When Special Envoys Get Dumped, Issues and MENA Region Get Drumpfed

“Rex Tillerson outlines a major State Department reform that promotes business, war on Islamic State, while downplaying African peacemaking and outreach to Muslim world,” writes Colum Lynch for the Foreign Policy magazine.  The 45th administration argues that this will achieve a 30 percent reduction in the State Department’s budget.  However, this will also send a message about U.S. priorities to the global village–not just the countries affected, which are mostly outside of the G-20 circle.

In effect, the Tru mp administration has disrupted the Middle East & North Africa region diplomatically by removing senior envoy positions at the U.S. Department of State, which one would hope, will not further disrupt the region politically and economically.

Wait–remember the Qatar kerfuffle earlier this summer when Tr ump intervened in a Russia-UAE accusation of terror activities by Qatar?  And it turned out that his staff had secret meetings with both Russia and the UAE prior to his election win?

Here’s a listing of positions the 45th U.S. administration has removed or demoted in status by folding the responsibilities within a larger regional department.  PITAPOLICY itemized them from Secretary Tillerson’s memo to senior ranking Senator Bob Corkor.  (The full memo is pasted below for your review.)  Note the country locations and issue areas that will no longer receive specific attention, but the positions for “Special Advisor for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations” and “Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.” remain.  Decide for yourself if Lynch’s conclusions are mostly correct.

  • Senior Advisor for MEK Resettlement

  • Special Coordinator for Libya
  • Coordinator for Cybersecurity Issues
  • U.S. Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation

    as well as the U.S. Special Representative to Muslim Communities

  • U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (Note: the U.S. still maintains troops in Afghanistan)
  • Senior Advisor for Secretary Initiatives
  • Senior Coordinator for International InformationTechnology Diplomacy
  • Special Envoy to Syria/Senior Advisor on Partner Engagement for Syria’s Foreign Fighters
  • Special Advisor on Youth Global Issues
  • Lead Coordinator on Iran Nuclear Implementation
  • U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change

  • U.S. Special Representative for International Labor Affairs
  • U.S. Special Advisor for International Disabilities Rights
  • Special Envoy to the South Sudan

As a result of these cuts, Tillerson argues that the U.S. taxpayers will be saved 10 billion dollars over the next five years.  But at what cost?

Letter to Senate from U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson 

The Honorable

Bob Corker, Chairman Committee on Foreign Relations
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Mr. Chairman:

Consistent with my commitment to Congress, I alert you to and seek your feedback on steps we are considering to improve the ability of the U.S. Department of State and USAID to achieve critical foreign policy goals that are currently the responsibility of special envoys or special representatives.

Over the past four decades of U.S. diplomacy, Congress and the President have utilized these positions to assert U.S. leadership abroad and address emerging challenges. A few examples include mediating peace in Northern Ireland, restoring full diplomatic relations with Burma, addressing threats to global health, and serving as representatives to international organizations. Today, nearly seventy such positions exist within the State Department, even after many of the underlying policy challenges these positions were created to address have been resolved.

I believe that the Department will be able to better execute its mission by integrating certain envoys and special representative offices within the regional and functional bureaus, and eliminating those that have accomplished or outlived their original purpose. In some cases, the State Department would leave in place several positions and offices, while in other cases, positions and offices would be either consolidated or integrated with the most appropriate bureau. If an issue no longer requires a special envoy or representative, then an appropriate bureau will manage any legacy responsibilities.

This integration will address concerns that under the current structure, a special envoy or representative can circumvent the regional and functional bureaus that make up the core of the State Department. In each case, the allocated budget, staff members, and responsibilities would be reallocated to the appropriate bureau. Issues that require high-level interaction with senior foreign officials will be assigned to a senior official to whom authority is delegated to conduct such diplomacy.

In addition, this integration would also eliminate redundancies that dilute the ability of a bureau to deliver on its primary functions. Empowering regional and functional bureaus will make knowledge and resources more accessible, provide clarity in reporting authority, strengthen

communication channels, and create a more efficient State Department. The goal of restructuring these offices is to ensure that each policy priority efficiently aligns with the resources housed in the regional and functional bureaus. In this regard, I have determined that the changes proposed will advance U.S. national security interests, and will help to counter the influence of U.S. adversaries and competitors.

Pursuant to section 7015(a) and 7034(l) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2017 (Div. J, P.L. 115-31), the Department is notifying and reporting to the Committees on certain organizational changes related to special envoys and

related positions. Additionally, I have also reported on changes to special envoys and related positions that do not require notification to the Committees.

I look forward to working with you to make the State Department and USAID better equipped to address the foreign policy challenges of the United States.

Sincerely,

Rex W. Tillerson Secretary of State

In accordance with section 7015(a) and 7034(l) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2017 (Div. J, P.L. 115-31), the Department is notifying and reporting to the Committees on certain organizational changes related to special envoys and related positions. Personnel and funding levels are based on full-year allocations for FY 2017.

The following ambassador-at-large and special envoy positions will be retained and organized within the appropriate bureau or Under Secretary:

The Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues will continue to be an ambassador- level position confirmed by the U.S. Senate, which will report to the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights (J), where it will continue to promote the rights and empowerment of women and girls through U.S. foreign policy. This will involve realigning 28 positions and $5,326,000 in support costs within Diplomatic and Consular Programs (D&CP) from the Office of the Secretary to the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights (J).

The U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism will be retained and the office returned to the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) where the Special Envoy can be assisted by the entire team of experts in the bureau. This will involve realigning 2 positions and $130,000 in support costs within D&CP from the Office of the Secretary to the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL).

The Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs will be retained and report to the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights (J), where it will continue to lead and coordinate the U.S. government’s diplomatic engagement on hostage-related matters. This will involve realigning 5 positions and $505,000 in support costs within D&CP from the Office of the Secretary to the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights (J).


The following ambassador-at-large and special envoy positions will be retained and expanded:

The Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom (IRF) will continue to be an ambassador-level position confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and will be organized under and report to the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights (J). Additionally, IRF will assume the functions and staff of the U.S. Special Representative for Religion and Global Affairs, U.S. Special Representative to Muslim Communities, U.S. Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and Special Advisor for Religious Minorities in the Near East and South/Central Asia.

For the Special Advisor for Religious Minorities in the Near East and South/Central Asia this will involve the realignment of 1 position and $139,000 in support costs within D&CP from the Office of the Secretary to the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom (IRF).

For the U.S. Special Representative for Religion and Global Affairs this will involve removing the title and realigning 10 positions and $1,303,000 in support costs within D&CP from the Office of the Secretary to the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom (IRF).

For the U.S. Special Representative to Muslim Communities this will involve removing the title and realigning 4 positions and $163,000 in support costs within D&CP from the Office of the Secretary to the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom (IRF).

For the U.S. Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation this will involve removing the title and realigning 1 position and $153,000 in support costs within D&CP from the Office of the Secretary to the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom (IRF).

The Ambassador-at-Large and Coordinator of U.S. Government Activities to Combat HIV/AIDS Globally (S/GAC) will continue to be an ambassador-level position confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and continue to perform the functions of the U.S. Special Representative for Global Health Policy (S/GHP). We intend to request that Congress amend the statute to expand the title to include both positions to reflect a more comprehensive approach to global health. There are no resource implications for this change.

Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues (SEHI) will be retained and continue to be organized within the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs (EUR). SEHI will assume the functions, which include providing policy advice on Holocaust issues, and staff of the Special Adviser for Holocaust Issues. There are no resource implications for this change.

The following special envoy, special coordinator, and special representative titles will be retained, dual hatted with an existing position, and organized appropriately within the appropriate bureau:

The Assistant Secretary for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES) will be dual hatted as the Special Representative for Environment and Water Resources. One position and $226,000 in support costs will be reprogrammed within D&CP from the Office of the Secretary to the Bureau of Oceans International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES).

The Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues will continue to be dual hatted with the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights (J) who will promote substantive dialogue between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama. There are no resource implications for this change.

The Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights (J) will be dual hatted with the title and functions and assume the staff of the U.S. Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights Issues. The Under Secretary is responsible for the human rights portfolio, including the publication of the annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. This will involve the realignment of 1 position and $224,000 in support costs within D&CP from the Office of the Secretary to the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights (J).


The following special envoy function will be transferred to USAID:

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will assume the functions and staff of the Office of Global Food Security (GFS). This change will eliminate duplicative work and further empower USAID to continue to advance global food security effectively. The Department will seek to realign GFS resources to USAID in future budget requests.

The following special envoy, special representative, special advisor, and coordinator titles will be removed and the functions performed by the appropriate bureaus:

The following titles will be removed and the functions and staff assumed by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL):

U.S. Special Advisor for International Disabilities Rights. Functions include leading the comprehensive strategy to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities internationally. This will involve realigning 3 positions and $445,000 in support costs within D&CP from the Office of the Secretary to the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL).

U.S. Special Representative for International Labor Affairs. Functions include furthering U.S. foreign policy goals related to human rights, democracy promotion, trade, and sustainable growth. This will involve realigning 1 position and $186,000 in support costs within D&CP from the Office of the Secretary to the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL).

The titles for following positions will be removed and the functions and staff assumed by the Bureau of Oceans and International and Scientific Affairs (OES):

U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change. Functions include engaging partners and allies around the world on climate change issues. This will involve realigning 7 positions and $761,000 in support costs within D&CP from the Office of the Secretary to the Bureau of Oceans and International and Scientific Affairs (OES).

U.S. Special Representative for the Arctic Region. Functions include advancing U.S. interests in the Arctic. This will involve realigning 5 positions and $438,000 in support costs within D&CP from the Office of the Secretary to the Bureau of Oceans and International and Scientific Affairs (OES).

The titles for following positions will be removed and the functions and staff assumed by the Bureau of African Affairs (AF):

U.S. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa & Democratic Republic of Congo. The Special Envoy position currently is organized in AF, however the authorized staff positions and associated funding are currently in the Office of the Secretary and will be reprogrammed to AF. This will involve realigning 4 positions and $957,000 in support costs within D&CP from the Office of the Secretary to the Bureau of African Affairs (AF).

U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan. This will involve realigning 6 positions and $4,408,000 in support costs within D&CP from the Office of the Secretary to the Bureau of African Affairs (AF). We intend to request that Congress repeal the statutory provision for this special envoy position, since a deputy assistant secretary in AF already fulfills the responsibilities.

The titles for following positions will be removed and the functions and staff assumed by the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs (EAP):

U.S. Special Representative and Policy Coordinator for Burma. We intend to request that Congress repeal of the statutory requirement for this special representative position, since the mission of this position has been accomplished with the 2016 formation of a democratically elected, civilian-led government and the rebuilding of relations with Burma. Any legacy and future responsibilities will be addressed by EAP. This will involve realigning 1 position and $224,000 in support costs within D&CP from the Office of the Secretary to the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs (EAP).

The titles for following positions will be removed and the functions and staff assumed by the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA):

The Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA) will assign the functions of the Special Coordinator for Libya and Senior Advisor for MEK Resettlement (SCL) to a deputy assistant secretary. The title will be removed and 2 positions and $379,000 in support costs will remain in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA).

The Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA) will retain the functions of the U.S. Special Envoy for Syria. The title will be removed and the functions continue to be performed by a deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA). The title will be removed and 2 positions and $379,000 in support costs will remain in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA).

The titles for following positions will be removed and the functions and staff assumed by the Bureau of Economic & Business Affairs (EB):

U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy. The functions, which include the formulation, coordination, and oversight of policy related to information and communication technology, will be assigned to a deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of Economic & Business Affairs (EB). There are no resource implications in this change because they are staying within EB.

Senior Coordinator for International Information Technology Diplomacy. Functions include coordinating with responsible departments and agencies on foreign policy efforts related to international information technology infrastructure and internet issues. There is currently no position nor support cost for the Senior Coordinator for International Information Technology Diplomacy. The functions will transfer from the Office of the Secretary to the Bureau of Economic & Business Affairs (EB).

Coordinator for Cyber Issues (CCI). Functions encompass advancing the full range of U.S. interests in cyberspace including security, economic issues, freedom of expression, and free flow of information on the internet. This will involve realigning 23 positions and $5,497,000 in support costs from the Office of the Secretary to the Bureau of Economic & Business Affairs (EB).

Special Advisor for Conflict Diamonds. Functions will continue to be performed by a deputy assistant secretary in the Economic & Business Affairs Bureau (EB). There are no resource implications for this change.

The European and Eurasian Affairs Bureau (EUR) will retain the staff and functions of the Senior Representative to Minsk Group. The title will be removed and the functions will continue to be performed by a deputy assistant secretary in the European and Eurasian Affairs Bureau (EUR). One position and $182,000 in support costs will remain in the European and Eurasian Affairs Bureau (EUR).

The Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs (WHA) will retain the functions and staff of the Special Coordinator for Haiti. The title will be removed and 9 positions and $656,000 in support costs will remain in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs (WHA).

The Secretary’s Policy Planning Staff (S/P) will assume the functions and staff of the Coordinator for Sanctions Policy (CSP). S/P will coordinate a comprehensive sanctions policy. This will involve removing the title and realigning 7 positions and $831,000 in support costs within the Office of the Secretary’s D&CP allocation from the CSP office to the Secretary’s Policy Planning Staff (S/P).

The Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs (SCA) will assume the functions and staff of the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and coordinate across the government to meet U.S. strategic goals in the region. This will involve removing the title and sustaining the realignment of 9 positions and $1,985,000 in support costs within D&CP from the Office of the Secretary to the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs (SCA). Given the Administration’s recent South Asia policy announcement, the Secretary will consider options regarding diplomatic responsibilities in the region as needed.

The Bureau of Counterterrorism and Countering Violent Extremism (CT) retain the functions and staff of the Senior Advisor for Partner Engagement on Syria Foreign Fighters. The title will be removed and functions continued to be performed by a deputy assistant secretary. There are no funding implications for this change.

The Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation (ISN) will assume functions and staff of the Lead Coordinator for Iran Nuclear Implementation, including ensuring that the nuclear steps to which Iran committed in the JCPOA are fully implemented and verified. This will involve removing the title and realigning 5 positions and $1,208,000 in support costs from the Office of the Secretary to the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation (ISN).

The Office of Management Policy, Rightsizing, and Innovation (M/PRI) will assume the functions and staff of the U.S. Special Representative for Global Partnerships. M/PRI will continue to strengthen and deepen U.S. diplomacy and development around the world through partnerships that leverage the creativity, innovation, and core business resources of partners for greater impact. This will involve removing the title and realigning 14 positions and $443,000 in support costs within D&CP from the Office of the Secretary and the Bureau of the Comptroller and General Financial Services to the Office of the Under Secretary for Management.

The Assistant Secretary for Energy Resources (ENR) will continue to perform the responsibilities of the Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs. We intend to request that Congress repeal the statutory requirement for this coordinator position, since the Assistant Secretary already fulfills the responsibilities.

The following special envoy, special representative, special advisor, coordinator, and related positions will be removed or retired:

The Special Envoy for the Six-Party Talks position will be removed, as the talks ceased in 2008. One position and $224,000 in support costs will be realigned within the Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs (EAP).

The Transparency Coordinator position will be removed. Legacy or future responsibilities will be addressed by the Under Secretary for Management (M). Three positions and $165,000 in support costs within the D&CP will be reprogrammed from the Office of the Secretary to the Under Secretary for Management (M).

The Special Advisor for Global Youth Issues position will be removed. The portfolio of helping the U.S. Government engage young people internationally falls within the scope of the Under Secretary of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs (R). There is no support cost for this position.

The Special Envoy for the Colombian Peace Process position will be removed and the functions assumed by the Western Hemisphere Affairs Bureau (WHA). There is no position established for this special envoy, and $5,000 in support costs within D&CP will be reprogrammed from the Office of the Secretary to the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs (WHA).

The Personal Representative for Northern Ireland Issues position will be retired. The 1998 Good Friday Agreement has been implemented with a devolved national assembly in Belfast now in place. Legacy and future responsibilities will be assigned to the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs (EUR). This will involve realigning $50,000 in support costs within the Bureau

of European and Eurasian Affairs (EUR).

The Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review Special Representative position will be removed. The State Department is undergoing an updated review process under the Presidential Executive Order on reorganizing the executive branch. This will involve realigning 8 positions and $1,247,000 in support costs within D&CP from the Office of the Secretary to the Under Secretary for Management (M).

The U.S. Special Envoy for the Closure of Guantanamo Detention Facility position will be removed. Any legacy and future responsibilities will be assigned to the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs (WHA). This will involve realigning 9 positions and $637,000 in support costs within D&CP from the Office of the Secretary to Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs (WHA).

The Special Adviser for Secretary Initiatives position will be removed. There is no staff currently authorized for this position. This will involve reprogramming $43,000 in support costs.

The Senior Advisor to the Secretary position will be removed. This will involve reprogramming 4 positions and $350,000 in support costs from the Office of the Secretary to Secretary’s Policy Planning Staff (S/P).

Finally, the Department also informs the Committees that the Department does not intend at this time to make any organizational changes to the following offices:

The following positions will be retained and continue to be organized under the Office of the Secretary:

• Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations
The following positions will be retained and continue to be organized under the office of Under

Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights (J):

• Ambassador-at-Large and Coordinator for Counterterrorism
• Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice
• Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons

The following positions will be retained and continue to be organized under the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL):

• Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons will continue to be held by a deputy assistant secretary.

The following positions will be retained and continue to be organized under the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation (ISN):

• Coordinator for Threat Reduction Programs
• Special Negotiator for Plutonium Disposition
• Special Representative of the President for Nuclear Nonproliferation

The following positions will be retained and continue to be organized under the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs (EUR):

• Coordinator for U.S. Assistance to Europe and Eurasia • Special Representative to OSCE

The following positions will be retained and continue to be organized under the office of the Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs (T):

• Permanent Representative for Conference on Disarmament
• Special Representative for Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC)

Issues

The following positions will be retained and continue to be organized under the office of the Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy and Environment (E):

• Chief Economist
• Science and Technology Adviser

The following positions will be retained and continue to be organized under the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA):

• Israel and the Palestinian Authority, U.S. Security Coordinator
• Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. This positionwill be reassessed as ISIS becomes more of a diffused threat.

The following position will be retained and continue to be organized under the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs (EAP):

• Special Representative for North Korea Policy. This position will be reassessed as North Korea policy advances.

The following position will be retained and continue to be organized under the Consular Affairs Bureau (CA):

• Special Advisor for Children’s Issues
The following position will be retained and continue to be organized under the office of the

Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs (R):

• Special Envoy and Coordinator of the Global Engagement Center
The following position will be retained and continue to be organized under the Bureau of

Economic & Business Affairs (EB):

• Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs


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