The Cable

Names: Africa, NSC

Sources tell The Cable that retired ambassador Johnnie Carson, a long time Africa hand and foreign service officer who has recently served as the national intelligence officer for Africa, is going to be named assistant secretary of state for Africa. Michelle Gavin, a former Senate foreign policy advisor to Sen. Russell Feingold (D-WI) and the ...

Sources tell The Cable that retired ambassador Johnnie Carson, a long time Africa hand and foreign service officer who has recently served as the national intelligence officer for Africa, is going to be named assistant secretary of state for Africa. Michelle Gavin, a former Senate foreign policy advisor to Sen. Russell Feingold (D-WI) and the successor to Obama foreign policy advisor Denis McDonough as legislative director to Sen. Ken Salazar (D-CO), will be named to an NSC slot on Africa.

Denis McDonough was among senior staff welcomed to the White House by Obama Wednesday. But what’s his title going to be? Deputy assistant to the president.

A Hill foreign policy hand notes, "Traditionally, the Deputy National Security Advisor carries the title of Deputy Assistant. So Tom Donilon will have that title. That Denis will be considered on par with the Deputy National Security Advisor is very significant and impressive." But how he will share responsibilities with NSC chief of staff Mark Lippert, Donilon and NSC senior directors, remains unclear. UPDATE: Former Bush I NSC official Philip Zelikow notes, "For at least the last 8 years, the deputy national security advisor (Donilon’s job) has carried Assistant to the President rank. That precedent was first set when Bob Gates was promoted to ‘Assistant’ rank while he was in the job during Bush 41. Check to make sure that’s not the case before assuming that McDonough has the same formal rank as Donilon. The question of how to plug McDonough and Lippert into the system is certainly legitimate. There are no precedents for this in the last two terms. Those who remember the Clinton years will remember that they had a kind of #3 job, first held by Nancy Soderberg and later by Mara Rudman." Another former NSC official reiterates, that the "principal Deputy National Security Advisor has traditionally carried the title ‘Assistant to the president and Deputy National Security Advisor and ….’ Some of the other, newer Deputy National Security Advisor positions created in recent years have not carried the ‘Assistant to the President’ title, but they are exceptions to the rule."

UPDATE: A tipster says that former Clinton NSC vet Mike Hammer will be tapped as NSC spokesman. "Hammer is smart, a complete professional, has done this before, and is senior enough that he would likely have solid access to the goings on in the White House," the tipster says.

Tag: Africa

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