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Pentagon names new Russia policy chief

The Pentagon policy shop will soon have a new official in charge of Russia, Evelyn Farkas, replacing Celeste Wallander, the previous deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Euraisa (RUE). Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Jim Miller announced the Farkas appointment in a memo to staff Tuesday, obtained by The Cable. He ...

The Pentagon policy shop will soon have a new official in charge of Russia, Evelyn Farkas, replacing Celeste Wallander, the previous deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Euraisa (RUE).

Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Jim Miller announced the Farkas appointment in a memo to staff Tuesday, obtained by The Cable. He also announced that Chris Skaluba has been appointed the principal director for Europe and NATO policy, a job he had been doing in an acting capacity, and Alice Friend will begin work next week as the new principal director for Africa.

Farkas moved over the Pentagon policy shop earlier this year, before that she was the senior advisor on public-private partnerships to Adm. James Stavridis, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Commander, U.S. European Command. A former professor at the Command and Staff College of the Marine Corps University, Farkas has served in a variety of positions, including as executive director of the congressionally mandated Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism in 2008. She speaks fluent Hungarian and German.

The Pentagon policy shop will soon have a new official in charge of Russia, Evelyn Farkas, replacing Celeste Wallander, the previous deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Euraisa (RUE).

Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Jim Miller announced the Farkas appointment in a memo to staff Tuesday, obtained by The Cable. He also announced that Chris Skaluba has been appointed the principal director for Europe and NATO policy, a job he had been doing in an acting capacity, and Alice Friend will begin work next week as the new principal director for Africa.

Farkas moved over the Pentagon policy shop earlier this year, before that she was the senior advisor on public-private partnerships to Adm. James Stavridis, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Commander, U.S. European Command. A former professor at the Command and Staff College of the Marine Corps University, Farkas has served in a variety of positions, including as executive director of the congressionally mandated Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism in 2008. She speaks fluent Hungarian and German.

"This past spring, she served concurrently as Special Advisor for the Secretary of Defense for the NATO Summit, where she helped lead DoD’s effort to manage the successful summit in Chicago.  She has extensive experience working on Capitol Hill, including 8 years as a Professional Staff Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee," Miller wrote to his staff. "She will assume the DASD RUE duties on August 27th."

Farkas will report up to Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Derek Chollet. Jennifer Walsh, who had been handling the DASD responsibilities, will return to her previous role as principal director for RUE under Farkas.

Skaluba took over the duties of principal director for NATO and Europe in an acting capacity when Julianne Smith was tapped to be Vice President Joe Biden‘s new deputy national security advisor in April. Smith was replacing Brian McKeon, who was promoted to be the NSC chief of staff. Skaluba continues to report up to DASD for NATO and Europe Jim Townsend.

Friend most recently served as the senior advisor to Principal Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Kathleen Hicks and has also served as a special assistant to former Under Secretary Michèle Flournoy and as country director for Pakistan. She will report up to DASD for Africa Amanda Dory.

"Please join Kath and me in offering warm congratulations to Evelyn, Alice and Chris!" wrote Miller.

 

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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