The Senate is back in session and Wednesday is going to be a packed to the gills day with confirmation hearings via video conference for nine of President Biden’s nominees for ambassadorial posts as well as top jobs in Foggy Bottom and USAID.
If confirmed, three priorities will guide my time as Secretary.
First, I will work with you to reinvigorate the Department by investing in its greatest asset: the foreign service officers, civil servants, and locally employed staff who animate American diplomacy around the world.
I know from firsthand experience their passion, energy, and courage. Often far from home and away from loved ones, sometimes in dangerous conditions exacerbated by the global pandemic – they deserve our full support. If I am confirmed as Secretary, they will have it.
I am committed to advancing our security and prosperity by building a diplomatic corps that fully represents America in all its talent and diversity. Recruiting, retaining, and promoting officers with the skills to contend with 21st Century challenges and who look like the country we represent. Sparing no effort to ensure their safety and well-being. Demanding accountability – starting with the Secretary – for building a more diverse, inclusive and non-partisan workplace.
Second, working across government and with partners around the world, we will revitalize American diplomacy to take on the most pressing challenges of our time.
We’ll show up again, day-in, day-out whenever and wherever the safety and well-being of Americans is at stake. We’ll engage the world not as it was, but as it is. A world of rising nationalism, receding democracy, growing rivalry with China, Russia, and other authoritarian states, mounting threats to a stable and open international system, and a technological revolution that is reshaping every aspect of our lives, especially in cyberspace.
For all that has changed, some things remain constant.
American leadership still matters.
The reality is that the world doesn’t organize itself. When we’re not engaged, when we don’t lead, then one of two things happen: either some other country tries to take our place, but probably not in a way that advances our interests or values. Or no one does, and then you get chaos. Either way, that does not serve the American people
Humility and confidence should be the flip sides of America’s leadership coin.
Humility because we have a great deal of work to do at home to enhance our standing abroad. And humility because most of the world’s problems are not about us, even as they affect us. Not one of the big challenges we face can be met by one country acting alone – even one as powerful as the U.S.
But we’ll also act with confidence that America at its best still has a greater ability than any country on earth to mobilize others for the greater good.
Guided by those principles, we can overcome the COVID crisis – the greatest shared challenge since World War II.
We can outcompete China – and remind the world that a government of the people, by the people, can deliver for its people.
We can take on the existential threat posed by climate change.
We can revitalize our core alliances – force multipliers of our influence around the world. Together, we are far better positioned to counter threats posed by Russia, Iran, and North Korea and to stand up for democracy and human rights.
And in everything we do around the world, we can and we must ensure that our foreign policy delivers for American working families here at home.
Let me conclude with a word about this institution, whose resilience and determination was on full display in the aftermath of senseless and searing violence in these halls. Both the President-elect and I believe we must restore Congress’s traditional role as a partner in our foreign policy making.
In recent years, across administrations of both parties, Congress’s voice in foreign policy has been diluted and diminished.
That doesn’t make the executive branch stronger – it makes our country weaker.
President-elect Biden believes – and I share his conviction – that no foreign policy can be sustained without the informed consent of the American people. You are the representatives of the American people. You provide that advice and consent. We can only tackle the most urgent problems our country faces if we work together, and I am dedicated to doing that.
If confirmed, I will work as a partner to each of you on behalf of all Americans.
Via WH, August 21, 2018:
Marshall Billingslea of Virginia, to be Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights at the Department of State.
Mr. Billingslea currently serves as Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing of the Treasury Department. Previously, he worked for Deloitte as a Managing Director; the Department of Defense as Deputy Under Secretary of the Navy, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict, and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Negotiations Policy; the NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, as Assistant Secretary General for Defense Investment; and the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations as a senior staff member in national security affairs. Mr. Billingslea is the recipient of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service, the Cross of Merit of the Minister of Defence of the Czech Republic, and the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana of Estonia. Mr. Billingslea earned his B.A. from Dartmouth College and M.A. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
— Human Rights First (@humanrights1st) September 17, 2019
This should get more attention: Trump has nominated Marshall Billingslea, Bush-era torture proponent who advocated specific abuses of @MohamedouOuld to be…Undersecretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy & Human Rights.
Senate hearing on 9/19 https://t.co/76HPTxzq4q
— Hina Shamsi (@HinaShamsi) September 17, 2019
Had a great, wide-ranging discussion w/Assistant Secretary of Treasury for Terrorism & Financial Intelligence Marshall Billingslea. Recently nominated to be Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy & Human Rights, he has a long record of dedicated public service. pic.twitter.com/P2HpC5zrxb
— Senator Rubio Press (@SenRubioPress) September 26, 2018
Posted: 1:18 am ET
On May 18, the SFRC held a confirmation hearing for William Francis Hagerty IV’s nomination to be U.S. Ambassador to Japan. Click here for the confirmation page with the video and his prepared testimony.
Below is the Certificate of Demonstrated Competence prepared for the SFRC and made available online by the State Department:
SUBJECT: Ambassadorial Nomination: Certificate of Demonstrated Competence — Foreign Service Act, Section 304(a)(4)
CANDIDATE: William F. Hagerty IV
William F. Hagerty IV currently serves as an active board member of three public company and two private company boards. During his career, he has been a government servant, private equity investor and management consultant. In both the private sector and state government he has been a leader on job creation, trade and economic growth. A member of President George H.W. Bush’s staff, he served on the President’s Council on Competitiveness with a portfolio that included International Trade. Mr. Hagerty’s in-depth experience with international economics and trade, his long-standing engagement and understanding of Japan, and his broad range of international connections make him well-qualified to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Japan.
Early in his career, he was a consultant with the Boston Consulting Group and senior expatriate in that firm’s Japan office (1988-1991). At that time, he was also a member of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan. Presently, Mr. Hagerty serves on the boards of Ryman Hospitality (2016 – present), Pinnacle Bank (2015 – present), and RJ O’Brien (2010 – present) among others. He was a member of the Governor’s Cabinet and Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development for the State of Tennessee (2011-2015) during that time, Tennessee was rated as the top state in the nation for economic development and Number 1 for job creation through foreign direct investment.
Mr. Hagerty graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. degree from Vanderbilt University in 1981. In 1984 he received a J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School, where was an Associate Editor of the Law Review and a Wilson Scholar. He has worked extensively on behalf of the Boy Scouts of America, including as Chairman of the Executive Board of the National Capital Council and Board member of the Far East Council while he lived in Japan.
Posted: 2:11 am ET
On April 11, the White House officially announced President Trump’s intent to nominate Mr. Sullivan not only as the State Department’s Deputy Secretary of State (D) but to also serve concurrently as Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources (D/MR). )see Trump to nominate John J. Sullivan to be @StateDept’s No.2 and to also serve as No.3 and Previously Announced DOD Nominee John J. Sullivan Now Slated to be @StateDept’s No. 2).
On May 9. Mr. Sullivan appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for his confirmation hearing. NPR reported that the deputy secretary of state nominee said during the confirmation hearing that there have been no decisions on job cuts despite reports that 2,300 positions are on the chopping block. Sullivan says that the secretary of state has only just begun to solicit input from staff around the globe.
The nominee is a nephew of the late Ambassador William Healy Sullivan (October 12, 1922 – October 11, 2013), a career FSO who served as Ambassador to Laos from 1964–1969, the Philippines from 1973–1977, and Iran from 1977–1979. Barring any late minute issue, we expect that Mr. Sullivan will be confirmed as the next “D.”
Excerpt from his prepared testimony:
A small number of public servants are accepted into the Foreign Service, which I know well. My uncle Bill Sullivan was a Foreign Service Officer for 32 years. He was the last U.S. Ambassador to Iran in the late 1970s. It was his staff in Tehran that was taken hostage on November 4, 1979—a few months after the President had recalled him.
It is an earlier date from 1979, however, that sticks out in my mind: February 14, Valentine’s Day. The U.S. Embassy in Tehran was overrun by a mob, and my uncle and his staff were seized. After a few hours, the Americans were released and the embassy reopened. My uncle appeared in a picture on the cover of the next issue of Newsweek. He was surrounded by Iranians carrying assault weapons, one of whom was brandishing a bayonet in his face.
That day in 1979 is significant to me not merely because of the drama in Iran, but also because of a tragedy in Afghanistan. Our Ambassador, Spike Dubs, was kidnapped and assassinated in Kabul. Like my uncle, Ambassador Dubs was a U.S. Navy World War II veteran and a career Foreign Service Officer.
The assassination of Ambassador Dubs and the seizure of our embassy in Tehran on February 14, 1979, made a huge impression on me. I have remained in awe of our Foreign Service Officers who venture into such dangerous places on our behalf.
If confirmed, it would be my highest honor to work with the Foreign Service, the Civil Service, and the Department’s locally employed staff in the conduct of American diplomacy. In a world in which we face significant and enduring threats, these challenging times require leadership from the United States. As Secretary Tillerson said when he came before this committee, “to achieve the stability that is foundational to peace and security in the 21st century, American leadership must not only be renewed, it must be asserted.”
Read in full here (PDF). Clips below:
Posted: 2:53 am ET
Updated: 2:02 pm ET
Date: Tuesday, May 2, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM
Presiding: Senator Corker
The Honorable Terry Branstad Of Iowa, To Be Ambassador Extraordinary And Plenipotentiary Of The United States Of America To The People’s Republic Of China
If confirmed, as Ambassador, I will work every day to represent American values to the leadership of China and the Chinese people at large; values that include upholding human rights for all, a free and open market, a rules-based order in the oceans surrounding China, and the importance of a free press.
I look forward to joining the impressive and committed team of public servants and their families from the U.S. State Department and many other U.S. government agencies at our embassy in Beijing and consulates across China. Leading this team of dedicated professionals, who are working as we speak to promote America’s interests in China, would be a great honor and a responsibility that I would not take lightly.
If confirmed, I hope to use my unique position as an “old friend” of President Xi and a trusted confidant of President Trump to positively influence the U.S.-China relationship. As the Governor of Iowa, I saw first-hand the importance of a positive and healthy trade relationship between our two countries. Nearly, one out of every two rows of Iowa soybeans is sent to China, as well as $33.5 million in pork in 2016. The importance of trade extends well beyond agriculture too. Aviation products, manufactured goods, chemicals, electronics, and many other products and services are exported to China daily and help support and sustain the American economy.
Updated: 2:02 pm ET
Posted: 12:46 am ET
We missed this one last week, but the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) finally held confirmation hearings for career diplomats Ambassador Tulinabo Mushingi, nominated for Senegal and Guinea-Bissau, and Todd Haskell who was nominated for the Republic Of The Congo. The links to the video of the hearings and to their prepared testimonies are provided below.
Date: Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Time: 01:30 PM
Presiding: Senator Flake
Video available to watch here: https://www.foreign.senate.gov/hearings/nominations-042617
The Honorable Tulinabo Salama Mushingi
Mr. Todd Philip Haskell
Of Florida, 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 The Congo
Posted: 4:28 pm EDT
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Today, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a confirmation hearing for the following State Department and USAID nominees:
The SFRC page with the video of the hearing is available here.