Former Ambassador Matt Bryza: Fears and Frustrations on Embassy Security

Matt Bryza served as U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan from 2011-12 and as a deputy assistant secretary of state from 2005-09. He is now director of the International Centre for Defence Studies in Tallinn, Estonia and resides in Istanbul. Below is an excerpt from his December 3 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal:

I was appalled to learn weeks later that midlevel bureaucrats in Washington had implemented the cutback for Baku. My immediate and angry response got the capability restored. But for approximately two weeks, our embassy personnel—and all their family members—were left unnecessarily vulnerable because of budget decisions taken deep within the bureaucracy and against the assessment of the U.S. president’s personal representative in Azerbaijan, his ambassador.

I saw a similar lack of urgency when I returned to Washington. As I thanked diplomatic security officials for restoring the key capability that had been cut without my approval, I expected them to acknowledge that their subordinates had made a mistake. I also expected them to emphasize the need to do anything required to protect an embassy facing a serious terror threat. Instead I sensed reluctance—bred apparently by budgetary pressures, as fortress embassies like those in Baghdad and Kabul swallowed the lion’s share of the State Department’s diplomatic-security budget.

This budgetary stinginess is dangerous and self-defeating for U.S. diplomats. And it contrasts starkly with what I witnessed in a 2001 episode, when the State Department mounted an all-out campaign to beef up information security after the disappearance of a single laptop computer from the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. It is ridiculous that the State Department can find financial resources to protect classified data but not to protect the people who produce that information.

Continue reading, My Experience with Lax Embassy Security.

If link above does not work, click here (H/T to James Schumaker).

– DS

 

 

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Senate Ends March Madness With Lots of State Dept Confirmations

On March 29, the U.S. Senate finally got around to confirming the following nominees for the State Department and USAID.

PN1110 *      State/R
Tara D. Sonenshine, of Maryland, to be Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy.

PN1129 *      State/Conflict and Stabilization Operations
Frederick D. Barton, of Maine, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Conflict and Stabilization Operations).

PN1130 *      State/Reconstruction and Stabilization.
Frederick D. Barton, of Maine, to be Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization.

PN755 *      State/R/PA
Michael A. Hammer, of the District of Columbia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Counselor, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Public Affairs).

PN1003 *      State/WHA
Roberta S. Jacobson, of Maryland, a Career Member of the Senior Executive Service,
to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Western Hemisphere Affairs).

PN1038 *      State/UN/ECOSOC
Elizabeth M. Cousens, of Washington, to be Representative of the United States of America on the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, with the rank of Ambassador.

PN1039 *      State/UNGA
Elizabeth M. Cousens, of Washington, to be an Alternate Representative of the United States of America to the Sessions of the General Assembly of the United Nations, during her tenure of service as Representative of the United States of America on the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

PN1109 *      State/PRM
Anne Claire Richard, of New York, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Population, Refugees, and Migration).

PN1231 *      State/DGHR
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, of Louisiana, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Director General of the Foreign Service.

PN1053 *      Republic of Malta
Gina K. Abercrombie-Winstanley, of Ohio, 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 Malta.

PN1054 *      Oriental Republic of Uruguay
Julissa Reynoso, of New York, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Oriental Republic of Uruguay.

PN1055 *      Togolese Republic
Robert E. Whitehead, of Florida, 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 Togolese Republic.

PN1086 *      Barbados and St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Larry Leon Palmer, of Georgia, 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 Barbados, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

PN1169 *       Republic of Panama
Jonathan Don Farrar, of California, 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 Panama.

PN1172 *      Nicaragua
Phyllis Marie Powers, of Virginia, 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 Republic of Nicaragua.

PN1173 *      Kingdom of Cambodia
William E. Todd, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Executive Service, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Cambodia.

PN1182 *       Tunisian Republic
Jacob Walles, of Delaware, 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 Tunisian Republic.

PN1199 *     India
Nancy J. Powell, of Iowa, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Personal Rank of Career Ambassador, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to India.

PN1232 *      Republic of Haiti
Pamela A. White, of Maine, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Career Minister, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Haiti.

PN1233 *      Libya.
John Christopher Stevens, of California, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Libya.

PN1234 *      Republic of Kosovo
Tracey Ann Jacobson, of the District of Columbia, 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 Kosovo.

PN1371 *      Croatia
Kenneth Merten, of Virginia, 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 Croatia.

PN1399 *     Latvia
Mark A. Pekala, of Maryland, 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 Latvia.

PN1400 *      Georgia
Richard B. Norland, of Iowa, 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 Georgia.

PN1401 *      Republic of Estonia
Jeffrey D. Levine, of California, 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 Estonia.

PN1002 *      USAID
Earl W. Gast, of California, to be an Assistant Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development

Over a dozen State Department nominations remain pending in committee including the January 2011 nomination of  Matthew J. Bryza for Azerbaijan, and the October 2011 nomination of Sharon Villarosa for the Republic Mauritius and the Seychelles.

Domani Spero

Update: One of our readers alerted us to the news that Ambassador Bryza resigned from the Foreign Service in January and reportedly residing in Istanbul. A press clip from early March identifies Ambassador Bryza as the new director of the Tallinn-based International Center for Defense Studies.  In which case, nobody has bothered to notify Congress of this development as his name is still listed as pending “In the Committee on Foreign Relations.” Al Kamen has a list of other State nominees who missed the confirmation train. The names are no longer listed as “pending” in the SFRC as they have been cleared by the Committee but have yet to get their full Senate vote.

 

 

Related items:
Confirmation | Daily Digest – March 29, 2012 (PDF)