The Cable

Big changes atop State’s Political-Military bureau

The Political-Military (PM) bureau at the State Department has a host of new leaders this week, including a new principal deputy, another new deputy, and two new senior advisors. Andrew Shapiro is the assistant secretary for PM and reports up to Undersecretary of State for Arms Control Ellen Tauscher. Shapiro and Tauscher aren’t going anywhere, ...

The Political-Military (PM) bureau at the State Department has a host of new leaders this week, including a new principal deputy, another new deputy, and two new senior advisors.

Andrew Shapiro is the assistant secretary for PM and reports up to Undersecretary of State for Arms Control Ellen Tauscher. Shapiro and Tauscher aren’t going anywhere, but below them there are a lot of new faces. Thomas Kelly replaces Kurt Amend as principal deputy assistant secretary for PM. Amend retired from the State Department and will now join the private sector after 22 years in the Foreign Service, though after only about a year as the No. 2 official at PM.

Kelly’s most recent post was as consul general at the U.S. embassy in Sao Paolo, Brazil, where he worked directly for Ambassador Tom Shannon. Kelly’s return to Washington is something a reunion for him and Shannon, because Shannon is filling in as acting undersecretary of state for political affairs while the State Department awaits the confirmation of President Barack Obama‘s nominee, Wendy Sherman.  

Before Brazil, Kelly served as deputy chief of mission for three years (2004-2007) in Vilnius, Lithuania, under current State Department Executive Secretary Steve Mull, and then in Buenos Aires, Argentina, under current Ambassador to Mexico Tony Wayne. His job will be to run the bureau when Shapiro is on the road and manage the counter piracy, political advisors, and congressional and public affairs offices.

Amend was actually dual-hatted as principal deputy assistant secretary and as the official in charge of PM’s negotiations and agreements team, so Shapiro brought on Tom Daughton as a senior advisor to handle the latter part of Amend’s portfolio. Daughton’s most recent positions were as deputy chief of mission in Lebanon and Algeria.

His main responsibilities are to handle security negotiations for status of forces agreements, such as the negotiations to reposition U.S. forces in Japan that Amend handled, and issues related to navigation and overflight rights for U.S. forces abroad. Importantly, this includes the  Northern Distribution Network, which speed goods from Russia and Central Asia to U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Daughton reports up to Kelly.

Maj. General Walter Givhan has also joined the PM bureau as a deputy assistant secretary, replacing Maj. Gen. Tom Masiello, who was a brigadier general when he joined PM but who just was awarded his second star and has now returned to the Pentagon as the director of special programs in the office of the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics.

Givhan is now the highest ranking military officer at the State Department, and his appointment is meant to cement the presence of a high-ranking active duty officer in PM, a State Department official told The Cable. Before Masiello, an active-duty military general hadn’t served in a high ranking PM position since the 1980s, although retired officers have played roles, including former assistant secretary Mark Kimmitt, who retired as a brigadier general before coming to State.

The State Department official also said that Deputy Secretary Bill Burns‘ father was an active duty military officer and a deputy assistant secretary in the PM bureau, and that Burns recommended returning a high-ranking active-duty military man to the management tier of the PM bureau.

Givhan has responsibility for overseeing policy and plans, global peacekeeping issues, DOD force posture issues, and weapons removal and abatements. He is currently State’s point person in the effort to secure the thousands of MANPADS currently floating around Libya. Givhan also is in charge of the international security operations office, a 24/7 military action support team.

Last but not least, Shapiro has hired Max Bergmann as a senior advisor in the PM front office. Bergmann was most recently working with the Ploughshares Fund and the Center for American Progress, where he blogged a lot about New START on CAP’s Think Progress site. He’s also the editor of an American soccer blog called "Association Football."

A decade of Global Thinkers

A decade of Global Thinkers

The past year's 100 most influential thinkers and doers Read Now

Trending Now Sponsored Links by Taboola

By Taboola

More from Foreign Policy

By Taboola