The Cable

The Cable goes inside the foreign policy machine, from Foggy Bottom to Turtle Bay, the White House to Embassy Row.

Names: Amend starts as new principal deputy in PM bureau

Kurt Amend, the former senior advisor for security negotiations and agreements at the State Department’s Political Military Affairs Bureau (PM), has begun his new job as the new top deputy to PM’s Assistant Secretary Andrew Shapiro. Over the past year, Amend has been a key player on issues such as negotiations involving the Northern Distribution ...

Kurt Amend, the former senior advisor for security negotiations and agreements at the State Department's Political Military Affairs Bureau (PM), has begun his new job as the new top deputy to PM's Assistant Secretary Andrew Shapiro.

Over the past year, Amend has been a key player on issues such as negotiations involving the Northern Distribution Network designed to move military supplies to Afghanistan, and the discussions over Japanese payments for American military forces based there.

In his new role, Amend, whose official title will be principal deputy assistant secretary of state, will run the PM shop when Shapiro is out of town and will also have several offices within the bureau report directly to him, including the offices of congressional and public affairs (PM/CPA), security negotiations and agreements (PM/SNA), the coordinator for the foreign policy advisors program (PM/POLAD), and the coordinator for counter-piracy and maritime security (PM/CPMS).

Kurt Amend, the former senior advisor for security negotiations and agreements at the State Department’s Political Military Affairs Bureau (PM), has begun his new job as the new top deputy to PM’s Assistant Secretary Andrew Shapiro.

Over the past year, Amend has been a key player on issues such as negotiations involving the Northern Distribution Network designed to move military supplies to Afghanistan, and the discussions over Japanese payments for American military forces based there.

In his new role, Amend, whose official title will be principal deputy assistant secretary of state, will run the PM shop when Shapiro is out of town and will also have several offices within the bureau report directly to him, including the offices of congressional and public affairs (PM/CPA), security negotiations and agreements (PM/SNA), the coordinator for the foreign policy advisors program (PM/POLAD), and the coordinator for counter-piracy and maritime security (PM/CPMS).

A career Foreign Service officer since 1988, Amend has served in India, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Kosovo. From 2003 to 2006, he worked as country director for Afghanistan in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and then served as director for Afghanistan on the National Security Council. From 2007 to 2009, Amend was consul general at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, working for undersecretary Bill Burns.

Amend replaces Tom Countryman, who was tapped to move over to the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs led by Assistant Secretary Philip Gordon. Countryman is the new deputy assistant secretary covering the Balkans, a lateral move for him. He was chosen for the move through the personal request of Deputy Secretary of State Jim Steinberg, who has a deep interest in the Balkans, after the original choice for the Balkans job, Cameron Munter, was stolen away to be the new U.S. ambassador to Pakistan.

“Steinberg really wanted somebody really experienced in the Balkans in that slot and he’s the best the department has to offer,” a State Department official said about Countryman, who has had several assignments in the Balkans over his career.

PM is looking for a replacement for Amend from the ranks of the Foreign Service over the next week or so, the official said. Amend started on Monday.

“He’s got a tremendous pol-mil background,” the official said about Amend. “I think he’s going to be a really strong replacement for Tom.”

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 josh.rogin@foreignpolicy.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

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.
An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.

Is Cold War Inevitable?

A new biography of George Kennan, the father of containment, raises questions about whether the old Cold War—and the emerging one with China—could have been avoided.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.

So You Want to Buy an Ambassadorship

The United States is the only Western government that routinely rewards mega-donors with top diplomatic posts.

Chinese President Xi jinping  toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Chinese President Xi jinping toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.

Can China Pull Off Its Charm Offensive?

Why Beijing’s foreign-policy reset will—or won’t—work out.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.

Turkey’s Problem Isn’t Sweden. It’s the United States.

Erdogan has focused on Stockholm’s stance toward Kurdish exile groups, but Ankara’s real demand is the end of U.S. support for Kurds in Syria.