The Cable

Who might Kerry bring with him to the State Department?

When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leaves her post next month, several top State Department officials are expected to leave with her. But her successor Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) already has a full team of foreign-policy professionals waiting in the wings to fill those slots in Foggy Bottom.

"In a sense, John's entire life has prepared him for this role. As the son of a Foreign Service officer, he has a deep respect for the men and women of the State Department -- the role they play in advancing our interests and values, the risks that they undertake and the sacrifices that they make along with their families," President Barack Obama said in nominating Kerry Friday.

Clinton has pledged to remain in the job until Kerry is confirmed, which Obama said he was confident would happen "quickly." The Senate is expected to take up Kerry's nomination in early January, but multiple Republican senators have already said they won't agree to a vote on Kerry's nomination until Clinton testifies about the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi. Illness and a concussion has prevented Clinton from appearing thus far.

When Clinton does depart, several longtime aides and officials she brought with her to Foggy Bottom are also expected to leave. They include Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills, Deputy Chief of Staff and Policy Planning Director Jake Sullivan, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell, Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Andrew Shapiro, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Strategic Communications Philippe Reines, and many more.

Several top State Department positions are vacant and awaiting the new secretary to be filled. They include the posts of Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (Marc Grossman resigned), State Department Counselor (Harold Koh resigned), and Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs (Beth Jones returned from retirement temporarily in an acting capacity).

Inside the State Department, rank and file employees are waiting with bated breath to learn who Kerry might appoint to fill these senior roles. Sources close to Kerry told The Cable that the nominee hasn't yet begun formally arranging his new team, but he has a large team of experts and friends accumulated over the years from which to draw.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee majority staff would be a natural place for Kerry to start. That staff is led by Bill Danvers, who was brought in by Kerry himself and is widely expected to have a top role in a Kerry State Department.

Andrew Keller, chief counsel for the committee, is also a Kerry hire and could make the move to Foggy Bottom. Communications Director Jodi Seth will not go with Kerry to State, having already accepted a position with Facebook.

For the Asia position, Kerry has an able staffer in Michael Schiffer, who was brought on to the committee earlier this year after serving as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Affairs. A former staffer for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Schiffer could fill the opening to be left by Campbell, unless the White House prefers to send over Danny Russel, the NSC's top Asia official.

Shannon Smith is Kerry's top staffer for Africa and Global Health and could also be on the list to move over to State. Smith was key in dealing with Sudan and South Sudan and is a highly trusted senior staffer. 

Fatema Sumar has been the committee's top staffer for Afghanistan and Pakistan since 2009. Well regarded both on the Hill and in the administration, she is not senior enough to become SRAP, but could be a key part of Kerry's Af-Pak team nonetheless. Perry Cammack is Kerry's key Middle East staffer and could come along to Foggy Bottom even though he is a holdover from the Biden era at SFRC.

On issues of arms control and nuclear nonproliferation, two key SFRC staffers to watch are Anthony Wier and Greg Kausner. Wier has been with the committee since 2007. Kerry hired Kausner, a Navy aviator who traveled with Kerry when he worked at the Senate Navy Liaison office. Other committee staffers include Jason Bruder, who works on Europe, Ilan Goldenberg, who works on Israel and the Middle East, Andrew Imbrie, who works on foreign aid, Melanie Nakagawa, senior council on energy and the environment, and Tamara Klajn, who works on Africa issues.

There are also Kerry people spread out in the greater community, including former staff director Frank Lowenstein, currently at the Podesta Group, who could conceivably return to the fold when Kerry takes over at State.

U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, who withdrew herself from consideration to be secretary of state earlier this month, congratulated Kerry in a statement Friday.

"America is fortunate that Senator John Kerry will be our next Secretary of State, once confirmed by the Senate," she said. "For over four decades, Senator Kerry has served extremely ably and demonstrated selfless commitment to our country. From his heroic service in the U.S. Navy, his principled opposition to the Vietnam War, and his distinguished tenure in the U.S. Senate, to his wise chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Kerry has led tirelessly and effectively to advance U.S. interests and values around the globe. I have been honored to work with him in the past, and I look forward to working closely with him again on President Obama's national security team."

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The Cable

Hillary Clinton's statement on the nomination of John Kerry

"Today, I spoke to Senator John Kerry and congratulated him on his nomination to be the next Secretary of State.  I also spoke with President Obama and told him that he has made an excellent choice. I hope Senator Kerry will be confirmed quickly.

I have been privileged to know John for many years and to call him a friend, colleague, and partner.  He will bring decades of service to our country and deep experience in international affairs.  The son of a career Foreign Service Officer, diplomacy is in his blood.  As a decorated veteran, he knows what it takes to defend our nation and our values.  As a leader in the Senate, he understands how to build coalitions and craft compromises.  As a statesman respected around the world, he will be able to sustain and extend America's global leadership. 

John Kerry has been tested - in war, in government, and in diplomacy.  Time and again, he has proven his mettle.

I remember watching young Lieutenant Kerry's testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee many years ago and thinking that I had just seen a man of uncommon courage and conscience.  Years later, as First Lady, I admired John's integrity and leadership as he returned to Vietnam to uncover the truth about fellow American soldiers who never came home, and to help normalize relations.  Then, as Senate colleagues, we worked together on behalf of wounded warriors, working families, and other causes close to both our hearts.

Over the past four years, now as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Kerry has been my trusted partner on major foreign policy challenges facing our nation.  He helped us end the war in Iraq and advance a responsible transition in Afghanistan, co-authored key assistance legislation for Pakistan, won ratification of the New START Treaty with Russia, led the way on climate change, and helped us navigate a fast-changing Middle East. 

President Obama and I have often asked Senator Kerry to undertake delicate diplomatic missions and to deliver difficult messages.  He has forged strong relationships with leaders around the world.  As I have learned, being able to talk candidly as someone who has won elections and also lost them is an enormous asset when engaging with emerging or fragile democracies.

Through it all, Senator Kerry has fought for our nation's diplomats and development experts - and for investing in their mission and America's global leadership.  And now, he is working closely with me and my team to learn the lessons of the tragedy in Benghazi, further protect our people and posts, and implement every single one of the Accountability Review Board's recommendations.

We need a leader with John Kerry's experience and talent at the helm of the State Department and USAID in the years ahead.  There is much more to do on all of these crucial challenges, from Afghanistan to nonproliferation to climate change, and many others.  We also have to consolidate America's expanded engagement in the Asia-Pacific, continue championing the rights and opportunities of women, pursue a new approach to development centered on dignity and self-sufficiency, keep putting economics at the center of our foreign policy, and practice the kind of smart power that harnesses innovation and partnerships - with governments and with people - to solve problems and seize opportunities. 

The men and women of the State Department and USAID represent the best traditions of a bold and generous nation.  They serve and sacrifice every day, often in dangerous circumstances.  It has been one of the great honors of my life to serve with such fine public servants over the past four years.  I could not be prouder of all we have achieved together.  They deserve the highest caliber leadership, and that is exactly what they'll get in John Kerry."