Ambassador Patricia Mahoney: From Benin to the Central African Republic

 

 

President Biden announced his intent to nominate Ambassador Patricia Mahoney to be the next U.S. Ambassador to the Central African Republic. The WH released the following brief bio:

Patricia Mahoney, Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Central African Republic

Patricia Mahoney, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, currently serves as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Benin. Previously she was an Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs and the Office Director of the Office of Mainland Southeast Asia, also in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. Earlier, Mahoney was the Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Kampala, Uganda, and before that the Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal. Mahoney also served as Director for South Asia at the National Security Council. Mahoney earned her B.A. cum laude from Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts and her M.A. from the University of Hawaii.  She is a Distinguished Graduate of the National War College in Washington, D.C., receiving an M.S. degree in 2009.  Ms. Mahoney speaks French, Thai, Nepali and Lao.

If confirmed, Ambassador Mahoney would succeed career diplomat Lucy Tamlyn who was sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to the Central African Republic on January 11, 2019.

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State/OIG Questions $201.6M in AF’s Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership Spending

 

Via State/OIG:

“AF is not monitoring TSCTP contracts in accordance with Federal and Department requirements. Specifically, OIG found that contracting officer’s representatives (COR) had approved invoices for four contracts without adequate supporting documentation. In addition, they relied on Department of Defense (DoD) partners to monitor contractor performance; however, these DoD partners were not delegated authority to serve in this role, nor were they trained to be government technical monitors or alternate CORs. Furthermore, none of the six TSCTP contracts reviewed had the required monitoring plans, and five contracts were missing Government quality assurance surveillance plans; both plans are essential oversight tools. Lastly, AF was not ensuring that the assistance provided to the host countries was being used to build counterterrorism capacity. AF officials stated that the lack of clear guidance and limited staff contributed to these weaknesses. Because of these weaknesses, OIG considers the $201.6 million spent on these six contracts as potential wasteful spending due to mismanagement and inadequate oversight. OIG is specifically questioning almost $109 million because the invoices lacked supporting documentation. With respect to the grant and cooperative agreement reviewed, both had required monitoring plans included in the files.

OIG also found that AF is not effectively coordinating with stakeholders to execute a whole-of-government initiative. Although TSCTP partner agencies meet to formulate strategic priorities, the execution of activities among the partners in the host countries receiving assistance is insufficient. For example, U.S. Air Force officials said they were not consulted on the plans and construction of a C-130 aircraft hangar on a base that they share with the Nigerian military. Government officials stated that undefined roles and responsibilities, the lack of knowledge management, and staffing shortfalls hinder effective coordination.

The deficiencies identified in this audit have occurred, in part, because AF has not adequately attended to longstanding challenges with the execution of foreign assistance, including the TSCTP. AF officials acknowledged the lack of progress made to address these challenges but stated that the Department has not appropriately prioritized the bureau’s needs. Until these deficiencies are addressed, the Department will have limited assurance that TSCTP is achieving its goals of building counterterrorism capacity and addressing the underlying drivers of radicalization in West and North Africa.”