U.S. Embassy Manila’s Amb. Sung Y. Kim to be the Next U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia

 

On July 10, the WH announced the president’s intent to nominate the current U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Y. Kim to be the next ambassador to the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia. The WH released the following brief bio:
Sung Y. Kim of California, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Indonesia.
Sung Y. Kim is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Career Minister, and currently serves as Ambassador to the Philippines.  Ambassador Kim’s extensive history of public service at the Department of State, including as Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, Special Envoy for the Six Party Talks, Director of the Office of Korean Affairs, Special Representative for North Korea Policy, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.  Earlier in his career, Ambassador Kim served as a Political Officer at the Embassies in Seoul, Republic of Korea, Tokyo, Japan, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  Ambassador Kim earned his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, J.D. from Loyola University Law School, and Masters of Law from the London School of Economics and Political Science.  Ambassador Kim received the Presidential Meritorious Honor Award in 2018, and he speaks Korean and Japanese.
If confirmed, Ambassador Kim would succeed Ambassador Robert Donovan, Jr. who was appointed to Jakarta on October 3, 2016 and has served as COM since  January 12, 2017.

Ambassador Sung Kim, US Embassy Manila (Via Twitter)

 

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Yo Wanna Spank Schumer But Not @Senatemajldr McConnell For Non-Confirmation of Ambassadors? Very Unfair!

It looks like the President of the United States is ending 2018 by ranting that “heads of countries” are calling and asking why Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer “is not approving their otherwise approved Ambassadors.” Well, first, to be clear, if they are really calling the WH asking about this, they would not be calling about “their otherwise approved ambassadors” because that would mean, these countries are calling about “their” ambassadors representing them in Washington. As far as we know, the U.S. Senate is not the entity that grants agrément for foreign diplomats to be appointed to the United States.

The president appears to be talking about U.S. Ambassadors nominated to foreign countries, which means, these are “our” ambassadors, and not these countries’ ambassadors even if they are assigned to these mysterious countries (whose “heads of countries” are um apparently “calling” and asking about stuff). If this is kinda confusing, try and imagine Saudi Arabia’s MBS or Turkey’s Erdogan calling the WH and asking what Schumer did to “their otherwise approved Ambassador” – that is, the Saudi Arabian and Turkish Ambassadors to the United States. They would not call the U.S. Ambassadors destined to their respective countries “their” ambassadors. We doubt if MBS would even call and ask what Schumer did to John Abizaid, Trump’s nominee to be the U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Why would he? He got you know who. Would Erdogan call and ask what Schumer did to Trump’s nominee to be U.S. Ambassador to Turkey? He wouldn’t, cmon. There isn’t one.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1079830268708556800

Second, we should note that there are indeed multiple nominees pending on the Senate Calendar and waiting for their full Senate votes. Except for two nominations who are subjects to two Democratic Senate holds, the rest of the nominees have been waiting for GOP Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to put them up for a vote. Over the past year, the GOP appeared to prioritized the confirmation of judicial nominees. In the last 12 months, approximately 70 Judiciary nominees were confirmed while only about 47 State Department nominees were confirmed for the same duration (excluding USAID, UN, and Foreign Service lists).

We have a separate post on the nominations that are currently pending at the SFRC. We are anticipating that most of these nominees will be renominated at the beginning of the next Congress, and that most of them will probably get confirmation from the Senate given the GOP’s expanded majority in the 116th Congress. We don’t know how many more judicial nominees the GOP is planning to shovel through the confirmation process, however, but if there is a large enough number, those again could have an impact on the speed of confirmation for State Department nominees.

Below are the nominations pending in the Executive Calendar. May be there is a potential for the U.S. Senate to have mass confirmation of these nominations on January 2? You all can hope, right? We’ll have to wait and see. 

DEPARTMENT OF STATE

Carol Z. Perez, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of MinisterCounselor, to be Director General of the Foreign Service, vice Arnold A. Chacon, resigned.

Ellen E. McCarthy, of Virginia, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Intelligence and Research), vice Daniel Bennett Smith.

Stephen Akard, of Indiana, to be Director of the Office of Foreign Missions, with the rank of Ambassador, vice Gentry O. Smith, resigned.

AMBASSADORS (CAREER)

Lynne M. Tracy, of Ohio, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of MinisterCounselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Armenia.

Christopher Paul Henzel, 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 Yemen.

Sarah-Ann Lynch, 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 Co-operative Republic of Guyana

Earle D. Litzenberger, 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 Azerbaijan.

Matthew John Matthews, 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 Brunei Darussalam.

Michael S. Klecheski, of New York, 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 Mongolia.

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All Promotions Into/Within the Senior Foreign Service Must be Vetted by White House?

Posted: 1:23 am  ET

 

State/HR recently sent a Frequently Asked Questions to newly promoted OCs concerning the differences between being an FS-01, the highest rank in the regular Foreign Service, and as OC, the starter rank in the Senior Foreign Service. The FAQ talks about pay, bidding, EERs, benefits, and of course, promotions. And then there’s this question, and apparent answer:

Q: When are promotions from FS-01 to OC effective?
Answer: Promotion boards issue a list in the fall of officers “recommended” for promotion from FS-01 to OC, OC to MC and MC to CM. However, all promotions into and within the Senior Foreign Service must be vetted by the White House, confirmed by the Senate and attested by the President. This process can take several months. Promotions into and within the SFS are effective the first pay period following Presidential attestation. However, you may start bidding as an OC as soon as the promotion list is released by the board.

Yo! You know this is nuts, right? The White House can barely vet its own staffers, and it will now vet all promotions of FSOs into and within the Senior Foreign Service? With one exception that we are aware of (and we’ll write about that case separately), this WH vetting requirement is new, and yes, we remember the “improved” vetting required by the SFRC back in 2015 (SFRC Bullies Diplomats Up For Promotion to Self-Certify They Have Not Been Convicted of Any Crime).  Is the WH also vetting all senior promotions out of the Pentagon? Who’s going to be doing this and what does this vetting includes? Also whose great idea was this, pray tell?  Will State/HR and A/DGHR soon say that this vetting has always been done by the White House since the beginning of whatevs?

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Special Rep for North Korea Policy Joseph Yun to Retire This Week

Posted: 2:55 am ET

 

Another senior FSO, a member of the shrinking minister-counselor ranks of the Foreign Service is heading for the exit. Special Representative for North Korea Policy Joseph Yun is stepping down later this week, a decision that he told reporters, “is really my decision.” NBC News says that Yun has “decided to retire for personal reasons,” according to a State Department spokesperson.

Ambassador Yun who was previously U.S. Ambassador to Malaysia (2013-2016) was appointed Special Representative for North Korea Policy and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Korea and Japan in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs (State/EAO) in October 2016.

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@StateDept FS Promotion Statistics 2014-2017: Counselors (FE-OC) to Minister Counselors (FE-MC)

Posted: 2:20 am ET

 

Below is the comparative look of the State Department Foreign Service promotion statistics from 2014-2017 for Counselors (FE-OC equivalent to One-star rank (O-7)) to Minister Counselors (FE-MC equivalent to Two-star rank (O-8)). The average length of service of FSOs promoted from OC to MC in 2014-2017 is 25 years.

The number of FSOs who competed for promotion annually from 2014-2017 ranges from 215 in 2014 to 246 in 2017.  The number of FSOs promoted to from OC to MC was highest in 2016 at 61 FSOs or 24.3%, and lowest in 2017 at 29 FSOs or 11.8%.

That’s less than half the previous year, and that’s notable.

The FE-OC Counselor rank is the first rung in the Senior Foreign Service. The maximum time-in-class (TIC) limits for career generalist and specialist Senior Foreign Service members in this rank is seven (7) years. If FE-OCs are not getting promoted to FE-MCs because the promotion numbers have been shrunk, and they hit their time-in-class, they become subject to mandatory retirement upon expiration of their TIC and their time-in-service (TIS) limits.

Limiting the promotion numbers has been called a “stealth RIF” by old timers who remember the decimation of the career services in the 1990’s.

Via state.gov 11/24/17  FS Promotion Statistics

Again, please note that these numbers only include State Department Foreign Service numbers, and do not include USAID, Commerce, and Agriculture. For  those not familiar with the FS system, conal competition recognizes potential and competency in the primary career field. Members recommended for functional promotions demonstrate full proficiency across the six core competencies in a breadth of positions in their primary functional field (cone).

Per 3 FAH-1 H 2320 with the 2005 Selection Boards, classwide competition replaced multifunctionality.

The Department’s goal in instituting classwide competition is to assist the Department in expanding the pool of officers with broad vision and deep experience who are prepared to assume leadership positions in the future. Diplomacy in the 21st Century engages issues that are increasingly global in nature and/or scope, rapid changes in technology which are changing the way we do business, crises requiring effective and rapid response, the continuing need to promote actively democracy and respect for human rights, and threats to our safety and security that continue to surface. It needs broad-based and flexible officers, with leadership skills and the demonstrated ability to plan, organize, administer, and evaluate programs in both the members primary career field and across functional lines, who can transform resources and policy into results, while managing people effectively. While conal competition recognizes potential and competency in the primary career field, classwide competition builds on conal expertise by recognizing potential and competency across functional lines. The Board is asked to rate each employee in the classwide competition based on the relative strength of that members Performance Folder and demonstrated ability to perform effectively at the next higher level.

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