Posted: 1:38 am ET
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Posted: 1:47 am ET
Back in March, the WSJ reported that John J. Sullivan is set to be nominated as Deputy Secretary of State (see Previously Announced DOD Nominee John J. Sullivan Now Slated to be @StateDept’s No. 2). 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). If confirmed, the White House would get two positions filled with one nominee; Mr. Sullivan would succeed Tony Blinken as “D” and Heather Higginbottom as “D/MR” at the same time.
Click here for Mr. Sullivan’s archived biography via DOC.
Since 2009, the State Department has been authorized a Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources (D/MR), the third highest ranking position at the agency. Jack L. Lew stayed from January 28, 2009 – November 18, 2010, before moving on to better jobs. Thomas R. Nides was in from January 3, 2011 – February, 2013, then rejoined Morgan Stanley as vice chairman. After a stint at OMB, Heather Anne Higginbottom served the State Department from 2013-2017. This is an eight year old position, and while it may be worrisome for some that this job will now be concurrently filled by “D”, the State Department managed for a long time without this position. Also, if the top ranking person in the agency is not willing to fight for the State Department’s funding, how the heck is the deputy for management and resources going to make a difference in the White House or with Congressional appropriators? We suspect that the D/MR office will be folded into D, which makes the most sense, and “P” will again become the 3rd most senior person in the Department. One of our main concerns continue to be the appointment of the Under Secretary for Management, and that he/she has a depth of experience not only in management but in the many challenges of overseas assignments.
Posted: 3:58 am ET
History.state.gov notes that Congress created the position of Deputy Secretary of State in the Foreign Relations Authorization Act of 1972, approved Jul 13, 1972 (Public Law 92-352; 86 Stat 490), to replace the Under Secretary of State as the second ranking officer in the Department. The Deputy Secretary (D) serves as the principal deputy, adviser, and alter ego to the Secretary of State; serves as Acting Secretary of State in the Secretary’s absence; and assists the Secretary in the formulation and conduct of U.S. foreign policy and in giving general supervision and direction to all elements of the Department. The Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources (D/MR) serves as the Chief Operating Officer of the Department. The D/MR also serves as principal adviser to the Secretary on overall supervision and direction of resource allocation and management activities of the Department as well as provides final recommendations to the Secretary on senior personnel appointments.
Lawrence Eagleburger is the only career diplomat ever appointed the top-ranking post in the US Cabinet. He became Secretary of State on December 8, 1992, and continued in that position until January 19, 1993 when Warren Christopher was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on January 20, 1993.
A former assistant secretary of state under President Bush told the NYT, “So much of the operational work is in the jurisdiction of the deputy and helps to have somebody who knows how the building works, and it will make the secretary more effective.” In the last 27 years, only three career diplomats were ever appointed Deputy Secretary of State: Lawrence Eagleburger, John Negroponte and William Burns. Note that both Rice and Clinton picked noncareer deputies at the first half of their tenures and then picked seasoned foreign service officers for the second half of their stints at State. Secretary Baker recognized the value of having a career diplomat as second in command and picked Eagleburger from the get go. Secretary Kerry could have picked a new deputy, but opted instead to keep career ambassador Bill Burns who was appointed deputy under Clinton.
— Domani Spero
On November 3, we blogged this: State Dept’s Wendy Sherman Now Dual-Hatted as “P” and New Acting Deputy Secretary. Four days later, and three days after the midterms, President Obama officially announced his intent to nominate Anthony Blinken as Bill Burns’ successor at the State Department.
The WH released the following brief bio:
Antony Blinken is Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor, a position he has held since 2013. From 2009 to 2013, Mr. Blinken was Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor in the Office of the Vice President. Previously, he was Staff Director for the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 2002 to 2008. From 2001 to 2002, he was a Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. In the Clinton Administration, he served on the National Security Council staff as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European Affairs and as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Strategic Planning and Speechwriting. He also served as Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs at the Department of State. Mr. Blinken received a B.A. from Harvard College and a J.D. from Columbia Law School.
“I congratulate Tony Blinken on his nomination to serve as Deputy Secretary of State. He is a genuine superstar.” -VP http://t.co/0jsMp8PGcz
— Vice President Biden (@VP) November 8, 2014
— Marie Harf (@marieharf) November 7, 2014
POTUS: “It’s the 4th quarter & impt things happen in 4thQ” W/ his judgment & integrity, Tony Blinken is just the person US wants w/ the ball
— Samantha Power (@AmbassadorPower) November 7, 2014
This announcement came at a Friday afternoon, the reaction appears generally positive at this time. There does not appear to be any reaction that could portend to how this nomination would fare in the lame duck session. Except for one Fox News contributor who boldly tweeted the following:
A side note, if Mr. Blinken is confirmed, there will be a new power couple at State. Right now, current power couple is Heather Higginbottom (D/MR and State Department #3) and spouse Daniel Sepulveda, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy with a rank of ambassador. If confirmed, Mr. Blinken will be State’s #2. His spouse, Evan M. Ryan is currently Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). Prior to becoming Assistant Secretary of State, she served as the assistant for intergovernmental affairs and public liaison for Joe Biden; she also worked for the Kerry campaign and served in various capacities for then First Lady Hillary Clinton.
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