- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 12, 2006

A year into Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s tenure, her senior team at Foggy Bottom conspicuously resembles the National Security Council she left behind at the White House.

Two out of six undersecretaries and five out of six assistant secretaries heading regional bureaus at the State Department owe their positions to their work with Miss Rice at the White House.

Four of them — Robert Joseph, undersecretary for arms control and international security; Daniel Fried, assistant secretary for European affairs; Thomas A. Shannon Jr., assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere affairs; and Jendayi E. Frazer, assistant secretary for African affairs — were part of her team when she was President Bush’s national security adviser during his first term.

The other three — R. Nicholas Burns, undersecretary for political affairs; Christopher R. Hill, assistant secretary for East Asia and Pacific affairs; and C. David Welch, assistant secretary for Near East affairs — she knew from her time as special assistant for Soviet affairs to Mr. Bush’s father from 1989 to 1991.

Mr. Burns, the department’s third-ranking official after Miss Rice and her deputy, Robert B. Zoellick, is the only career Foreign Service officer among the undersecretaries.

Even though Mr. Burns, whose ability to please both Republican and Democratic administrations has taken him far and high, is considered the star of the top management team, Karen P. Hughes, undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs, has received the most public attention.

Mrs. Hughes has been the subject of numerous articles because of her close relationship with Mr. Bush and the challenge she faces to improve the image of the United States around the world.

Josette S. Shiner, undersecretary for economic, business and agricultural affairs, was Mr. Zoellick’s deputy when he was the U.S. trade representative and is a former managing editor for The Washington Times.

Miss Rice’s team is finally expected to be complete in the next few days when she nominates Richard Boucher, the former State Department spokesman, to be assistant secretary for South Asia.

The only senior official appointed by Colin L. Powell, Miss Rice’s predecessor, to remain is Maura Harty, assistant secretary for consular affairs.

Miss Rice stirred controversy in the ranks last year when she promoted midlevel Foreign Service officers who had worked for her at the National Security Council to senior positions, in some cases allowing officers to take a job that was two grades above their level.

One of those career officers is Sean McCormack, Mr. Boucher’s successor, who was an NSC spokesman during Miss Rice’s tenure there. Mr. McCormack is also assistant secretary for public affairs.

Mr. Fried appointed two NSC aides, Kurt Volker and Matthew Bryza, as deputy assistant secretaries in the European bureau.

Mr. McCormack, Mr. Volker and Mr. Bryza were midlevel officers on loan from the State Department to the White House before they returned to Foggy Bottom.

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