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Biden to give career diplomat a senior State Department job

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US President Joe Biden is set to appoint seasoned career diplomat John Bass to a key leadership position at the US State Department as part of his administration’s efforts to revive a demoralized diplomatic corps.

Bass, the former US ambassador to Afghanistan, Turkey and Georgia, will be appointed under secretary of state for management, according to a White House official familiar with the matter.

US President Joe Biden is set to appoint seasoned career diplomat John Bass to a key leadership position at the US State Department as part of his administration’s efforts to revive a demoralized diplomatic corps.

Bass, the former US ambassador to Afghanistan, Turkey and Georgia, will be appointed under secretary of state for management, according to a White House official familiar with the matter.

The post of Undersecretary has a disproportionate role in the management of employees of state departments. Patrick Kennedy, who was Under Secretary of State from 2007 to 2017, has been described by a former diplomat as the most powerful man you have ever heard of. During the Trump administration, then-US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo brought in former business partner and longtime colleague and friend Brian Bulatao to fill the post.

Bass’s choice of Bidens could be a boost to the besieged ranks of the Foreign Service, where morale has plunged under the Trump administration amid hiring freezes, allegations of mismanagement by political appointees, and death. ‘an impeachment trial that has drawn career diplomats into a political maelstrom.

Bass, if confirmed by the Senate, would bring a career diplomat to one of the agency’s most senior positions, a move that could be seen as a confidence-building measure in Washington and with diplomats stationed at abroad. He held three difficult ambassadorial posts in the latter part of his diplomatic career. He was in Georgia from 2009 to 2012 following the 2008 Russian invasion that broke up two separatist territories, before confrontation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as the top US diplomat in Ankara amid deteriorating US-Turkey relations. Bass served as Ambassador to Afghanistan for the last time, where he oversaw the reduction of the U.S. diplomatic footprint in a warzone embassy and handled the diplomatic aspects of former U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision. to open negotiations with the Taliban and to begin a withdrawal of American troops. after nearly two decades of war. Bass left Kabul in January 2020.

James Jeffrey, another former ambassador to Ankara who last served as the Trump administration’s senior envoy for the Syrian conflict, credited Bass with the outfit of the United States embassy in Turkey during the the 2016 coup attempt against Erdogan, an episode in which Turkish F-16s struck targets. near the American diplomatic complex.

There is no better officer in the foreign service, said Jeffrey Foreign police. This is League A.

If confirmed, Bass is expected to face a number of internal management challenges at the State Department, many of which predate the Trump administration. Congress has stepped up pressure on the State Department in recent years to improve its diversity and inclusion backlog and deal with a steep attrition crisis; up to 1 in 3 diplomat looks at the exit door, according to a recent study.

The Biden administration has also struggled to fill top national security positions, facing paperwork delays and congestion in Congress. Nearly 60 State Department candidates are still awaiting confirmation, although some of them have already been heard by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and some candidates are being selected by Senate Republicans for their opposition to Bidens’ policy on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany.

Sources

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2/ https://foreignpolicy.com/2021/07/21/biden-john-bass-career-diplomat-senior-state-department-management-post-trump/

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