Husband-and-wife ambassadors head to Europe
The Washington "power couple" is a familiar model: officials are often hitched to journalists, staffers to academics, lawmakers with lobbyists, and on and on. It’s a natural phenomenon in such a small and social town filled with so many policy professionals. But in what is much less common, a husband-and-wife team is set to represent ...
The Washington "power couple" is a familiar model: officials are often hitched to journalists, staffers to academics, lawmakers with lobbyists, and on and on. It's a natural phenomenon in such a small and social town filled with so many policy professionals.
The Washington "power couple" is a familiar model: officials are often hitched to journalists, staffers to academics, lawmakers with lobbyists, and on and on. It’s a natural phenomenon in such a small and social town filled with so many policy professionals.
But in what is much less common, a husband-and-wife team is set to represent the United States as ambassadors in adjoining European countries. Mary Bruce Warlick is set to be confirmed as the U.S. ambassador to Serbia and her husband James Warlick is on his way to represent America as ambassador to Bulgaria.
"This is actually the first time ever in the history of our diplomatic corps where we’re having hearings for a husband-and-wife team at the same time," Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, said at the couple’s confirmation hearing on Wednesday.
"They can meet up at the border," noted a congressional staffer with a smile.
Mary Warlick was most recently the acting deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasian policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Prior to that, she was the acting deputy assistant secretary for European and NATO policy.
James Warlick was principal deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of International Organizations, and, prior to that, director of the Office of European Security and Political Affairs in State’s Bureau of Eurasian and European Affairs.
The Warlicks aren’t the only husband-and-wife team to find new homes in the administration. In fact, it turns out that these sorts of "Obamarriages" are surprisingly common.
Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia Kurt Campbell is married to Treasury under secretary nominee Lael Brainard. His former CNAS partner Michèle Flournoy, the new under secretary of defense for policy, attended the confirmation hearing for her husband, W. Scott Gould, on his way to becoming deputy secretary for veterans affairs.
The National Security Council’s Samantha Power has a short walk if she wants to have lunch with her husband, White House regulatory czar Cass Sunstein. And White House Communications Director Anita Dunn shares a commute (although not for long) with her husband Robert Bauer, the next White House counsel.
And there are many more: Shere Abbott and James Steinberg, Sarah Feinberg and Dan Pfeiffer, Antony Blinken and Evan Ryan, Tom Donilon and Cathy Russell, just to name a few.
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at email@example.com.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @joshrogin
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