SFRC Clears Five Ambassadorial Nominees and Six Foreign Service Lists

Posted: 1:07 am EDT
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On May 21st, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) cleared the following nominations:

  • Paul A. Folmsbee, of Oklahoma, 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 Mali.
  • Cassandra Q. Butts, of the District of Columbia, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
  • Stafford Fitzgerald Haney, of New Jersey, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Costa Rica.
  • Charles C. Adams, Jr., of Maryland, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Finland.
  • Mary Catherine Phee, of Illinois, 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

The panel also cleared the nomination of Gentry Smith as Director of the Office of Foreign Mission and and Matthew McGuire for the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development

  • Gentry O. Smith, of North Carolina, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Director of the Office of Foreign Missions, and to have the rank of Ambassador during his tenure of service, vice Eric J. Boswell, resigned.
  • Matthew T. McGuire, of the District of Columbia, to be United States Executive Director of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development for a term of two years, vice Ian Hoddy Solomon, term expired.

Nominations Placed on Secretary’s Desk

The following FS lists which include 621 nominees were also placed on the Secretary’s Desk. These are routine nomination lists, previously printed in the Congressional Record, placed on the Secretary’s desk for the information of Senators while awaiting floor action.

  • PN72 – 3 FOREIGN SERVICE nomination of Douglas A. Koneff, which was received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record of January 13, 2015.
  • PN259 FOREIGN SERVICE nomination of Judy R. Reinke, which was received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record of March 4, 2015.
  • PN260 FOREIGN SERVICE nominations (56) beginning Brian C. Brisson, and ending Catherine M. Werner, which nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record of March 4, 2015.
  • PN368 FOREIGN SERVICE nominations (3) beginning Peter J. Olson, and ending Nicolas Rubio, which nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record of April 15, 2015.
  • PN369 FOREIGN SERVICE nominations (346) beginning Craig A. Anderson, and ending Henry Kaminski, which nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record of April 15, 2015.
  • PN370 FOREIGN SERVICE nominations (212) beginning Anthony S. Amatos, and ending Elena Zlatnik, which nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record of April 15, 2015.

All one step closer to confirmation, but not quite there.


Officially In: James “Wally” Brewster, Jr. to the Dominican Republic, an Island of Grace and Tolerance

 By Domani Spero

On June 21, President Obama announced his intent to nominate James “Wally” Brewster, Jr., as the next Ambassador to the Dominican Republic. The WH released the following brief bio:

James “Wally” Brewster, Jr. is the Senior Managing Partner for SB&K Global, a brand strategy and consumer dynamics consulting firm based in Chicago, Illinois.  Before starting SB&K Global in 2010, he was an Officer and Senior Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Communications with General Growth Properties (GGP), a real estate investment trust headquartered in Chicago.  Prior to joining GGP in 1996, Mr. Brewster worked in management at several real estate companies in Texas, including The Rouse Company and the DeBartolo Corporation.  Earlier in his career, he held marketing and management positions with Carla Francis, Inc. and the Jim Collins Company in Dallas, Texas.

Mr. Brewster is a National LGBT Co-Chair for the Democratic National Committee and currently serves on the Board of the Human Rights Campaign Fund.

According to Open Secrets of the Center for Responsive Politics, Mr. Brewster bundled $500,000+ for the Obama 2012 reelection. also listed Mr. Brewster and Bob Satawake  as Obama For America and Obama Victory Fund 2012 Volunteer Fundraisers who  raised $100,000-$200,000.

Six out of 16 total ambassadorial appointments to Santo Domingo since 1960 or 37.5% went to non-career appointees.  If confirmed, Mr. Brewster would replace another political appointee Raul Yzaguirre who was appointed chief of mission to the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo in November 2010.  Ambassador Yzaguirre’s May 6, 2013 announcement of departure says that he is leaving for “health reasons” and that  he and his wife will return to their home in the city of Mt. Airy, Maryland.

In late June, the AP reported that religious groups in the Dominican Republic said they are outraged by the nomination of a gay U.S. ambassador to the conservative Caribbean country.  CNS quotes DR Bishop Pablo Cedano saying that if Brewster becomes the U.S. ambassador, “he is going to suffer and will have to leave.”  DR Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez is on YouTube calling the nominee  maricón, a derogatory term.

This past Monday, there was a “Black Monday” protest organized by religious leaders to demonstrate their disapproval of the openly gay nominee.

Here is an excerpt from the 2012 Human Rights Report on DR:

Treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals ranged from ambivalent tolerance to staunch homophobia.  No specific law protects individuals against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and NGOs reported widespread social discrimination in areas of society including health care, education, and the workplace.  LGBT individuals often faced intimidation and harassment…According to various reports, LGBT individuals were arrested without reason, not hired, denied access to rent/own homes, and denied access to health services….Members of the LGBT community often gathered informally in public spaces, especially in Duarte Park of the colonial zone in Santo Domingo.  However, formal activities of LGBT organizations were generally subjected to approval by the Community Board of Neighbors, an institution influenced by the Catholic Church and its conservative views on LGBT issues.

As an aside, diplomatic courtesy requires that the sending state ascertain if the proposed ambassadorial appointee is acceptable to receiving state.  The acquiescence of the receiving state is showed by its granting of an agrément to the appointment.  The Obama administration would  not have released this nominee’s name had it not received the approval of the Dominican Republic.

The Dominican Embassy in Washington told The Cable:

“The Dominican Republic is a democracy with a vibrant media and a wide diversity of opinions on every conceivable topic,” the statement read. “However, it is the position of the Government of the Dominican Republic that a person´s sexual preference is strictly a personal matter and it looks forward to working constructively with Mr. Brewster in his official capacity once his nomination is approved by the US Senate.”

As of this writing, no schedule has been announced yet for Mr. Brewster’s confirmation hearing.

Related item:

June 21, 2013  President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts


D/SecState on 2012 State Department Awards: 32 of Our Very Best

The State Department hold its Annual Awards Ceremony in November.  The news coverage is usually brief or late, in cable format, emails weeks after the event and in a spread in State Magazine probably sometime in February or March. In all, 32 awards were given in a ceremony attended by Deputy Secretary Bill Burns. He lauded “32 of our very best in the Foreign Service, Civil Service, and Foreign Service National corps” and said:

“You represent diplomacy at its finest and demonstrate that great diplomats can do much more than hold their own at the negotiating table. Great diplomats are innovative, they’re intrepid, and they’re endlessly dedicated. They work beyond embassy walls. They help create jobs and promote trade. And they venture out to the most war-torn corners of the world to act as enduring forces for peace.”

We have previously blogged about the 2012 Annual Awards (see 2012 State Dept Annual Awards: Greatest Achievements in Many Fields, Mostly By Men).

All of the awards include a certificate, signed by the Secretary of State and monetary rewards ranging from $2,000 – $10,000. Many of the awards are sponsored by private donors, who are often former members of the Foreign Service or their families but the nominations go through the State Department process.

Some awards require that a supervisor nominate the candidate. Other awards require that nominations be submitted by the chief of mission.  Still other awards open the nomination from anyone having knowledge of the nominee’s contributions.  An employee or group of employees familiar with the nominee’s work, including supervisors, task forces, and country desks, may also nominate candidates. In almost all instances, the awards require the endorsement of the nomination by the chief of mission or principal officer at posts abroad or the appropriate assistant secretary or equivalent from participating agencies. Bureau assistant secretary may also submit nominations for chiefs of mission.

The awards program is in the 3 FAM 4800 series. The regs for the Annual Awards are in 3 FAM 4830.

Here are the awardees:

James A. Baker III—C. Howard Wilkins, Jr. Award for Outstanding Deputy Chief of Mission – Recipient:  R. Stephen Beecroft

Former Ambassador to the Netherlands, C. Howard Wilkins, Jr., made this award possible. It recognizes outstanding contributions made by a deputy chief of mission who demonstrates the proficiency, creativity, and overall capacity to serve effectively as ambassadors and as chargé d’affaires in their absence. The winner receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $5,000.

Before he was appointed Ambassador to Iraq, Robert Stephen Beecroft was US Embassy Baghdad’s DCM.  A career member of the Foreign Service, he joined Embassy Baghdad as Deputy Chief of Mission on July 14, 2011.  Prior to that, Mr. Beecroft served as Ambassador to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.  He became Chargé d’affaires upon the departure of Ambassador James Jeffrey on June 1, 2012. We have previously blogged about him here.

Robert C. Frasure Memorial Award – Recipient:  Phillip Carter III

This award honors an individual who best exemplifies the late Ambassador Robert C. Frasure’s commitment to peace and the alleviation of human suffering caused by war or civil injustice. The winner receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000.

We have previously blogged about Ambassador Carter when he was appointed to Abidjan, when his post went on ordered departure, and when his staff was ordered to shelter in place when the bloody battle reached the capital.

Arnold L. Raphel Memorial AwardRecipient:  Paul O. Mayer

This award recognizes an individual in international affairs who embodies the special human qualities exemplified by the late Ambassador Arnold L. Raphel—the mentoring and development of subordinates, especially junior officers. The winner receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000. The recipient’s name is placed on a plaque in the Department.

Paul Mayer is currently the DCM at US Embassy Vientiane. If he sounds familiar, it’s because we’ve blogged about him here following the January 2010 Haiti earthquake and about his “K-Visa Delight” (set to the tune of “Afternoon Delight“)  for the Consular Corner Creative Writing Contest.

We have it it good authority that this is one of those awards where the subordinates, at least 18 of them banded as a group and put in the nomination.

Sue M. Cobb Award for Exemplary Diplomatic Service – Recipient:  David C. Jacobson

The Sue M. Cobb Award for Exemplary Diplomatic Service is presented to a Non-Career Ambassador who (a) has used private sector leadership and management skills to make a significant impact on bilateral or multilateral relations and (b) has done so in a manner that best reflects the foreign service culture of uncommon commitment in carrying out United States foreign policy through proactive diplomacy. The award is made possible by the generosity of Sue M. Cobb, former U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica. The honoree receives a certificate signed by the Secretary and the Embassy receives $5,000.

We have blogged about Ambassador Jacobson here and here with his curling consuls.

Charles E. Cobb, Jr. Award for Initiative and Success in Trade Development – Recipient:  Scot A. Marciel

The former Ambassador to Iceland, Charles E. Cobb, Jr., made this award possible. It is conferred on two career members of the Department: one member serving under an ambassadorial appointment; and one member at any grade serving abroad in a non-ambassadorial assignment. The award recognizes outstanding contributions toward innovative and successful trade development and export promotion for the United States. The winners each receive a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $5,000.

We have blogged about Ambassador Marciel here and here.

Secretary’s Award for Excellence in International Security Affairs – Recipient: Thomas F. Daughton

The award recognizes individual excellence in the development, negotiation and/or implementation of national policy and solutions to counter country-specific, regional and/or global nonproliferation, counter-proliferation, political-military, arms control, verification, and/or noncompliance challenges facing the United States. The winner receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State and a $10,000 stipend and the runner-up receives a signed certificate and a $2,000 stipend. (via Wikipedia)

We have blogged about Mr. Daughton a while back in US Embassy Algiers: Diplomatic Kerfuffle Over DCM’s “Rare Candor”

Robert C. Bannerman Diplomatic Security Employee of the Year – Recipient:  Robert Joseph Baldre, Jr.

This award recognizes outstanding contributions made by an employee in the security field. The winner receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000.

Is he Diplomatic Security’s Chief Financial Officer (DS/EX/CFO)?

Warren Christopher Award for Outstanding Achievement in Global Affairs – Recipient:  Steven G. Gillen

This award recognizes sustained excellence and initiative in the substantive policy areas of oceans, the environment, and science; democracy, human rights, and labor; population, refugees, and migration; and international narcotics and crime.  The winner receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000.

Civil Service Secretary of the Year – Recipient:  Crystal Y. Johnson

This annual award recognizes the high standards of performance which characterize the work of Civil Service Secretaries in the Department and abroad.  It is granted annually to one Civil Service Secretary whose performance is judged by a selection committee to exemplify most clearly these high standards.  The recipient receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State and $10,000.  In addition, the recipients’ names are placed on a plaque in the Department. (via Wikipedia)

Director General’s Award for Impact and Originality in Reporting – Recipient:  Ryan L. Hass

The Director General’s Award for Impact and Originality in Reporting recognizes the high standards that characterize the reporting of the Department.  The recipient of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, $10,000, and an engraved desk set. The recipient’s name is placed on a plaque in the Department.

James Clement Dunn Award for Excellence – Recipient: G. Kathleen Hill

The James Clement Dunn Award for Excellence recognizes leadership, intellectual skills, managerial ability, and personal qualities that most fully exemplify the standards of excellence desired of employees at the mid-career level. The winner of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000.

Equal Employment Opportunity Award – Recipient: Gregory S. Stanford

The Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Award recognizes outstanding contributions toward improving employment opportunities for minorities and women and significant achievements in taking affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified minorities and women.  The winner of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000.

Foreign Service National (FSN) of the Year Award

This award recognizes the high standards of performance and the value to the U.S. Government of the special contributions made by Foreign Service National (FSN) employees and foreign nationals serving under a personal services contract or agreement at our missions abroad.  The primary winner receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000. Each of the other five nominees receives a certificate signed by the assistant secretary of the appropriate regional bureau or International Organization (IO) and $2,500.

  • FSN of the Year Award (AF) Recipient: Emmanuel Umar
  • FSN of the Year Award (EAP) Recipient: Chen Er
  • FSN of the Year Award (EUR) Recipient:  Zlatko Moratic
  • FSN of the Year Award (WHA) Recipient:  Sylvia Cabezas

FSN of the Year Award (SCA) Recipient: Farah Naz

D/SecState Bill Burns had this to say about the awardee from the SCA Bureau: “Farah Naz joined Embassy Islamabad more than 25 years ago as an administrative assistant in the Health Unit. Today, she supervises a staff of 56 at the Embassy’s Warehouse—and she’s the first woman to ever serve in that role. Last year, Farah was at the helm of a massive transition that involved moving warehouse operations from one facility on the compound to two separate facilities, off-campus. To make it happen, Farah coordinated with local police, crane and moving vendors, the Regional Security Office, a local guard force, and other agencies to move fifty 20-foot shipping containers filled with goods worth over $53 million from one side of town to the other. And she did it efficiently, cost-effectively, and with a calm, confident smile. Today, we are recognizing Farah’s decades of hard work and dedication as FSN of the year for the Bureau of South and Central Asia.”

Cordell Hull Award for Economic Achievement by Senior Officers – Recipient:  Kurt Tong

The former U.S. Ambassador to Singapore, Steven J. Green made this award possible. It recognizes outstanding contributions in advancing U.S. interests in the international economic field. The winner of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State and $5,000.

Leamon R. Hunt Award for Management Excellence – Recipient:  Jason A. Brenden

The Leamon R. Hunt Award for management Excellence recognizes outstanding contributions to management operations. The winner of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000.

Swanee Hunt Award For Advancing Women’s Role in Policy Formulation – FS Recipient:  Heera K. Kamboj

The Swanee Hunt Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Improving the status of women globally by advancing their influence in policy formulation is made possible by the former U.S. Ambassador to Austria, the Honorable Swanee Hunt. This award recognizes outstanding achievement in the area of promoting women as participants in the political and economic processes or as policy shapers. The annual amount of the award is $10,000, which will be given in two awards of $5,000 each: (1) To a Foreign Service or Civil Service employee; and (2) To a Foreign Service National at a U.S. embassy or consulate, along with a certificate signed by the Secretary.

Award for Excellence in Labor Diplomacy – Recipient:  Peter T. Shea

This award recognizes excellence in promoting U.S. foreign policy interest in the labor field. The winner receives a certificate signed by the Secretaries of Labor and State, and $10,000.

Linguist of the Year Award – Recipient: Adedeji E. Okediji

This award recognizes unusually successful acquisition and maintenance of a high level of proficiency in one or more foreign languages and use of the language ability to achieve Department objectives. The winner of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000.

Frank E. Loy Award for Environmental Diplomacy – Recipient: Christo Artusio

This award recognizes outstanding achievement in international environmental affairs. The winner receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $5,000.

Thomas Morrison Information Management Award – Recipient:  Todd C. E. Cheng

The Thomas Morrison Information Management Award recognizes outstanding and unique contributions in the information management field. The winner of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000.

We heard that Mr. Cheng “did amazing work for our missions in Tripoli and Benghazi in 2011 and 2012.”

Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Public Diplomacy – Recipient:  Gloria F. Berbena

This award recognizes significant contributions in the field of public diplomacy and the special qualities that reflect the integrity, courage, sensitivity, vision, and dedication to excellence that were so highly exemplified in the life of Edward R. Murrow. The winner of the award receives a plaque presented during the commencement exercises at the Fletcher School, Tufts University. The winner also receives $10,000, which is presented at the annual Departmental Awards Ceremony held at the State Department.

Office Management Specialist of the Year Award – Recipient: Gail M. Cooper

The Secretary of the Year and Office Management Specialist of the year awards recognize the high standards of performance that characterize the service of secretaries in the Civil Service and Office Management Specialists in the Foreign Service. The award is conferred on both a Civil Service and a Foreign Service Office Management Specialist.  b. The winners each receive a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000. The recipients’ names are placed on a plaque in the Department.

D/SecState Bill Burns on Gail Cooper, the Office Management Specialist for the Regional Security Office at US Embassy Sarajevo: “Last October, as our Embassy in Sarajevo suffered a brief attack, Gail sprung into action and served as a one-person ops center for the post. She worked with Washington and others involved to give regular updates on the situation, coordinated outreach to make sure embassy personnel were safe and accounted for, and eased the fears of understandably concerned family members. In a chaotic and frightening time, Gail was an island of calm. So today, we’re recognizing Gail as the office Management Specialist of the Year, not only for her superior office management abilities, but also for her leadership in the midst of a crisis.”

Luther I. Replogle Award for Management Improvement – Recipient:  Mark J. Cohen

The late Luther I. Replogle, former U.S. Ambassador to Iceland, makes this award possible. It recognizes outstanding contributions to management improvement. The winner of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $5,000.

Mary A. Ryan Award for Outstanding Public Service – Recipient:  M. Andre Goodfriend

Selection will be based on the extent to which nominees demonstrate leadership abilities when providing services while assigned domestically or abroad to U.S. citizens. The recipient receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $5,000.

Herbert Salzman Award for Excellence in International Economic Performance – Recipient: Douglas J. Apostol

This award is made possible by the late Herbert Salzman, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.S. Mission to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. It recognizes outstanding contributions in advancing U.S. international relations and objectives in the economic field. The recipient of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $5,000.

Rockwell Anthony Schnabel Aard for Advancing U.S.-EU Relations  – Recipient:  Paul E. Pfeuffer

A supervisor must nominate candidates for this award. Endorsement of the nomination by the chief of mission or principal officer at posts abroad or the appropriate assistant secretary or equivalent from participating agencies, State, USAID, Commerce, and Agriculture, is required. The winner of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $5,000.

Innovation in the Use of Technology Award – Recipient:  David C. Schroeder

This award recognizes the suggestion, planning, development, or implementation of an innovative use of technology (both program and administrative) that has substantially contributed to the efficiency and effectiveness of the Department. The winner of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000.

Barbara M. Watson Award for Consular Excellence – Recipient: Joshua D. Glazeroff

This award recognizes outstanding contributions to consular operations. The winner of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000. The Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs will chair the selection committee, which will be comprised of the principal deputy assistant secretary for consular affairs, and representatives from CA offices, the Bureau of Human Resources, and the bureaus.

D/SecState Bill Burns on the awardee: “Joshua Glazeroff, Consul General New Delhi, is compassionate and perceptive — a combination of qualities that make him a consular officer of the highest caliber. A few months ago, when a gunman shot and killed six people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, Josh took charge to help the friends and relatives of those who were slain travel to the U.S. to grieve for their loved ones. Josh was put in an extremely difficult position—he had to strike the balance between helping make a tragic situation a little less painful without making the visa process any less rigorous—and he pulled it off. Today we recognize Josh’s outstanding contributions with the Barbara M. Watson Award for Consular Excellence.”

Ryan C. Crocker Award for Outstanding Leadership in Expeditionary Diplomacy (no award given)

The award recognizes those who excel in the most challenging leadership positions overseas.  The winner, if an employee of the agencies covered by the Foreign Affairs Manual, receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State and $10,000.  In accordance with 3 FAM 4813.2(c), the winner, if a member of the military, may only receive the certificate.

Human Rights Officer of the Year Award – this award was reportedly shared jointly by 4 officers at a US Mission in the EAP Bureau.  We’ve looked for references to this award and the awardees at but have been unable to find any further details or press. A previous winner of a human rights award was roughed up by police in central Vietnam.  Not sure that’s the reason why this is  low key — but if the names of the awardees are published by State mag next month, we will update this entry.

For additional details on all of the awardees, we have to wait and read it in the next issue of State magazine. The 2011 awardees were featured in its February 2011 issue.
domani spero sig




SFRC Clears Three for Personal Rank of Career Ambassador

The SFRC cleared the following-named Career Members of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Career Minister, for the personal rank of Career Ambassador in recognition of especially distinguished service over a sustained period:


Correct me if I’m wrong but Ambassadors Brownfield and Kenney may be the first tandem couple with personal ranks of Career Ambassador.

Ambassador Kristie Kenney with A/S William Brownfield

This one from the Office of Historian:

The class of Career Ambassador was first established by an Act of Congress on Aug 5, 1955, as an amendment to the Foreign Service act of 1946 (P.L. 84-250; 69 Stat. 537). Under its provisions, the President with the advice and consent of the Senate was empowered to appoint individuals to the class who had (1) served at least 15 years in a position of responsibility in a government agency, including at least 3 years as a Career Minister; (2) rendered exceptionally distinguished service to the government; and (3) met other requirements prescribed by the Secretary of State. Under the 1980 Foreign Service Act (P.L. 96-465; 94 Stat. 2084), which repealed the 1946 Act as amended, the President is empowered with the advice and consent of the Senate to confer the personal rank of Career Ambassador upon a career member of the Senior Foreign Service in recognition of especially distinguished service over a sustained period.


In over fifty years, the Office of the Historian only has 53 career diplomats listed with the personal rank of Career Ambassador. That list includes William Joseph Burns (State’s Deputy Secretary), Anne Woods Patterson (current US Ambassador to Egypt), James Franklin Jeffrey (former US Ambassador to Iraq), Ryan Clark Crocker (former Ambassador to Afghanistan and six other countries), Nancy Jo Powell (current US Ambassador to India), Marc Isaiah Grossman (current S/RAP) and Earl Anthony Wayne (current US Ambassador to Mexico).

The full list is here.








Miller v. Clinton: Court Says State Dept Not/Not Exempt from Age Discrimination Law

We previously blogged about the Miller v. Clinton case in November 2010 (see Miller v. Clinton: Amcit FSN Takes State Dept to Court for Age Discrimination).

On November 4, 2010, the district court granted the State Department’s motion and dismissed the case with prejudice pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), holding that the Secretary of State may exempt employees hired under the authority of § 2669(c) from the statutory protections of the ADEA.

The case eventually landed in the Court of Appeals and on August 7, 2012, in a 2-1 decision the lower court’s decision was reversed. The opinion for the Court is filed by Circuit Judge GARLAND; the dissenting opinion is filed by Circuit Judge KAVANAUGH


GARLAND, Circuit Judge: There is no dispute that the State Department terminated the employment of John R. Miller, Jr., a United States citizen working abroad, solely because he turned sixty-five years old. Indeed, it is the position of the Department that it is free to terminate employees like Miller on account of their age. Moreover, the necessary consequence of the Department’s position is that it is also free from any statutory bar against terminating an employee like Miller solely on account of his disability or race or religion or sex.

After being dismissed on his sixty-fifth birthday, Miller brought suit alleging that his forced retirement violated the federal employment provisions of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), 29 U.S.C. § 633a. Accepting the State Department’s position, the district court dismissed Miller’s complaint on the ground that the statute under which Miller was hired, section 2(c) of the Basic Authorities Act, 22 U.S.C. § 2669(c), permits the Department to exempt Miller from the protections of the ADEA. We reverse, finding nothing in the Basic Authorities Act that abrogates the ADEA’s broad proscription against personnel actions that discriminate on the basis of age.

Miller is a U.S. citizen who was employed by the Department of State as a safety inspector at the U.S. embassy in Paris, France. He was hired in October 2003 as “locally employed staff” pursuant to a personal services agreement. Miller’s contract was negotiated and signed under the authority of section 2(c) of the Basic Authorities Act, which authorizes the Secretary of State to “employ individuals or organizations, by contract, for services abroad.” 22 U.S.C. § 2669(c); see U.S. Dep’t of State Personal Servs. Agreement (J.A. 23) (identifying 22 U.S.C. § 2669(c) as the exclusive “[s]tatutory authority for this agreement”). The proper construction of § 2669(c) is the central issue on this appeal.

Among other standard contractual provisions, Miller’s employment contract incorporates by reference “[a]ll provisions of the local compensation plan” for Foreign Service National employees in France. J.A. 23. One provision of the Local Compensation Plan (LCP) is a mandatory retirement clause. That clause follows the (apparently) prevailing French practice of mandating retirement at age sixty-five, and expressly states that “[a]ge 65 is the mandatory age limit for all employees under the LCP.” Foreign Serv. Nat’l Comp. Plan (J.A. 26).

In accordance with the mandatory retirement clause, Miller was advised by letter dated March 22, 2007 that he would be separated from his position due to age, effective July 23, 2007, his sixty-fifth birthday. There is no dispute among the parties that the sole reason for Miller’s termination was his age. The Department has not identified any concerns regarding Miller’s job performance or his ability to perform his duties. According to Miller’s supervisor, “[t]here was no other reason, to my knowledge, for Mr. Miller’s separation[;] it was strictly the mandatory age issue.” Kenan H. Hunter, EEO Investigative Aff. (J.A. 90).

In case you did not know this, the USG may discriminate against “aliens” employed outside the United States. More from the Miller opinion:

In 1974, Congress amended the ADEA to address “[n]ondiscrimination on account of age in Federal Government employment.” 29 U.S.C. § 633a. Section 633a broadly declares that “[a]ll personnel actions affecting employees or applicants for employment who are at least 40 years of age . . . shall be made free from any discrimination based on age.” Id. § 633a(a). The section includes an exception for “personnel actions with regard to aliens employed outside the limits of the United States,” id. (emphasis added), but contains no parallel exception for U.S. citizens so employed. Accordingly, it is undisputed that, as a general matter, the protections of § 633a extend extraterritorially to cover United States citizens employed by federal agencies abroad. See id. (stating that the statute is applicable to “executive agencies as defined in section 105 of Title 5”); see also 5 U.S.C. § 105 (“For purposes of this title, ‘Executive Agency’ means an Executive Department [or] a Government corporation.”).

Ah – but Miller is not an “alien” or an FSO who is subject to mandatory retirement:

[I]n several statutes Congress has clearly and affirmatively authorized the kind of mandatory retirement clause at issue here — but for specified classes of government employees that, again, do not include Miller. The statute that governs the Foreign Service Retirement and Disability System is one example. It states that “any participant shall be retired from the Service at the end of the month in which the participant has reached age 65.” 22 U.S.C. § 4052(a)(1). In Strawberry v. Albright, 111 F.3d 943 (D.C. Cir. 1997), a State Department employee who participated in a pension system governed by § 4052(a)(1) brought suit contending that the system’s mandatory retirement provision violated the ADEA. Not surprisingly, this court had little difficulty concluding that “the ADEA’s general prohibition of age discrimination does not prohibit enforcement of the mandatory retirement provision[]” for participants in the system, because § 4052(a)(1) specifically mandates retirement at age sixty-five and was passed after the ADEA was made applicable to federal employees. Id. at 947. Section 4052(a)(1) does not apply to Miller, however, because he was never a member of the Foreign Service or a participant in its retirement system.

One of the arguments employed by USG lawyers is to insist that “even if the statutory language is ambiguous, “the Secretary’s longstanding interpretation . . . is entitled to deference” under Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837 (1984). DOS Br. 18. Under Chevron’s familiar second step, “if the statute is silent or ambiguous with respect to the specific” point at issue, a court must uphold the agency’s interpretation as long as it is reasonable.”

The Court did not buy that and notes that “the State Department acknowledged that the Secretary has never promulgated a written interpretation of § 2669(c) that asserts the section authorizes her to find the ADEA inapplicable to a contract like Miller’s.” It also points out that “there is no evidence that the current Secretary or any of her predecessors ever knew of the interpretation being advanced in their names. Instead, the Department asks us to rely upon the contract itself, which, the Department says, reflects the agency’s consistent practice of at least twenty years.”

But here is the most interesting part of the opinion:

At oral argument, Department counsel suggested that, if U.S. employment discrimination laws were applicable to U.S. citizens hired abroad under § 2669(c), State Department supervisors might prefer to hire foreign workers who are not protected by those statutes. Oral Arg. Recording 25:00-26:15. Our dissenting colleague proffers a similar explanation of his own. Dissent at 7-9. This line of reasoning does not appear anywhere in the legislative history.28 Nor is that surprising. It requires the assumption that State Department supervisors would prefer to hire employees against whom they are free to discriminate — and that in the absence of a “level” playing field permitting them to discriminate against everyone, those supervisors would decline to hire U.S. citizens.

The Court is shocked 😯 and calls out the callousness and hypocrisy of the institution whose mission is to “Shape and sustain a peaceful, prosperous, just, and democratic world and foster conditions for stability and progress for the benefit of the American people and people everywhere.”

Indeed, while it would be surprising for Congress to assume such callousness on the part of State Department officials, it is more than merely surprising to hear the Department make the same assumption about its own people. And that is doubly so in light of the repeated declarations that it “provides equal opportunity and fair and equitable treatment in employment to all people without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, political affiliation, marital status, or sexual orientation.”
[W]e conclude that the legislative history’s vague references to “flexibility” and “competitive[ness]” are insufficient to indicate a congressional intent to permit the State Department to discriminate against U.S. citizens hired abroad.

And so the reversal:

The judgment of the district court, granting the State Department’s motion to dismiss Miller’s ADEA claim, is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Don’t say amen yet.  This is not the end of this, just wait …

Domani Spero

State Dept May Dump Multi-Billion Dollar Iraqi Police Program; Noooooooo! Not So Says Embassy Baghdad

So on Sunday, NYT’s Tim Arango reported from Baghdad that the U.S. May Scrap Costly Efforts to Train Iraqi Police. Quick excerpt:

BAGHDAD — In the face of spiraling costs and Iraqi officials who say they never wanted it in the first place, the State Department has slashed — and may jettison entirely by the end of the year — a multibillion-dollar police training program that was to have been the centerpiece of a hugely expanded civilian mission here.

What was originally envisioned as a training cadre of about 350 American law enforcement officers was quickly scaled back to 190 and then to 100. The latest restructuring calls for 50 advisers, but most experts and even some State Department officials say even they may be withdrawn by the end of this year.

The training effort, which began in October and has already cost $500 million, was conceived of as the largest component of a mission billed as the most ambitious American aid effort since the Marshall Plan.

Actually, according to SIGIR’s estimate, as of October 2011, the United States has spent about $8 billion to staff, train, and equip Iraq’s police forces.

On cross-cultural police mistraining or where in heaven’s name did we find these instructors?

A lesson given by an American police instructor to a class of Iraqi trainees neatly encapsulated the program’s failings. There are two clues that could indicate someone is planning a suicide attack, the instructor said: a large bank withdrawal and heavy drinking.

The problem with that advice, which was recounted by Ginger Cruz, the former deputy inspector general at the American Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, was that few Iraqis have bank accounts and an extremist Sunni Muslim bent on carrying out a suicide attack is likely to consider drinking a cardinal sin.

Last month many of the Iraqi police officials who had been participating in the training suddenly refused to attend the seminars and PowerPoint presentations given by the Americans, saying they saw little benefit from the sessions.
The largest of the construction projects, an upgrade at the Baghdad Police College that included installing protective covering over double-wide residence trailers (to shield against mortar attacks) and new dining and laundry facilities and seminar rooms, was recently abandoned, unfinished, after an expenditure of more than $100 million. The remaining police advisers will instead work out of the American Embassy compound, where they will have limited ability to interact with Iraqi police officials.

Read in full here.

That Iraqi police officials see little benefit from these training sessions should not be news to anyone. Last year, Iraq’s Senior Deputy Minister of Interior Adnan al Asadi told SIGIR: “What tangible benefit is there to my ministry of 650,000 people who are in the midst of massive security challenges on the streets of Iraq? Very little.”

Frankly, we can understand his point. There are bombings here and there, there’s an arrest warrant for the country’s vice president for terrorism charges, and we are training them on human resources and online recruitment, potential training venues in the United States, two-hour seminars on the “mediums of communication and how they are used to better communicate,” English language, GoCase Management Software for Commission of Integrity (but lead COI programmer was killed in spring 2011), and so on and so forth.

And there is the fact that Iraq has not made the financial contribution toward the cost of the Police Development Program (PDP) as required by US law and policy. SIGIR has pointed out that Iraq is certainly able to make such a contribution, and its failure to do so raises genuine concerns about its commitment to the program.

In last year’s appearance at the Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, United States House of Representatives, Stuart W. Bowen, Jr., the Inspector General of the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction had this to say:

“While the U.S. government views the PDP as about a billion dollar capacity-development program, the Iraqis view it as 115 English-speaking police advisors (25 of whom will be stationed in the stable Kurdistan Region) providing diverse training and support. With those advisors come burdens, including requests from the U.S. Embassy for land use agreements, for visas for third country national security guards, for weapons permits for armed security teams, and the like. The land use issue is significant. The primary PDP location in Baghdad is at Forward Operating Base Shield, which is right in the middle of an unstable area of Baghdad that houses the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Oil, and the Baghdad Police College. The Iraqis expressed concern that the placement of American advisors in that location may attract attacks that could affect nearby facilities.” [SIGIR 11-003T].

Police Development Program Sites in Iraq
Image via SIGIR
(click image for larger view)

We should not forget that Thomas R. Nides, deputy secretary of state for management and resources, in a February briefing with reporters in Washington said: “We have stood up a robust police-training program, which is doing a terrific job working with the local police in training and developing a program, which I think will pay enormous dividends.”

We can’t say if anyone has actually been able to sketch fully what those “enormous dividends” are like.

In any case, Sunday is a working day at the US Embassy in Baghdad, and yesterday, it released a Tarzan statement in response to the NYT report, which can be described as “a victory cry of the bull ape” sort of statement — “Police Development Program is a Vital Part of the U.S.- Iraqi Relationship”

Despite a New York Times report to the contrary, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and the Department of State have no plans to shut down the Police Development Program (PDP) in Iraq that began in October 2011.  According to U.S. Embassy Spokesman Michael McClellan, “The Iraqi Government and the State Department regularly review the size and scope of our law enforcement assistance efforts to ensure that these  programs best meet the needs of Iraq’s security forces.“

As part of its review of staffing and space issues in early 2012, and in close consultation with the Iraqi Government, the Embassy and the Department of State decided to return the Baghdad Police College Annex to the Iraqi Ministry of Interior and relocate U.S.-funded advisors to the Embassy compound by the end of 2012.

Read the full statement here.

We are seriously wondering if 1) anyone actually believe any part of that statement; and 2) if the US Embassy in Baghdad bothered to read SIGIR’s audit of the Iraq Police Development Program: Opportunities for Improved Program Accountability and Budget Transparency from October 2011

The audit, which according to SIGIR, was initially was impaired by the State Department’s lack of cooperation, and resulted in limited access to key officials/documents slammed the State Department’s handling of the Iraqi training program:

  • DoS does not have a current assessment of Iraqi police forces’ capabilities upon which to base its program.
  • While DoS has further defined the program since the option was adopted, it has not developed specific goals on what is to be accomplished, intermediate and longer-term milestones, metrics to assess progress and accomplishments, and or means to ensure transparency and accountability for program costs and performance.
  • Without specific goals, objectives, and performance measures, the PDP could become a “bottomless pit” for U.S. dollars intended for mentoring, advising, and training the Iraqi police forces. Meetings held with Iraqi police officials and training courses provided could simply become “accomplishments,” without any indicators of changes in the management and functioning of the Iraqi police forces that can be attributed to this costly program.

So for this quarter, here is the Police Development Program advisors’ bottomless accomplishments, with more coming next quarter:

  • 399 engagements with Baghdad-based advisors—up 105% from last quarter’s 195
  •  95 engagements with Erbil-based advisors—down 41% from last quarter’s 160
  •  23 engagements with Basrah-based advisors—down 34% from last quarter’s 35

As for indicators of changes, there are a few striking ones:

  • U.S. advisors/trainers will now be officially working at the embassy compound.
  • U.S. advisors/trainers will be working at the embassy compound, sans Iraqi trainees now allergic to PowerPoint presentations
  • And U.S. advisors/trainers will be working at the embassy compound, period.


Domani Spero