The Cable

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

Names: Mike Hammer gets settled at State, Vietor moves up

The National Security Staff’s former top spokesman Mike Hammer began his new job in Foggy Bottom on Monday, becoming the top deputy to Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P.J. Crowley. "Starting [Monday], Mike Hammer is transitioning back to the State Department as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs," Crowley told ...

The National Security Staff's former top spokesman Mike Hammer began his new job in Foggy Bottom on Monday, becoming the top deputy to Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P.J. Crowley.

"Starting [Monday], Mike Hammer is transitioning back to the State Department as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs," Crowley told The Cable. "We are delighted that Mike is bringing his White House and NSS experience back to State."

Hammer, a long time Foreign Service officer who came back from a stint in Bolivia to join the NSS, will be the "chief operating officer" of the State Department's public affairs organization, running the office and dealing with the media, especially the Spanish-speaking press. He will work with the White House on strategic planning related to key foreign policy matters.

The National Security Staff’s former top spokesman Mike Hammer began his new job in Foggy Bottom on Monday, becoming the top deputy to Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P.J. Crowley.

"Starting [Monday], Mike Hammer is transitioning back to the State Department as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs," Crowley told The Cable. "We are delighted that Mike is bringing his White House and NSS experience back to State."

Hammer, a long time Foreign Service officer who came back from a stint in Bolivia to join the NSS, will be the "chief operating officer" of the State Department’s public affairs organization, running the office and dealing with the media, especially the Spanish-speaking press. He will work with the White House on strategic planning related to key foreign policy matters.

Crowley said the State Department public affairs operation is now fully staffed, with Mark Toner as the acting deputy spokesman and Heidi Fulton having responsibility over the press office.

"Mike has been, as he has been to you all, a tremendous resource for all of us here," said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs. "We will miss him but he’s leaving the White House to be greatly promoted.  So I think that’s a wonderful thing."

White House assistant press secretary Tommy Vietor will be promoted to replace Hammer as the lead spokesperson for the NSS. Vietor has been with Obama since his 2004 Senate campaign and worked as press secretary in his Senate press office before moving over to the White House after the election.

When Gibbs first announced Vietor’s promotion on Jan. 14, one member of the press corps joked, "The little boy is all grown up."

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

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