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."