10 PN1943 | Kyle McCarter, of Illinois, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Kenya.

2018-01-08 PN1384 | Doug Manchester, of California, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

2018-01-08 PN1379 | Leandro Rizzuto, of New Jersey, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Barbados, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

2018-01-08 PN1376 | Andrew M. Gellert, of New Jersey, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Chile.

2017-12-01 PN1290 | David T. Fischer, of Michigan, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Morocco.

INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

2018-07-18 PN2277  | UNFAO – Kip Tom, of Indiana, for the rank of Ambassador during his tenure of service as U.S. Representative to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture.

2018-04-12 PN1824 International Monetary Fund | Mark Rosen, of Connecticut, to be United States Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund for a term of two years.

USAID

2018-06-28 PN2223 | Michael T. Harvey, of Texas, to be an Assistant Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development.

2018-06-20 PN2178 | Mark Montgomery, of Virginia, to be an Assistant Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development.

2018-04-12 PN1823 | Bonnie Glick, of Maryland, to be Deputy Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development.

FS LISTS

2018-07-31 PN2371 Foreign Service | Nominations beginning Ami J. Abou-Bakr, and ending Emily Yu, which 71 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on July 31, 2018.

2018-07-31 PN2370 Foreign Service | Nominations beginning James Robert Adams, and ending Christopher M. Zveare, which 171 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on July 31, 2018.

2018-07-31 PN2369 Foreign Service | Nomination for Daniel Mark Smolka, which nomination was received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on July 31, 2018.

2018-06-11 PN2131 Foreign Service | Nominations beginning Michael Ashkouri, and ending Omar Robles, which 5 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on June 11, 2018.

2018-04-09 PN1801-2 Foreign Service | Nomination for Dao Le, which nomination was received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on April 9, 2018.

2018-03-12 PN1744-4 Foreign Service | Nominations beginning Keisha L. Effiom, and ending Robin Sharma, which 2 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on March 12, 2018.

Broadcasting Board of Governors

2018-06-04 PN2052  | Michael Pack, of Maryland, to be Chief Executive Officer of the Broadcasting Board of Governors for the term of three years.

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Opposition For Trump’s Nominee as @StateDept’s Refugee Chief Gets Louder

Posted: 2:26 pm PT

 

On May 24, the White House announced the nomination of former FSO Ronald Mortensen to be the Assistant Secretary of State for the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM).

The WH released a brief bio:

Dr. Mortensen is a retired Foreign Service Officer.  For the past 15 years, he has worked with the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA).  Dr. Mortensen served at U.S. diplomatic missions in France, Australia, Canada, Gabon, Mauritania and Chad.  He has worked on humanitarian responses that saved lives and alleviated the suffering of millions of people in Iraq, Syria, Mali, Libya, Haiti, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Pakistan, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and many other countries in West Africa.  Most recently, Dr. Mortensen served as Disaster Assistance Response Team leader in Iraq.  Dr. Mortensen is the recipient of numerous Department of State (State) and USAID awards including the Una Chapman Cox Fellowship.  He is a Vietnam era, Air Force veteran.  Dr. Mortensen earned two B.S. degrees and a Ph.D. from the University of Utah and an M.A. from the University of Oklahoma.  He speaks French.

According to the brief bio released, Mr. Mortensen is a retired Foreign Service Officer who also did work for USAID/OFDA.  A source told us he was an FSO from 1977 to 1996. The Una Chapman website confirms that he was one of the two recipients of the Una Chapman Cox Sabbatical Leave Fellowship in 1991. This fellowship is available to Foreign Service employees (Generalists and Specialists), for Grade FS-01 and FS-02 in any career track. There is speculation that he was on the administrative career track given the work that he did for USAID following his retirement from the Foreign Service. Click here for more of that from Jeremy Konyndyk who led USAID’s  Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance from 2013 to 2017.

In September 2017, the State Department’s blog, DipNote reblogged a USAID post highlighting “a few of the amazing humanitarians who are this year’s winners of the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal in the category of National Security and International Affairs.” The blogpost includes Mr. Mortensen who it says “served as the DART Leader in Iraq five times over the past two-and-a-half years.”  USAID’s original post is here: And the Oscar for Public Service goes to…USAID!

The Utah Standard News where Mr. Mortensen is described as “an earlier supporter and long-time columnist” has a more detailed background and links to the nominee’s position as a “a staunch advocate against illegal immigration.

The Mortensen nomination was submitted  to the Senate on May 24 and is still pending in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as of this writing.  We do not expect this administration known for doubling down on controversial issues to withdraw this controversial nomination. Even if this nomination manages to make it through the SFRC, where the split is 11 v. 10, it may end up not going anywhere. The GOP currently has a slim Senate majority at GOP 51 v. 49 (Dems 47, Ind 2); one GOP senator (McCain) has already asked for the withdrawal of this nomination, and a second one (Flake) is on the record for not supporting this nominee.  That said, strange things are happening these days, so we can’t really say when a nomination is dead until it is dead. And even then, some nominations will presumably come back as zombies next January if the President renominates them.

BONUS CLIP:

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Senate Passes 98-0 Resolution Against Making Available Current/Ex-Diplomats For Russia Questioning

 

A follow-up to Trump-Putin Summit Fallout: POTUS Entertains Proposal For Russia to Question Ex-US Amb Mike McFaul. The Senate has just passed a 98-0 resolution against making available for Russian questioning  current or former diplomats as well as other officials of the United States Government. The White House has now released a statement about Putin’s proposal that the President of the United States purportedly disagreed with but had previously called “an incredible offer.”

See July 19 update below via VOA with Secretary Pompeo saying “It’s not going to happen,” then added that “”President Trump was very clear – we’re not gonna force Americans to go to Russia to be interrogated by the Russians.”  

The notion that this proposal was made in “sincerity” by President Putin, and that President Trump disagreed with it is actually laughable. Were that true, the Press Secretary could have said immediately that the president pushed back hard against that proposal. This White House must really think we’re all dumb as rocks.

This was a no brainer. Ambassador McFaul, and the other officials that Russia wanted to question may not have been employees of this president, but they were employees and representatives of the United States of America, not of the Democratic Party (despite what this president might think or believe). The fact that this was even offered as a proposal tells us just what Putin think of this President. And the fact this President Trump did not push back and even appeared to consider it is horrifying.

So instead, the Press Secretary announced from the podium that the president “would work with his team” — excuse me, to do what exactly? And now the Press Secretary is saying that while President Trump disagreed with Putin’s proposal, “hopefully President Putin will have the 12 identified Russians come to the United States to prove their innocence or guilt.”  That proposal was supposedly in exchange for the questioning of USG individuals. And now all they have left is “hoping” that Putin will go ahead with the proposal anyway?

Holy caramba! No wonder Putin is laughing his head off; he’s playing chess against our White House playing find the shortest toothpick.

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UPDATE:

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What did we miss?

 

Ambassador Steve Mull Back in Foggy Bottom

In June, former Ambassador Steve Mull was appointed Acting Under Secretary for Political Affairs (P) at the State Department. Until this appointment, he was a Resident Senior Fellow at Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy.  Props to Secretary Pompeo for bringing him back to Foggy Bottom. Unless.  a new crop of career ambassadors were nominated and confirmed while we were gone, Ambassador Mull is the last remaining career ambassador in active service as of this writing.

EAP’s Susan Thornton to Retire After 27 Years in the Foreign Service

EAP’s Acting Assistant Secretary Susan Thornton is set to retire at the end of July after a 27-year career with the U.S. Foreign Service. The retirement was reported by Reuters on June 30.  (see Career Diplomat Susan A. Thornton to be Asst Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (EAP)Tillerson Signals No Career Nominees For Regional Bureaus? #FoggyBottomBlues). Senator Rubio was reportedly prepared to place a hold on the Thornton nomination.

Still No Nominee for Director General of the Foreign Service?

So hey, it’s now July, and the U.S. Foreign Service still does not have a nominee for Director General. U.S. law dictates the nominee must be a member of the career Foreign Service.

US Ambassador to Estonia James Melville Pens Resignation on FB Over Trump Policies

On June 29, U.S. Ambassador to Estonia, Jim Melville, announced on Facebook his intent to retire from the Foreign Service after 33 years of public service. Ambassador James Desmond Melville, Jr., of New Jersey, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor was nominated by President Obama as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Estonia in the spring of 2015. He was  confirmed by voice vote on August 5, 2015. Prior to his appointment in Estonia, Ambassador Melville was the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, Germany.  Previous to that, he served as Executive Director of the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs and the Bureau of International Organization Affairs from 2010 to 2012. Ambassador Melville also served at the U.S. Embassies in London, Moscow, Paris, and at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Brussels.  His earlier positions with the Department of State include service as a Foreign Service Examiner, Senior Watch Officer in the Executive Secretariat Operations Center, and Legislative Management Officer in the Bureau of Legislative Affairs.  Ambassador Melville received a B.A. from Boston University and a J.D. from Rutgers University. He joined the Foreign Service in 1985 during the Reagan Administration. Below via Eesti Ekspress:

 

Confirmations

On June 28, the U.S. Senate confirmed the following nominees:

  • Robin S. Bernstein, of Florida, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Dominican Republic.
  • Joseph N. Mondello, of New York, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
  • Gordon D. Sondland, of Washington, to be Representative of the United States of America to the European Union, with the rank and status of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.
  • Harry B. Harris, Jr., of Florida, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Korea
  • Ronald Gidwitz, of Illinois, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Belgium
  • Brian A. Nichols, of Rhode Island, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Career Minister, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Zimbabwe
  • Tibor Peter Nagy, Jr., of Texas, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (African Affairs)
  • Francis R. Fannon, of Virginia, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Energy Resources)

On May 24, U.S. Senate confirmed the following :

  • James Randolph Evans, of Georgia, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Luxembourg
  • Jonathan R. Cohen, of California, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be the Deputy Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations, with the rank and status of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, and the Deputy Representative of the United States of America in the Security Council of the United Nations.
  • David B. Cornstein, of New York, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Hungary

On April 26, the U.S. Senate confirmed the following nominees:

  • Andrea L. Thompson, of South Dakota, to be Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security
  • Yleem D. S. Poblete, of Virginia, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Verification and Compliance)
  • Kirsten Dawn Madison, of Florida, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs).
  • Thomas J. Hushek, of Wisconsin, 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 South Sudan
  • Richard Grenell, of California, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Federal Republic of Germany.

 

US Embassy Germany: New Ambassador’s Rocky Start

On June 25, Politico Magazine did a lengthy piece on the new U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell and his rocky start. “It is hard to overstate just how brashly he has charged onto the Berlin political scene during his first month in town.” Read Letter From Berlin: “‘He Does Not Understand What the Role of an Ambassador Should Be’

 

State/FSI’s Digital Media Administrator Pleads Guilty of Child Pornography Production

On July 2, Skydance MacMahon, 44, of Alexandria, Virginia, pleaded guilty to production of child pornography. During the time he committed these offenses, MacMahon was a Digital Media Administrator at the Foreign Services Institute of the U.S. Department of State in Arlington.  According to court documents, over at least a two year period, MacMahon, 44, conspired with an adult in Canada to produce over a thousand sexually explicit images and videos of minor children in Canada. These images and videos were produced at the direction of MacMahon using Skype and hidden cameras. MacMahon distributed these image and video files to other users and consumers of child pornography by providing access to the files on his cloud storage services and also by directly sending the files to other users.  In addition to the child pornography images and videos MacMahon himself created, he also received and possessed thousands of images and videos of child pornography. See more State Department Employee Pleads Guilty to Producing Child Pornography.

US Embassy London’s Inside the American Embassy Airs on Channel 4

The American Embassy, the previous TV series set at the U.S. Embassy in London in 2002 had six episodes but the show was canceled by Fox after only 4 episodes being broadcast.

It looks like the new show is only up for three episodes. Radio Times reports that Channel 4 has roughly 300 hours of behind-the-scenes footage and says in part: “Perhaps the most surreal part of the documentary comes when the cameras follow various British MPs attempting to garner Johnson’s attention, apparently unaware of the small mic attached to the ambassador’s lapel.” Whatthewhat?!

One TV review says: “Woody’s big problem, like everybody else’s, is the mad badger in the White House”. HIDE EVERYTHING!

US Embassy Costa Rica Sub-Contractor Pleads Guilty to Theft of $2Million Visa Fees

On June 14, a Department of State contractor pleads guilty to theft of government funds after evidence established that he stole more than $2 million of government funds that were supposed to be transferred to a bank account maintained by the Department of State’s Global Financial Services Center in Charleston. Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that Mauricio Andulo Hidalgo, age 43, of Costa Rica used his position as President of SafetyPay-Central America to steal over $2,000,000 of government funds.  SafetyPay-Central America had been hired as a subcontractor to handle the processing of visa application fees for the United States Embassy in Costa Rica.  As part of the scheme, Hidalgo diverted the funds from a SafetyPay bank account in Costa Rica to another Costa Rican account under his sole control. See more Department of State Contractor Pleads Guilty to Theft of Government Funds.

 

USCG Guangzhou Security Engineering Officer Mark Lenzi Disputes State Department Statement on Mystery Illness

On June 6, WaPo wrote about Mark Lenzi and his family who  started noticing noises in April 2017 at the U.S. Consulate General in Guangzhou, China. “A few months later, the headaches started — pain that lasted for days at a time. Lenzi and his wife experienced the same symptoms, which soon included chronic sleeplessness as well. Lenzi says he asked his superiors for help but they dismissed his concerns. Consulate doctors prescribed painkillers and Ambien, which did nothing to address the underlying causes of the problem. And then, last month, Lenzi was shocked to learn another neighbor, a fellow Foreign Service officer, had been evacuated from their building and flown back to the United States for a thorough medical assessment, which soon determined that the person in question was suffering from “mild traumatic brain injury.”  

They gave him painkillers and Ambien but medevaced the FSO next door?

The State Department reportedly issued a statement but said it is unaware of any other cases — a point “strongly disputed by Lenzi, who insists he had repeatedly informed both the embassy in Beijing and State Department headquarters in Washington of his family’s predicament.”  Lenzi, who has reportedly called for the resignation of the US Ambassador to Beijing  told WaPo that the State Department “restricted his access to the building where he normally worked after he began to speak up more forcefully about the treatment of his family, essentially neutralizing his capacity to continue his work at the consulate”.

We understand that Mark Lenzi is a specialist who was assigned as a Security Engineering Officer (SEO) in Guangzhou until he and his family were evacuated from post. Given the reported restriction to post access for speaking out about this incident, this is a case that bears watching.

State/ECA Official Pleads Guilty to Theft of Government Funds in Sports Visitors Program

On May 25,  Kelli R. Davis, 48, of Bowie, Maryland, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit theft of public funds and engage in honest services wire fraud before U.S. Senior District Judge T.S. Ellis III of the Eastern District of Virginia.  Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 24.

According to admissions made in connection with her plea, Davis was a Program Specialist for the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Office of Citizen Exchanges.  She also served as the Program Manager and Grants Officer Representative for the Sports Visitors Program, which sponsored foreign exchanges for emerging youth athletes and coaches from various countries.  The exchange program was managed by George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, through a federal grant and cooperative agreement with the State Department.  See State Department Official Pleads Guilty to Honest Services Wire Fraud and Theft of Federal Funds

Forced Repayment of Previously Approved Special Needs Education Allowance (SNEA)?

There were lots of talk some weeks back about people being forced to pay back special needs funding for their children that was already previously authorized and paid.  Folks were wondering if MED’s Office of Child and Family Programs (MED/CFP) previously highlighted by media reporting is responsible in getting this rolling. Anybody got some special insights on the whys and hows of this?

 

Who owns your medical and mental health records?

It has come to our attention that the State Department’s Medical Bureau can deny/restrict employees and family members overseas assignments over erroneous entries in their medical/mental health records. Of particular note is access to mental health records.  Employees can ask for an amendment to their records but how does one go about doing that without access to those records?

Apparently, State’s internal guidance doesn’t say that employees have the right to have inaccurate information removed – just that they can make the request to have it removed: “If you believe that the information we have about you is incorrect or incomplete, you may request an amendment to your protected health information as long as we maintain this information. While we will accept requests for amendment, we are not required to agree to the amendment.”

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Michael R. Pompeo Sworn-in as 70th Secretary of State

Posted: 10:38 pm  PT

 

AND NOW THIS —

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Confirmations: Grenell, Hushek, Thompson, Poblete, Madison, and 5 FS Lists

Posted: 10:35 pm  PT

 

DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Cal. #757 – Andrea L. Thompson, of South Dakota, to be Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security
Executive Calendar #621 – Yleem D. S. Poblete, of Virginia, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Verification and Compliance)
Executive Calendar #790 – Kirsten Dawn Madison, of Florida, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs)
FOREIGN SERVICE LISTS

2018-04-26 PN1436-2 Foreign Service | Nomination for Robert F. Grech, which nomination was received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on January 8, 2018.

2018-04-26 PN1634 Foreign Service | Nominations beginning Karen S. Sliter, and ending Elia P. Vanechanos, which 2 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on February 13, 2018.

2018-04-26 PN1742 Foreign Service | Nomination for Tuyvan Nguyen, which nomination was received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on March 12, 2018.

2018-04-26 PN1745 Foreign Service | Nomination for Abigail Marie Nguema, which nomination was received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on March 12, 2018.

2018-04-26 PN1744-1 Foreign Service | Nominations beginning Benjamin Thomas Ardell, and ending Alexander Zvinakis, which 106 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on March 12, 2018.

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Confirmations: Trujillo, Pence, Prado, Traina, Moley, Royce, and More

Posted: 12:04 am  ET

 

Late on March 22, the U.S. Senate confirmed the following executive nominations for the State Department, the Peace Corps, and a few other reps for international banks:

Exec. Cal. #616 Carlos Trujillo, of Florida, to be Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the Organization of American States
Exec. Cal. #752 – Robert Frank Pence, of Virginia, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Finland
Exec. Cal. #753 – Edward Charles Prado, of Texas, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Argentine Republic
Exec. Cal. #754 – Trevor D. Traina, of California, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Austria
Exec. Cal. #759 – Kevin Edward Moley, of Arizona, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (International Organization Affairs)

Exec. Cal. #761 – Marie Royce, of California, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Educational and Cultural Affairs)

Also confirmed:

PEACE CORPS
Exec. Cal. #760 – Josephine Olsen, of Maryland, to be Director of the Peace Corps

EUROPEAN BANK FOR RECONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT

Exec. Cal. #330 Steven T. Mnuchin – to be United States Governor of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, United States Governor of the African Development Fund, and United States Governor of the Asian Development Bank.

Exec. Cal. #756 – Judy Lynn Shelton, of Virginia, to be United States Director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND

Exec. Cal. #331 Steven T. Mnuchin – to be United States Governor of the International Monetary Fund, United States Governor of the African Development Bank, United States Governor of the Inter-American Development Bank, and United States Governor of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development for a term of five years.

INTERNATIONAL BANK FOR RECONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT

Exec. Cal. #755 – Erik Bethel, of Florida, to be United States Alternate Executive Director of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development for a term of two years

The nominee to be U.S. Ambassador to Germany is still stuck in confirmation purgatory:

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