@StateDept Designates Ambassador Atul Keshap as Chargé d’Affaires For US Mission India

13 Going on 14 — GFM: https://gofund.me/32671a27

 

On June 29, 2021, the State Department announced the designation of Ambassador Atul Keshap as CDA for US Mission India:

Ambassador Atul Keshap, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, will be departing for New Delhi to serve as Chargé d’Affaires, ad interim, following the retirement of Ambassador Daniel Smith. Ambassador Keshap will bring a wealth of experience to the role, having served previously at U.S. Embassy New Delhi and as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia. He most recently served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs and as the U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives.

Ambassador Keshap’s appointment will reinforce the close U.S. partnership with the Government and people of India, demonstrated by our collaboration to overcome global challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic.

On April 30 this year, Ambassador Dan Smith who was then FSI Director  was appointed CDA for US Mission India (Ambassador Daniel Smith to be Chargé d’Affaires, ad interim at US Mission India). Apparently, he has now retired. There are rumors floating around that LA Mayor Eric Garcetti to set to be named  as Biden’s pick for his ambassador to India, but to-date no official announcement has been made. Unless an announcement, and confirmation hearing happens in the next four weeks, it is likely that whoever is the nominee will be stuck in the system while the Senate goes on its August break.
Note that the tentative Senate schedule indicates the recess commencing on August 7.  The Senate will not be back in session until September 13, and then after that, just some 48 more work days before 2021 ends.

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US Embassy Ottawa Announces Arrival of Chargé d’Affaires Arnold Chacon, in Self-Isolation Until 6/29

13 Going on 14 — GFM: https://gofund.me/32671a27

 

On May 28, the State Department announced the designation of Ambassador Arnold Chacon as Chargé d’Affaires at US Mission Canada (see Amb Arnie Chacon Heads to U.S. Mission Canada as Chargé d’Affaires (a.i); What’s going on at U.S. Mission Canada?).
On June 15, the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa announce the arrival of Chargé d’Affaires Arnold Chacon.

“I’m delighted that Secretary of State Blinken selected me to serve as Chargé d’Affaires in Canada and am honored to take on this important role working with the United States’ closest friend, partner, and ally.  We are active across Canada, not only at the Embassy in Ottawa, but also through our seven consulates that stretch from Vancouver to Halifax.  The U.S.-Canada relationship is a priority for the Biden-Harris Administration as we revitalize and strengthen our historic alliance and steadfast friendship. I am committed to continuing the exceptional work already being done by my colleagues and Canadian government officials under the Roadmap for a Renewed U.S.-Canada Partnership.  We will continue to make progress together in the key areas of trade, climate change, COVID-19 response and recovery, diversity, inclusion, and equity, and global and regional security issues,” said Chargé d’Affaires Chacon.

Chargé d’Affaires Chacon succeeds Katherine Brucker who has been acting in the role since September of 2020.  Ms. Brucker will continue to serve at the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa as Deputy Chief of Mission.

In keeping with public health requirements, Chargé d’Affaires Chacon will self-isolate for the next 14 days.

We’re wondering if folks are ready to do the Bhangra dance.

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Amb Arnie Chacon Heads to U.S. Mission Canada as Chargé d’Affaires (a.i)

13 Going on 14 — GFM: https://gofund.me/32671a27

 

So late Friday, the State Department announced the designation of Ambassador Arnie Chacon to be Chargé d’Affaires ad interim at U.S. Embassy Ottawa:

Today, Secretary Blinken designated Ambassador Arnold Chacon to serve as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim at U.S. Embassy Ottawa. A career diplomat with the rank of Career Minister, Ambassador Chacon is currently detailed from the Department of State to the National Defense University as Senior Vice President. Ambassador Chacon previously served as the Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources and U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala.

Ambassador Chacon’s appointment underscores the United States’ strong commitment to Canada and the Canadian people. He will lead the U.S. government’s diplomatic engagement in Canada by advancing the Roadmap for a Renewed U.S.-Canada Partnership, including trade, climate change, COVID-19 response and recovery, and global and regional security issues.

The United States highly values its close partnership with Canada, and Ambassador Chacon is dedicated to advancing the bilateral relationship.

We’ve previously asked What’s going on at U.S. Mission Canada?
The State Department is just now sending out to Ottawa a former Ambassador (Guatemala) but also the former Director General of the Foreign Service to be CDA. He will be responsible for the embassy and its seven constituent posts as well.
👀
A top executive at the cable company Comcast has been rumored to be in the running to be Biden’s top diplomat for Canada. The announcement for the first slew of political ambassadorships is reportedly expected shortly.

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@StateDept Updates FAM For Individuals Serving as Designated Chiefs of Mission

One part of the ARB-Cuba report addressed guidance provided to the chief of mission (see ARB on Havana Syndrome Response: Pray Tell, Who Was in Charge?):
The ARB report reveals: “In exploring the guidance given to the COM regarding his responsibility for the security of all executive branch employees, the Board learned the COM did not have a letter of instruction. Presidentially-appointed, Senate-confirmed ambassadors all receive a letter of instruction from the President detailing their responsibilities. Typically the responsibility for the safety and security of American citizens and U.S. government employees features prominently in these letters. In other posts where a COM is not Senate confirmed, the Department sometimes issues a letter of instruction from the Secretary of State which serves a similar purpose.”
On February 19, 2021, the State Department updated 3 FAM 1420, the Transfer of Office for Chiefs of Mission and Other Principal Officers.  The updated regs actually is in referenced to “Designated Chief of Mission” positions.  Assignments as CdA a.i. to designated COM positions go to the D Committee for approval and are approved by either the secretary or deputy secretary.  See 3 FAH-1 H-2425.8-2(B).  The new updates also notes that Designated COMs must “receive a briefing on intelligence oversight responsibilities from the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) and confirm in writing that they have read and understood the Secretary’s guidance to individuals performing the functions of a COM (3 FAM 1427).”
One section addresses the general policy:
3 FAM 1422  GENERAL POLICY
(CT:PER-1028 ;  02-19-2021)
(State Only)
(Applies to Foreign Service Employees Only)
a. This policy establishes the roles, responsibilities, and processes for ensuring relevant statutory and other requirements are met when designating individuals to serve as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim (CdA a.i.) in the absence of the Chief of Mission (COM).  The requirements set forth in this policy apply regardless of the length of time the individual will be serving as CdA, a.i. This policy also addresses transfer of the principal officer at consulates and interest sections.
b. The term “transfer of office”, as used here refers to the permanent or temporary transfer of the authorities and responsibilities vested in the principal officer for the management of the post and the conduct of its operations.  A permanent transfer of office occurs whenever an officer relinquishes charge of a post and does not expect to resume charge of that post, or whenever directed by the Department.  A temporary transfer occurs whenever an officer relinquishes charge of a post with the expectation of resuming charge of the post.
c.  The legal authorities cited in 3 FAM 1421 support the practice of designating principal officers at certain posts as CdA, a.i., Consul General, or principal officer with COM authority.  These three categories are referred to as Designated Chiefs of Mission (List available at 2 FAH-2 H-112).  Incumbents in Designated COM positions are not appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate and do not have the ambassador title.  They also do not receive a Letter of Instruction by the President. The policy in 3 FAM 1420 also applies to individuals serving as Designated COMs and provides guidance to those individuals on their responsibilities. Designated COMs, like other CdAs, a.i. need approval by the Under Secretary for Management (M) and required guidance and briefings, but because Designated COMs are not filling in during the absence of a COM, the transfer of office provisions in 3 FAM 1420 do not apply.
Another section addresses the criteria for individuals serving as CDAs.  This update says that individuals on a Foreign Service limited non-career appointment  or a while actually employed (WAE) appointment, which is an appointment into the Civil Service, do not qualify as career FSOs and therefore may not serve as CdA, a.i. See 3 FAM 1427 for guidance outlines responsibilities for CdA, a.i.s.
3 FAM 1425  CRITERIA FOR INDIVIDUALS SERVING AS CDA
(CT:PER-1028;  02-19-2021)
a. Any individual serving as CdA pursuant to Section 502(c) of the Foreign Service Act must be a career FSO.  This includes retired career FSOs recalled for service under section 308(a) of the Foreign Service Act. Recall appointments are approved by the director general of the Foreign Service and the individual recalled must also be approved by the Under Secretary for Management (M) in order to serve as CdA, a.i.  Individuals on a Foreign Service limited non-career appointment  or a while actually employed (WAE) appointment, which is an appointment into the Civil Service, do not qualify as career FSOs and therefore may not serve as CdA, a.i.
b. Factors regional bureaus may consider when nominating individuals to serve as CdA, a.i. include: past experience as CdA, a.i. or DCM, experience managing multi-dimensional and complex teams, experience working with the interagency, relevant country and regional experience, number of years of service, and demonstrated ability to mentor and lead staff.
c.  Pursuant to Section 502(c) of the Foreign Service Act and Delegation 462, M approval is required in order for an individual other than a DCM or suitable senior officer at post to serve as CdA, a.i. The regional bureau’s assistant secretary must send an action memo to M identifying the individual identified to serve as CdA, a.i. and outlining the individual’s qualifications and the rationale for designating the individual’s qualifications and the rationale for designating the individual as CdA, a.i.
d. Individuals who serve or are expected to serve as CdA, a.i. for more than 30 consecutive days, including Designated COMs, must also have authorization to access to Sensitive Compartmented Information. Additionally, he/she must receive a briefing on his/her intelligence oversight responsibilities from the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR).  If already at post, he/she should contact INR/OPS to receive a secure virtual briefing. 
e. Regional bureaus must ensure that the individual does not travel to post or assume charge until required briefings have been completed.
f.  Prior to departing for post, any individual who will be serving as CdA, a.i. must confirm in writing that he or she has read and understands the Secretary’s guidance to individuals performing the functions of a COM (3 FAM 1427).  If already at post, this written confirmation should be part of the notification process outlined in 3 FAH-1 H-1425.