The Cable

Quick hits

Sudan Envoy: President Obama will appoint Air Force Maj. Gen. J. Scott Gration (ret.) as U.S. special envoy to Sudan today, the New York Times reports. A Swahili-speaking son of missionaries who grew up in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gration accompanied Obama on a five-nation trip to Africa in 2006 and was a national security advisor to his campaign.

Track 1 ½: Former U.S. Mideast peace negotiator Martin Indyk is leading discussions between Israeli and Palestinian advisors and officials at a three-day, off-record Brookings event that got underway last night. Among those said to be attending are longtime Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.

The Cable

Names: Obama taps Gottemoeller on nonproliferation

President Obama announced his intent to nominate Rose Gottemoeller for assistant secretary of state for verification and compliance. “Turning the tide on the threat of nuclear weapons and strengthening the international non-proliferation regime is one of the great and urgent challenges of our time," he said in a press statement. "Rose Gottemoeller’s extraordinary commitment and expertise make her a valuable addition to the State Department and my national security team as we renew American diplomacy to create a more secure world.”

The formal appointment announcement of the former Pentagon nonproliferation hand and Carnegie Moscow Center director precedes that of her superior in the State nonproliferation org. chart, the undersecretary of state for arms control and international security. In a surprise, the Post reports today that that job is expected to go to Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) after CSIS's Robert Einhorn turned down the position for personal reasons. Einhorn is reportedly expected to serve as a special advisor.

UPDATE: Tauscher confirmed Secretary Clinton offered her the under secretary job last week and she accepted in a press statement Wednesday. “Keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists, making sure other countries do not obtain them and, one day, I hope, ridding the world of these terrible weapons, has become my passion and, I hope, my life’s work," Tauscher said in the statement. She said she and her staff would continue to work in her Congressional office throughout the confirmation process.

Of Tauscher, who accepted the job, and Einhorn, who reportedly turned it down in favor of serving as a special advisor, nonproliferation hand and Ploughshares fund president Joseph Cirincione said, "Both are top shelf ... Bob Einhorn is the Thomas Jefferson of arms control—erudite, scholarly, and experienced.  Ellen Tauscher is more Andrew Jackson--strategic, powerful, with a populist touch.  Both are deeply knowledgeable, Bob with treaties and diplomacy, Ellen with nuclear programs and politics. ... Trying to stop Tauscher from getting a treaty ratified would like trying to stop Sherman from marching to Atlanta. Ideally, Secretary Clinton can get the best of both worlds, having Ellen Tauscher as Undersecretary and Bob Einhorn as a special advisor."

Overall, the State Department is emerging as the real power center on nuclear policy issues, both functionally and regionally, Cirincione added. "The department now has a critical mass of talent ... There may have been a more powerful bench at the Department, but not in the past few decades.  This is looking very good.  Sync this up with the Office of the Vice President, UN Ambassador Susan Rice, and the team assembling at the National Security Council and you have a battle group that should be able to win any diplomatic war."