Amb. Rena Bitter to be Asst Secretary of State for Consular Affairs

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On April 21, President Biden announced his intent to nominate SFSO and former Ambassador Rena Bitter to be the next Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs. The WH released the following brief bio:
Rena Bitter, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of State, Consular Affairs, Department of State
Rena Bitter, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, is Dean of the Leadership and Management School at the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute and a former U.S. Ambassador to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.  Previously, she was the U.S. Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and chief of the consular section in Amman, Jordan.  She also served in London, Bogota, and Mexico City.  In Washington, she was Director of the State Department’s Operations Center, and a Special Assistant to the Secretary of State.  Bitter has a Bachelor’s Degree from Northwestern University, and a J.D. from Southern Methodist University.  She is a recipient of American Citizens Abroad’s Thomas Jefferson Award for outstanding service to the American community abroad.  She speaks Spanish, Arabic and Vietnamese.

CG Rena Bitter with Ambassador Ted Osius | Via FB (2016)

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (Jun 27, 1952; P.L. 82-414; 66 Stat. 174) established within the Department of State a Bureau of Security and Consular Affairs, headed by an Administrator designated by the Secretary of State with rank equal to that of an Assistant Secretary. In 1962, this position became a Presidential appointee subject to the advice and consent of the Senate. In 1977, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1978 changed the Administrator’s title to “Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs.”
All appointees to the Consular Affairs bureau from 1953 to 1980 were non-career appointees. This trend was interrupted by the appointments of career FSOs Diego Asencio in 1980, and again in 1983 with  Joan Clark. Political appointees assumed charged of the bureau in 1989 when Elizabeth Tamposi was appointed, and more recently in 2017 with Carl Risch’s appointment. If confirmed Ambassador Bitter would only be the seventh career FSO to lead the most public facing bureau of the State Department.

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Senate Confirmations: Bitter, Kim, Young, Symington, Donovan

Posted: 1:38 am ET
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The U.S. Senate confirmed the following ambassador nominations on Wednesday, September 28. Five nominations included in SFRC’s business meeting on September 27 did not make it to the full Senate vote (see bottom list).  About 17 other ambassador nominations and FS lists are currently pending in committee and do not have scheduled hearings as of this writing.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE

Executive Calendar #728
Rena Bitter – to be Ambassador of the United States of America to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic

Executive Calendar #729
Sung Y. Kim – to be Ambassador of the United States of America to the Republic of the Philippines

Executive Calendar #730
Andrew Robert Young – to be Ambassador of the United States of America to Burkina Faso

Executive Calendar #731
W. Stuart Symington – to be Ambassador of the United States of America to the Federal Republic of Nigeria

Executive Calendar #732
Joseph R. Donovan Jr. – to be Ambassador of the United States of America to the Republic of Indonesia

 

UNITED NATIONS

Executive Calendar #733
Christopher Coons – to be Representative of the United States of America to the Seventy-first Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations

Executive Calendar #734
Ronald H. Johnson – to be Representative of the United States of America to the Seventy-first Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations

 

Waiting for full Senate vote:

The following nomination and FS lists were in the agenda of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee but appear not to make it through the full Senate vote. Note that the hyperlinked lists are those posted in the Senate’s Executive Calendar.

Ms. Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir, of Connecticut, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Malaysia

Jorge A. Abudei, et al., dated September 6, 2016 (PN 1704), as amended — (PN1704-2)

John Robert Adams, et al., dated September 6, 2016 (PN 1705) – (PN1705)

Jennisa Paredes, et al., dated July 13, 2016 (PN 1643), as amended — (PN1643-2)

Diana Isabel Acosta, et al., dated July 13, 2016 (PN 1642), as amended — (PN1642-2)

 

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Ambassador Nomination: Rena Bitter — From HCMC to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic

Posted: 12:02 am ET
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On May 19, President Obama announced Rena Bitter as his nominee for Ambassador to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.  The WH released the following brief bio:

Rena Bitter, a career member of the Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, is Consul General at the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, a position she has held since 2013.  Previously, Ms. Bitter served in the Department of State’s Operations Center as Director from 2010 to 2012 and Deputy Director from 2009 to 2010.  Ms. Bitter was Consular Section Chief at the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan from 2006 to 2009, and Chief of the Nonimmigrant Visa Unit in the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in London, United Kingdom from 2003 to 2005.  She was a Transatlantic Diplomatic Fellow in London from 2002 to 2003.  Before that, Ms. Bitter served as a Special Assistant in the Office of the Secretary of State from 2001 to 2002 and on the Department’s Executive Secretariat Staff from 2000 to 2001.  Since joining the Foreign Service in 1994, Ms. Bitter has also served at posts in Colombia and Mexico.

Ms. Bitter received a B.S. from Northwestern University and a J.D. from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law.

Via FB

CG Rena Bitter with Ambassador Ted Osius | Via FB

If confirmed, Ms. Bitter would succeed career diplomat, Dan Clunewho was appointed chief of mission to the US Embassy in Vientiane in September 2013.  The Lao People’s Democratic Republic is one of the 42 countries in the world where we haven’t had a political appointee. Ever.

As of this writing. the Certificates of Competency required under the Foreign Service Act of 1980 for submission to the SFRC and made available online by State/HR for every nominee since 2014 have yet to include the President’s nominees of May 18.  Once the certificates are available, they will be posted here: http://www.state.gov/m/dghr/coc/index.htm.

 

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