As Secretary of State, I have benefitted immensely from the broad experience, sound judgment, and good instincts of Ambassador Tom Shannon. Now, with President Obama’s nomination of Tom to serve as the State Department’s next Under Secretary for Political Affairs, I look forward to working with him in a new capacity. The United States has major priorities to pursue in every corner of the globe, and I will be counting on Tom for his advice and for the full exercise of his diplomatic skills to advance American interests and values.
Tom’s remarkable career in the Foreign Service is well known, as is his profound commitment to our mission at the State Department. I first met Tom in the field, a few months after I was sworn in as Secretary. He was serving as the U.S. Ambassador to Brazil at the time, and his vast knowledge and deep understanding of the region were abundantly clear to me – right off the bat. Over the past thirty years, he has served in numerous posts throughout Latin America and Africa, as a Senior Director on the President’s National Security Council staff, as Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, and most recently as the State Department’s Counselor. He has been deeply involved in every aspect of our foreign policy – not only in Latin America, but also in the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia and beyond – and I am confident his biggest accomplishments are still ahead of him. When he becomes the 14th Foreign Service Officer in history to rise to the level of Under Secretary of Political Affairs, I know he’ll continue to distinguish himself as one of the very best diplomats our nation has seen.
Tom will succeed Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, whose last day will be October 2, and who has served our country with extraordinary determination and distinction in that position for the past four years. Wendy leaves behind a tremendous legacy, including her tenacious leadership of the U.S. negotiating team during the Iran nuclear talks. It’s going to be incredibly tough to see Wendy go, but I could hope for no better replacement than Tom Shannon. I respectfully urge my former colleagues in the U.S. Senate to give early and favorable consideration to his nomination.