Jeffrey LewisPoor Man's Bob Joseph

Last night, at a bar in DC …

Arms Control Wonk: Hey … is Ken Brill going to replace Space-Based Bob (Robert Joseph) as Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security?

Striped Pants Cookie Pusher (SPCP) with Mojito (w/M): I wish. As of three hours ago, it’s John Rood.

ACW: What? Damn. (Big gulp of my own mojito).

SPCPw/M: Yeah, I heard the Brill rumor, too … and I was like YES! Then, I learned it was really Rood. (Big gulp).

ACW: Unbe-frickin’-lievable. (Pair of mojitos downed).

And, indeed, this morning I see “The President intends to nominate John C. Rood, of Arizona, to be Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security at the Department of State.”

Rood was just nominated to by Assistant Secretary for International Security and Nonproliferation in July to replace Steve Rademaker. Talk about upward mobility.

At the time, I noted that Rood was not a particularly inspiring choice, after his star turn describing arms control as “all this baggage from the Cold War” in Dafna Linzer’s Brady Bunch NSC story.

This is the second time that Rood has been tapped to replace Space-Based Bob—first at the NSC—which pretty much makes Rood the “Poor Man’s Bob Joseph.”

Rood had a relatively easy confirmation for Assistant Secretary, although Senator Biden evidently had some concerns and Senator Lugar—in the nicest way possible—basically asked Rood whether he had knifed Chris Hill in the back after the Six Party Joint Statement in September 2005:

LUGAR: Let me turn now to North Korea. Since joining the National Security Council in 2001 to the present, please outline your role in the development of the United States’ policy toward North Korea.

On September 19th of last year, the countries participating in the six-party talks in Beijing issued a joint statement at the conclusion of these talks. Also, on September 19, the United States issued a unilateral statement clarifying U.S. perspective regarding the joint statement.

Did you contribute in any way to the decision to issue a unilateral statement or toward its content?

ROOD: Mr. Chairman, during my tenure at the National Security Council, both in my first stint and in my present post, my job duties do include working on North Korea issues, particularly those related to the counter-proliferation aspects of our policy there.

This has been an area of responsibility for me. There are others, of course, involved, as well, at the National Security Council and in the interagency.

You’re correct, on September 19, we did achieve an agreement at the six-party talks, under which North Korea agreed to abandon its nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs and we in the United States did issue a unilateral statement, along with several other countries, afterwards.

I was involved in the policy development and, in my role at the NSC, played the role of coordinating the interagency review of the document that you mentioned, the unilateral statement.

LUGAR: Well, one of the aspects of the recent hearing we had on the North Korean business was that the comment was made by one of the witnesses that after the general policy of the six parties, almost all of the parties offered unilateral statements and the contention, which is arguable, among the people who were around the witness table that day was that these unilateral statements, in some cases, did not necessarily contradict the overall view, but nevertheless, appeared to be contentious or put other frames on the situation, but were difficult.

So I mention that just simply because this is sort of fresh in the minds of members of the committee, as we saw recently, Ambassador Hill, and he was not specifically involved in making those comments, members were in questioning him and from comments in the press or from staff members or others.

But it could be a serious matter and what the issue came down to was whether there was that degree of contention within our own government. In other words, after negotiators arrive out there and come forward with policy statements, whether there is second-guessing in other parts of the government which then lead to unilateral statements on our part that some might feel reinterpret what was occurring out there.

And the hope was that, even if that was the case on that occasion, that there could be unity within our own government. So I raise the question really in terms of your future responsibilities rather than to cast any doubt or blame on the past, but to say that successful negotiation of that agreement, as well as other multinational affairs, may require at least some cohesion of our own points of view here. So that we do not all need to offer editorial opinions on what we have done in the field.

Now that Biden is Chairman, I expect he will squeeze the Administration over Rood—extracting, as Paul Kerr suggests, some sort of policy concession from the Bush Administration in exchange for Rood’s confirmation.

My unsolicited advice? Full compliance with Sections 1211 and 1213 1214 and 1216 of the 2007 National Defense Authorization Act:

  • Section 1211 1214 directs the President to “appoint a senior presidential envoy to act as coordinator of United States policy on North Korea” to “conduct a full and complete interagency review of United States policy toward North Korea including matters related to security and human rights;” “provide policy direction for negotiations with North Korea relating to nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, and other security matters;” and “provide leadership for United States participation in Six Party Talks on the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.” (Chris Hill would be fine, by the way.)
  • Section 1213 1216 directs the President to “submit to Congress a report on the … objectives of United States policy on Iran [and the] strategy for achieving such objectives” addressing both “the role of diplomacy, incentives, sanctions, other punitive measures and incentives, and other programs and activities relating to Iran for which funds are provided by Congress; and … United States contingency planning regarding the range of possible United States military actions in support of United States policy objectives with respect to Iran.”

That’s the deal. Either the country gets a North Korea Policy Coordinator and a report on the Administation’s strategery in Iran, or Rood stays as Assistant Secretary.

Boy, I really missed the two-party system.


  1. Jeffrey Lewis

    This is Rood’s statement from his confirmation hearing for Assistant Secretary.

    Below is a transcript of the hearing:

    Copyright 2006 The Federal News Service, Inc.Federal News Service

    August 2, 2006 Wednesday


    LENGTH: 9865 words







    SEN. RICHARD G. LUGAR (R-IN): This hearing is a Senate Foreign Relations Committee is called to order. Today, the Committee meets to consider the nomination of John Rood to be Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Non-proliferation.

    Mr. Rood has served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Counter-proliferation Strategy since March 2005. Prior to his current position, he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Forces Policy and as Director for Proliferation Strategy, also for Counter-proliferation, and, indeed, for Homeland Defense at the National Security Council. Mr. Rood has also worked at the Central Intelligence Agency and on the staff of our colleague Senator Jon Kyl.

    If confirmed, the nominee will assume the leadership of the new Bureau of International Security and Non-proliferation. This bureau is the successor to the Arms Control Bureau and the Non-proliferation Bureau, which were merged in July 2005 to improve coordination and performance in these critical areas. I strongly supported Secretary Rice’s decision to create this new bureau, and have monitored Undersecretary Bob Joseph’s efforts to establish it. Filling the position of Assistant Secretary is the last major piece of the reorganization.

    While the bureau may be new, the challenges it confronts are not. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is the number one national security threat facing our country. As Assistant Secretary, our nominee would be at the intersection of United States policy and its programmatic and diplomatic responses to these threats. The work of the new bureau will be one of the most important elements of our government’s efforts to ensure the security of the American people.

    The International Security and Non-proliferation Bureau will be responsible for numerous issues, including: Iranian non-compliance with its NPT obligations; North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs; civilian nuclear cooperation with India; the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction technologies; negotiations on the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty; and the important work that remains to be done in the former Soviet Union to safeguard and eliminate weapons of mass destruction. We look forward to exploring with the nominee each of these important subjects today.

    Over the years, I have been particularly focused on the activities of the Non-proliferation and Disarmament Fund, the Office of Export Controls Cooperation, the redirection of biological weapons expertise, the International Science and Technology Centers, and related efforts. I have traveled extensively to support and review these programs first hand, and I am committed to their success. I have been particularly pleased to watch these State Department programs work hand-in-hand with the Nunn-Lugar Program at the Pentagon.

    We welcome Mr. Rood. Let me say we welcome, in addition, an unexpected surprise, our colleague Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi who has come today to say some words of introduction and praise for our nominee. Senator Cochran, welcome to the Committee.

    SEN. THAD COCHRAN (R-MS): Mr. Chairman, thank you very much for the opportunity to appear before your committee. I am pleased to introduce John Rood to the committee, who has been nominated by the president to be assistant secretary of State for International Security and Non-proliferation.

    John Rood has spent most of his career dealing with issues that would be his primary responsibility at the State Department. I first came to know him in 1997 when he worked with me as a legislative fellow at the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee. We conducted a series of hearings at that time on missile and weapons proliferation. I chaired this sub-committee which was charged with the responsibilities of international security, proliferation and federal services oversight.

    Those hearings that we conducted examined in depth the proliferation behavior of nation states such as Russia, China and North Korea and our export control policies that were designed to deal with those challenges. John Rood played a key role for me in the preparation of a report we published which included an analysis of the activities of suppliers of weapons of mass destruction and missile technology and the effectiveness of our export control policies and the growing availability of missile technology to rogue nations and organizations.

    John demonstrated a thorough knowledge of these proliferation issues. He had previously served in jobs that gave him the qualification, background and understanding which you have identified in your statements, Mr. Chairman. He also served as a member of the staff of Senator John Carr before he came to work for us. He was responsible in that office for arms control and non-proliferation issues.

    And after President George W. Bush was elected, he served as Director for Proliferation Strategy, Counter-Proliferation and Homeland Defense at the National Security Council, which you have mentioned and I won’t go into the details of the specifics of that job, you are well aware of it since you were responsible for creating or urging the creation of these administration agencies and the staffing of them with competent people.

    But with a staff of over 30 people, he was responsible for supervising the policies and examining the programs that are designed to counter the threats posed by weapons of mass destruction and long range missiles. And for over the last year, he’s worked as an assistant to the president and senior director for Counter- proliferation Strategy at the National Security Council.

    So he has had some important responsibilities in this area. He’s very well qualified, in my opinion, to serve as assistant secretary of state for International Security and Non-proliferation and I hope the committee will be able to report the nomination promptly and recommend his confirmation to the Senate.

    SEN. LUGAR: Thank you very much, Senator Cochran. We really appreciate your taking time to come this morning and it’s added to the luster of our hearing. Let me also mention, adding to the luster of our hearing, the presence of two distinguished Senators from Nigeria, including the President of the Senate of Nigeria. Gentlemen, we welcome you very much to our hearing. We hope that you enjoy our proceedings. I would add that they do not come, Mr. Rood, necessarily to endorse your candidacy. They are simply witnesses to history this morning.

    If you have a statement, that statement will be placed in the record and you may summarize—it would be free for you to proceed with your testimony, if you have friends or members of your family here, please introduce them because we’d be delighted to acknowledge their presence.

    MR. JOHN C. ROOD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for holding this hearing. I am joined by my wife, Sandy, and our five year old daughter, Sidney.

    SEN. LUGAR: Wonderful.

    MR. ROOD: And then I have some friends here, Paul Irobeno and Mary-Alice Heywood with Skip Fisher, Carolyn Lettie. So thank you sir for allowing me to introduce them.

    SEN. LUGAR: Welcome to the hearing. We appreciate your being here.

    MR. ROOD: Sir, I thought I would read my statement.

    SEN. LUGAR: Please proceed.

    MR. ROOD: Mr. Chairman, let me begin by thanking you for holding this hearing and for the opportunity to appear before you today. I also want to thank President Bush for the honor he has bestowed upon me by nominating me to the assistant secretary of State of International Security and Non-proliferation and thank Secretary Rice for her support for the nomination. I would also like to thank Senator Cochran for his kind and generous introduction. It’s very characteristic of him.

    It’s been my privilege to serve my country in the intelligence community as a staff member here in the Senate, in the Defense Department and the National Security Council and I look forward to continuing my government service at the State Department, if confirmed.

    I’ve been fortunate to work on a range of non-proliferation issues in these jobs. I began my career at the CIA as an analyst following missile programs in countries like North Korea, India and Pakistan. I also worked in the CIA’s Non-proliferation Center. Later, I continued to work on non-proliferation and arms control issues during my tenure as a Senate staffer and in previous posts at the National Security Council and Defense Department.

    In my current post at the National Security Council, I chair the administration’s policy coordinating committees that are responsible for formulating and coordinating non-proliferation policies. If confirmed, I look forward to drawing on these experiences to lead the Bureau of International Security and Non-proliferation through what promise to be challenging years ahead.

    Today, of course, the United States faces no greater security challenge than the threat posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. Nuclear, biological and chemical weapons in the hands of hostile states or terrorists could enable our adversaries to inflict massive harm on the United States, our forces and our friends and allies.

    Let me touch briefly on some of the major issues and activities that the Bureau of International Security and Non-proliferation will deal with in the coming years. Reducing and presenting proliferation threats remains critically important. The Administration remains committed to the cooperative threat reduction program and other similar efforts and has devoted significant resources to these programs while simultaneously challenging other nations to match our contribution.

    The U.S. devotes over $1 billion per year to threat reduction and non-proliferation programs in Russia and the former Soviet states. In 2002, we challenged other G8 countries to match this level of effort over the next 10 years by pledging $10 billion to equal the planned U.S. contribution of $10 billion and created the G8 global partnership. I am pleased to report that today more than 20 partnership donors have pledged over $17 billion towards this $20 billion target and Russia has pledged $2 billion for the partnership as well.

    In addition to creating – to the increased funding from the U.S. and our international partners, the administration has also worked with Russia to accelerate efforts to secure vulnerable nuclear materials. And at the Bratislava Summit in 2005, President Bush and President Putin agreed to accelerate these efforts and to complete security upgrades by the end of 2008.

    At Bratislava, the United States and Russia also agreed to step up repatriation to Russia of highly enriched uranium fuel from vulnerable research reactors in third countries and the conversation of these reactors to use low enriched uranium fuel. Just recently, high enriched uranium fuel from Libya’s Tajura Reactor was returned to Russia under this initiative.

    Building on these nuclear security efforts, President Bush and President Putin launched the global initiative to combat nuclear terrorism on July 15 in St. Petersburg. Under this initiative, we seek to build an international coalition of nations committed to cooperation to improve the accounting, control and physical protection of nuclear material and radioactive substances to detect and suppress illicit trafficking, to respond to and mitigate the consequences of active nuclear terrorism, to ensure that states take all possible measures to deny safe haven to terrorists seeking to acquire or use materials and to strengthen our respective national legal frameworks to ensure the effective prosecution of terrorists and those who facilitate such acts.

    Since the launch of the global initiative last month, we’re off to a good start with several key nations endorsing this effort. In our work on the global initiative, we’re drawing from our successful experience with the proliferation security initiative or PSI. This initiative was launched in 2003 to promote international cooperation, to interdict WMD related shipments.

    Today, more than 70 nations support PSI. PSI partners have cooperated dozens of times to interdict and prevent transfers of WMD related materials, including the interdiction of the BBC China in 2003 that led to the unraveling of the A.Q. Khan network and Libya’s decision to give up its WMD and long rang missile programs.

    As support for PSI grows, we likewise are incorporating new tools in the PSI toolbox, like cooperation to block finances that support proliferation networks. Although we’ve had important breakthroughs in Libya and the Con network, we face significant challenges in Iran and North Korea. In both instances, the administration is pursuing multi lateral diplomacy in concert with friends and allies to address these challenges.

    North Korea’s recent missile launches highlight the danger posed by the regime and its pursuit of additional weapons of mass destruction and increasingly capable delivery systems. In response to this threat, the administration has pursued six party talks involving North Korea’s neighbors and the countries with greatest influence over the North.

    Last September, North Korea agreed to abandon its nuclear weapons and all existing nuclear programs in a joint statement at the six party talks. We continue to seek the North’s return to the talks, but have taken a number of defensive measure to protect the United States and our allies from North Korea’s proliferation behavior and other illicit activities.

    Last month we successfully cooperated with Japan, for example, on U.N. Resolution 1695 which demands that North Korea suspend its ballistic missile activities and requires nations to prevent transfers of goods and technology to its WMD and missile programs.

    In Iran, we have presented the regime with two fundamentally different paths. The negative choice is for the regime to maintain its current course, pursuing nuclear weapons in defiance of the international community and its international obligations. If the regime does so, it will face further international isolation and progressively stronger political and economic sanctions.

    The positive and constructive choice for the regime in Iran is to alter its present course. We have supported the recent offer made by the EU-3 to Iran and Secretary Rice has said that as soon as Iran fully and verifiably suspends its enrichment and reprocessing activities, the United States will come to the table with our EU colleagues and meet with Iran’s representatives.

    Unfortunately, the Iranian regime has not accepted this offer which is why we have worked successfully with our European partners on a U.N. Security Council resolution mandating Iran suspend its enrichment and reprocessing activities and urging its return to negotiations or face further action by the Security Council, including sanctions.

    While we face challenges in countries like Iran and North Korea, the administration has also started to take advantage of opportunities in other places like India to build a new strategic partnership with the world’s largest democracy. The civil nuclear cooperation initiative is an important means of building this strategic partnership and also serves our non-proliferation goals by bringing India into the international non-proliferation mainstream. We look forward to Congress completing action on legislation to implement this initiative.

    Finally, let me stress the continuing importance of multi-lateral treaties, agreements and suppliers’ groups in addressing the non- proliferation challenge. The administration has sought to strengthen the non-proliferation treaty by closing loopholes. For example, we have sought to change the guidelines of the nuclear suppliers group to prevent transfers and enrichment in reprocessing technologies to states that do not possess such capabilities.

    If confirmed, I look forward to working on ways to strengthen the global non-proliferation regime by enhancing implementation of the chemical and biological weapons conventions, missile technology control regime, an Australian group, and promoting adherence to the IAEA additional protocol.

    Mr. Chairman, thank you again for holding this hearing and for the opportunity to appear before you today.

    SEN. LUGAR: Thank you very much, Mr. Rood, for your opening statement. I want to begin my questioning by asking you about the International Security Non-proliferation Bureau, you’ve indicated—certainly some of the agenda in which you are now involved and will be involved, let me get into the organizational details. What is the status of the Security Non-proliferation Bureau in terms of the staff positions filled and you envision additional turnovers or can you give us some idea of how that fleshing out of the bureau is going? Quite likely you need additional statutory authority to successfully complete the merger of the arms control and non-proliferation bureau into the International Security Non-proliferation Bureau as envisioned by Secretary Rice.

    MR. ROOD: Well, I was not at the State Department during the reorganization or its initial implementation. My impression is that the reorganization is going fairly well. All but one of twelve office director positions within the bureau have been filled and a person has been selected, as I understand it, to fill the twelfth billet. Over three quarters of the total staff positions have been filled and in a number of cases, there are individuals that have been selected to fill the remaining vacancies that have simply not assumed their positions.

    While I expect some turnover in movement of staff will occur routinely, I am not expecting a significant amount of turnover. As to your last question, Mr. Chairman, about whether the bureau requires additional legal authority, the answer to that is no.

    SEN. LUGAR: Let me ask you about the Nunn Lugar Cooperative Senate Reduction Program. First of all, do you support the program and, secondly, amplifying on as Secretary Rice has expressed her support for legislation I’ve offered that would eliminate the annual certification requirements on the numbers of programs. Under Secretary Joseph prepared a paper that outlines the 13 step process that can take over a year to complete before any number of funds can be spent. Is this lengthy process a good use of time and resources? Let me ask you to explore this situation, which is not a new one, but the source of debate annually and in fact activity by the Senate, although it is not by the House, to try to clear up many of these certification difficulties.

    MR. ROOD: Yes, as I mentioned in my prepared statement, Mr. Chairman, the Nunn Lugar Cooperative Senate Reduction Program and other similar efforts play a critical role in our non-proliferation efforts. This is an area where I know you’ve played a real leadership role over the years and deserve great credit for bringing us to the position we’re at today. But it is something that we feel strongly in the administration is important.

    We recently, as you know, extended the cooperate Senate reduction program umbrella agreement for another seven years. The bureau had been nominated to lead with the—did the negotiations for that extension. To answer your second question which is the removal of the annual certification requirements, there the administration supports your proposed legislation to repeal those restrictions. The annual certification and waiver process typically take about six months to complete and as Under Secretary Joseph indicated in his testimony to the committee, there’s a 13 step process that we go through.

    We believe the legislation you propose would give the administration needed flexibility in administering this critical program.

    SEN. LUGAR: I congratulate you on the success of negotiating the umbrella agreement because that really has been especially important for not only United States/Russian cooperation, but for the extra work of American contractors and others who are physically removing warheads from missiles, so working with the destruction of the missiles in the infrastructure and this was sort of a step up to the plate time this year with the last umbrella agreement expiring and, of course, our country has encouraged Russia to offer similar arrangements, if not identical ones, to other members of the G8 in the 10 plus 10 over 10 program that you are mentioning and sometimes the Russians have been reticent to move in that direction which has inhibited the degree of cooperation and progress that we could have had.

    But on the other issues, we’ve sort of done this to ourselves, and this is the problem I think of programs that have a history of 15 years. From time to time, senators have come along or members of the house who have had an unhappy moment with the former Soviet Union or with Russia and so in a display of their eager doings, and I add here or their temperament, have conditioned the work that you’re proceeding on on reports from the chief executive and those who served him that the Russians are good people, who are doing right and so sometimes we really can’t treat this with total sincerity and so we get into waivers of the agreements, in wholesale waivers and so in due course, even those who do not want to get rid of all of the endless barnacles that the certifications are headed by people with their views on public affairs for 15 years, we sort of waive all of it and that takes some time and effort too, as you have found, and Under Secretary Joseph has testified.

    So, as to not having your bureau engaged in this sort of meaningless work where when you continue to pursue this, but I raised it in this hearing today, in some what getting your affirmation that you’re working with us and we are working with you to try to really effect a better sense of governance to the program.

    Let me ask now about the IAEA additional protocol. On February 11, 2004 in a speech to the National Defense University, President Bush urged, and I quote, “The Senate to consent immediately”, end of quote, to the ratification of U.S. additional protocol. The Senate ratified the additional protocol on March 31, 2004. Unfortunately, the treaty is not self-executing and implementing legislation is required before the United States can deposit its instrument of ratification.

    Does President Bush continue to support, in your judgment, the Congressional approval of Senate Bill 2489 implementing legislation reported out of this committee on April 13, 2006?

    MR. ROOD: Mr. Chairman, the National Security Adviser, Steve Hadley, recently indicated to you in a letter, the administration does support S2489, the implementing legislation for the additional protocol. We look forward to working with the committee as the bill progresses through the legislative process and we would urge both houses of Congress to act expeditiously to pass this important legislation so that the United States can implement its commitments to the additional protocol.

    SEN. LUGAR: I appreciate your mention of National Security Adviser, Steve Hadley’s letter. He has written to support S.2489 asking for expeditious action to enable us to do this. Amplify further, just for the record, why Senate approval of the IAEA additional protocol and implementing legislation is important. In other words, what impact would U.S. ratification have on diplomatic efforts related to Iran or any of the other cases that you have mentioned?

    MR. ROOD: The administration, as you know, strongly supports the additional protocol and we have encouraged other countries to adopt this important agreement as the essential minimum non-proliferation commitment internationally.

    For us in the United States, we think that it’s important in the administration, having encouraged other nations to adopt this as the essential minimum non-proliferation commitment, that we in the United States also complete our process to adhere to the additional protocol and that includes the implementing legislation of course.

    There is some impact, we think, that can be had on other countries, perhaps even including those like Iran. As you know, Iran has baulked or not, in recent time not implemented the additional protocol and they’ve not ratified it. For the United States to ratify the additional protocol and be fully bound to it, we think that sends a positive message about the importance of the agreement and can help us in places like Iran.

    SEN. LUGAR: Well, I appreciate your testimony and I don’t want to be tedious on the IAEA issues, but they’re important to your work and we believe the work of this Congress, as we have been discussing the India nuclear agreement and we may come into other such arrangements. So I want to continue with some specific questions about IAEA just for the record because currently this is an issue before our colleagues and we are hopeful that action may be taken this year.

    What is the likelihood of an IAEA inspection here in the United States under the additional protocol? How many IAEA inspections have been conducted under our safeguards agreement that we have no requested or paid for?

    MR. ROOD: The IAEA, of course, makes decisions on where to conduct additional protocol inspections, but since the IAEA has very limited resources for inspections, we would expect they would focus those resources on countries – on non-nuclear weapons states where there is some suspicion or concern about the activities in that country and not the United States.

    Since the mid 1990s, the IAEA has conducted inspections under the U.S. IAEA safeguards agreement in the United States that we have requested and paid for. They have not conducted other inspections and those inspections have primarily occurred at four locations which are inspected monthly. But this is under our standard IAEA safeguards agreement. Under the additional protocol we don’t know, but we would expect the number would not be very large.

    SEN. LUGAR: Critics of Senate Bill 2489. that’s the protocol we’re talking about today, which the administration and you have endorsed, have argued that the United States should ban use of any wide area of environmental sampling that is not for training purposes in the United States. Does the administration support such a ban and what would be the likely impact of imposing such a requirement?

    MR. ROOD: Mr. Chairman, methods for wide area sampling are still being developed by the IAEA and have not yet been approved by the Board of Governors. In the event that wide area sampling was approved and the requests were made to do such an operation in the United States, we in the administration would review all such requests on a case by case basis and we would utilize the national security exclusion when necessary to prevent information of national security significance from being revealed.

    The administration, of course, has not proposed a statutory ban on wide area sampling and we would discourage other nations from adopting such bans on sampling.

    SEN. LUGAR: What would be the impact of a prohibition on IAEA inspections under the Department of Defense or Department of Energy facilities under the additional protocol and does the administration support such a prohibition? Wouldn’t the national security exclusion in article 1B protect U.S. equities in these areas?

    MR. ROOD: The United States will declare under the additional protocol, as we do under our present voluntary offer agreement, or IAEA standard, IAEA safeguards agreement facilities that would be subject to the additional protocol. Any agency with a national security concern can either declare a national security exclusion for a facility or employ managed access procedures to protect that equity by excluding or limiting IAEA access under the additional protocol.

    The administration has not proposed a statutory ban on additional protocol inspections at DOD and DOE facilities. Such a legal ban would give us pause that other states might mimic this practice.

    SEN. LUGAR: What about the Congress and our debate on this, should Congress enact a statute denying entry into the United States if the IAEA inspector is a national from a state of proliferation concern or a state designated as a sponsor of terrorism. What would be the impact of such a denial if it were included in the United States implementing legislation and doesn’t the United States already have the right to reject these requests for inspectors?

    MR. ROOD: Mr. Chairman, of course you are correct in your statement. As a matter of policy, the United States has long refused to accept inspectors from state sponsors of terror, which include the states of greatest proliferation concerned. We did not seek to codify this practice in law and we believe our existing policy already addresses the concern.

    SEN. LUGAR: Would it be in the United States’ national security interest for Congress to enact a legislative restriction denying the use of American voluntary contributions to the IAEA for the purposes of conducting additional protocol and safeguard inspections in the United States? What effect would this have on IAEA and the efficacy of the additional protocol?

    MR. ROOD: As I mentioned earlier, we would obviously encourage the IAEA to use its available funds for inspections to conduct them in non-nuclear weapon states where there is some reason for concern or suspicion of undeclared activities and not in the United States. While we do currently impose some restrictions on the IAEA’s use of our voluntary contributions from the United States, we would not seek to prohibit the use of these funds for additional protocol inspections. And the reason for that is there are some instances where we in the United States have found it beneficial to request and pay for inspections.

    For example, in 1995, you’re familiar with the return from Kazakhstan of HEU to the United States. And in that particular case, we felt that it was in our interests to immediately request an IAEA inspection so that the material could be verified to be present in the United States and not being used for nuclear weapons purposes.

    SEN. LUGAR: That’s a very good example and I think all of us remember the drama of that situation of the discovery of highly enriched uranium and other difficult items in warehouses in Kazakhstan that were identified by the government of that country and the affording of us the opportunity to accept that in the United States which the United States did. But it certainly was a sign of cooperation between Kazakhstan and the United States at that point. The Kazaks could have gone elsewhere, but they called us. And furthermore, we were flexible enough in our policy to be able to receive this material and to do so promptly with American aircraft.

    But it does then raise the question that you have mentioned, so completing the record, that to find out what you have in terms of the world community—the world community to understand what was there and what is now here and to verify that, so these are important considerations in our relations with other countries on materials that are not ordinary materials and indeed a burden at least of your responsibilities in the position you seek.

    Let me now turn to a current debate that we were having and we’ve had good hearings on the United States-India civilian nuclear agreement. The administration has expressed concerns about section 106 of the Senate bill which has been forwarded by a (16 to 2 ?) vote from this committee to the floor of the Senate, relating to the United States/India civilian nuclear agreement which prohibits the export of enrichment, reprocessing and heavy water production technology.

    Numerous State Department officials have testified the United States does not export these technologies to any state. Therefore, full civil nuclear cooperation with India would not include these exports. If this is true, why does the administration object to Congress placing this policy prohibitions into law?

    MR. ROOD: Mr. Chairman, as a matter of policy, as you stated, we currently don’t provide enrichment or reprocessing technologies to any country. We’ve so testified that we don’t intend to provide these technologies to India or the technology for the production of heavy water either. We would prefer to maintain this practice as a matter of policy, as opposed to a matter of law, and the reason is that such a statutory prohibition, a flat ban that singles out sales to India, we think, singles India out, since we don’t apply similar statutory bans on trade and enrichment reprocessing to other nations.

    SEN. LUGAR: Well, that, you know, clearly, was an argument made during our hearing, and during our mark-up of the majority of members of the committee felt it was important to state the policy, but I wanted to offer an opportunity for you to state once again comments that have been made by members of the department to us and with reference to that.

    Now, some Indian government officials have argued that this prohibition in the Senate bill moves the goal posts set by the original July 2005 agreement. I would simply ask, did New Delhi not understand United States policy, which you’ve enunciated again this morning. If they didn’t understand the policy please give us your opinion of why they opposed placing the prohibition in the law but can accept the existence of the policy?

    MR. ROOD: Mr. Chairman, the administration has been clear throughout our dealings with the Indians about what our policy on enrichment and reprocessing technologies is. In fact, this was an important feature of what we discussed with the Indians that led up to the July 18, 2005 joint statement which included language under which the Indian government agreed to work with us to limit the spread of enrichment reprocessing technologies internationally.

    We look forward to civil cooperation with India, civil nuclear cooperation with India, but we’ve told the Indian government we don’t envision that cooperation involving enrichment and reprocessing technologies, or the technology for the production of heavy water.

    SEN. LUGAR: Now, the committee provided the administration with the ability to waive these prohibitions for cooperation in section 106 with India through the global nuclear energy partnership and/or similar activities designed, for example, to enhance the development of proliferation resistant technologies.

    Do not these waivers give the administration the flexibility it needs to carry out future cooperation, and under what other circumstances would the United States consider exporting these technologies to India?

    MR. ROOD: Mr. Chairman, this was a subject, as you know, of discussion with your staff during the mark-up of the bill, and we appreciate the willingness of the committee to provide these provisions that allow for a waiver authority. As I mentioned earlier, we would have preferred to have maintained our policy as a matter of policy that the United States would not export enrichment reprocessing or heavy water production technology to India.

    The Global Nuclear Energy Partnership is a good example of that. A year ago we would not have envisioned the need for a waiver to allow for this type of cooperation because that hadn’t been conceived of yet. And so part of our desire to retain this as a matter of policy as opposed to a matter of law is there may be some other unforeseen circumstances a year from now, or five years from now, we’ll be in similar circumstances for subjects we just hadn’t thought of today.

    So while we appreciate the willingness of the committee to work with us and provide for those waiver provisions, as I said we would have preferred to have maintained as a matter of policy by law the restrictions on exports of enrichment reprocessing and heavy water production technology.

    SEN. LUGAR: And now in section 107 of the committee’s bill, and we’re still talking about the U.S./India Nuclear Cooperation Bill, there’s a requirement that the United States establish an end use monitoring system to track nuclear technology exports to India. The purpose is to ensure the United States has a means beyond relying on IAEA safeguard systems to ensure that our exports are not diverted to India’s weapons program.

    As you know, this section is not without precedent as a similar requirement exists with China. What is the administration’s concern with this section? In your opinion, why does India see this provision as a moving of the goal posts from what was agreed upon in July of 2005?

    MR. ROOD: Mr. Chairman, as you know we have—in the United States government we have some existing end use verification procedures that agencies like the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Energy Department and the Commerce Department operate. We would have preferred to rely on these existing mechanisms as opposed to creating an additional end use verification procedure for India.

    We did not discuss the creation of such a framework with the Indians during our discussions with them. The reason that we have some concern about it is that the Indian government sees the creation of the end use verification procedures as implying a lack of trust in them, and they are—and so naturally they have some concerns about that.

    But as I say, we do have some existing mechanisms that are operated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Energy Department, the Commerce Department, and we would have, as I said, preferred to have relied upon those existing mechanisms as opposed to creating an additional one in this legislation.

    SEN. LUGAR: I thank you. Let me turn now to legislation that Senator Obama and I have offered. Secretary Rice has endorsed our legislation Senate bill 2566, a bill that Senator Obama introduced last spring. The genesis of that bill was a trip that Senator Obama and I took to Ukraine and saw large warehouses and other actual dumps of all types of weapons over decades, but of critical notice were MANPAD missiles, for example, that could be shoulder-fired to shoot down aircraft, not only military, but civilian, and the type of weapon that our soldiers have searched for in Bosnia and elsewhere in that area to try to eliminate threats that are international.

    So, in any event, these were not weapons of mass destruction but they were weapons that we thought were of considerable international harm. The committee reported out our bill unanimously and it’s waiting for action. The second half of our bill seeks to improve and increase United States assistance to friendly foreign countries to support weapons of mass destruction and proliferation detection and interdiction activities.

    I understand these programs will be among your responsibilities and therefore please share your views with us on the importance of these programs, and is the legislation consistent with President Bush’s administration efforts under the proliferation security initiative and the global initiative?

    MR. ROOD: Mr. Chairman, as you mentioned, the administration supports the Lugar/Obama legislation, and we do believe it will enhance our counter-proliferation activities. In particular, it will help us promote key initiatives like the global initiative to combat nuclear terrorism, which I mentioned in my opening statement, as well as the proliferation security initiative.

    SEN. LUGAR: Well, I appreciate that statement and we’re still hopeful of action on this legislation during this current session of the Congress. We think it’s important having at least had some vivid illustrations from our own experiences in that area, and it would be helpful in the areas that you have mentioned.

    Let me turn now to North Korea. Since joining the National Security Council in 2001 to the present please outline your role in the development of United States policy toward North Korea. On September 19th of last year the countries participating in the six party talks to Beijing, or rather in Beijing, issued a joint statement at the conclusion of these talks.

    Also on September 19th the United States issued a unilateral statement clarifying U.S. perspective regarding the joint statement. Did you contribute in any way to the decision to issue a unilateral statement or towards its content?

    MR. ROOD: Mr. Chairman, during my tenure at the National Security Council, both in my first stint and in my present post, my job duties do include working on North Korea issues particularly those related to the counter-proliferation aspects of our policy there.

    This has been an area of responsibility for me. There are others, of course, involved as well at the National Security Council and in the inter agency. You’re correct, on September 19th we did achieve an agreement to have the—at the six party talks under which North Korea agreed to abandon its nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs, and we in the United States did issue a unilateral statement along with several other countries afterwards.

    I was involved in the policy development, and in my role at the NSC played the role of coordinating the inter agency review of those documents—of the document that you mentioned, the unilateral statement.

    SEN. LUGAR: Well, one of the aspects of a recent hearing we had on North Korean business was that the comment was made by one of the witnesses that after the general policy of the six parties almost all of the parties offered unilateral statements, and the contention, which is arguable, among the people who were around the witness table that day was that these unilateral statements in some cases did not necessarily contradict the overall view, but nevertheless appeared to be contentious or put other frames on the situation which were difficult.

    So I mention that simply because this is sort of fresh in the minds of members of the committee, as we saw recently, Ambassador Hill, and he was not specifically involved in making those comments. Members were in questioning him and from comments in the press or from staff members or others. But it could be a serious matter and what the issue came down to was whether there was a degree of contention within our own government.

    In other words, after negotiators arrived and after coming forward with policy statements whether there is second guessing in other parts of the government which then lead to unilateral statements on our part that some might feel reinterpret what was occurring out there, and the hope was that even if that was the case on that occasion there could be unity within our own government.

    So I raise the question really in terms of your future responsibilities rather than to cast any doubt or blame on the past, but to say that successful negotiation of that agreement as well as other multinational affairs may require at least some cohesion of our own points of view here so that we do not all need to offer editorial opinions on what we have done in the field.

    MR. ROOD: Yes, sir. There are—managing the competing views within the inter agency is a task at times, and I don’t think I’m revealing any secrets to say sometimes there are differences of opinion.

    On major issues like this you have two dynamics at play. You have both the negotiators in the field who are negotiating with numerous other parties and you also have then the inter agency discussion of what is occurring on the ground. On a high priority issue like the North Korea one, I can assure you that with respect to this unilateral statement and our positions on the joint statement, those are things that were arrived at at the highest levels, frankly at pay grades above mine, to make those final calls as to what those statements will be.

    I will say with respect to the use of unilateral statements, I take your point that at times we would not want to lightly use them to cause greater division, but they can prove a useful tool during negotiations to make—if there are contentious differences, and parties have slight nuances of opinion that can’t be resolved in the joint statement. It’s something under which they can explain the reasons for their positions in a unilateral statement. And as I mentioned in this particular case, the United States and other countries, Japan and South Korea, issued similar statements.

    SEN. LUGAR: Yes. Well, I appreciate, you know, the point, and likewise the role that you have to play. As you said, there are areas above your pay grade, other people making comments and decisions, but at the same time as our committee plays some role of oversight of all of this, we are hopeful for a high degree of unity in the administration in terms of public statements all the way along, and I suppose that is a goal that you’re attempting to reach along with Secretary Joseph and Secretary Rice and others who may be involved in these conversations with other parts of the administration.

    Now, the United Nations Security Council took an important step on Monday, citing chapter 7 and the need for Iranian suspension of enrichment activities. What in your judgment is the next step and what should be the goal of United States policy as we near the August 31 deadline?

    MR. ROOD: Mr. Chairman, the Security Council sent a clear signal to the Iranian regime about the need to suspend its nuclear enrichment and reprocessing activities. The clear next step is for Iran to comply with the U.N. Security Council resolution and to in fact suspend those activities.

    The resolution also called on Iran to return to negotiations, and as I mentioned earlier, Secretary Rice has indicated that if Iran should verifiably suspend its enrichment reprocessing activities we in the United States would join our EU-3 colleagues at the table and meet with Iran’s representatives.

    So I think that’s the clear path forward. Now, if Iran does not suspend its activities another path will be taken, and that is that the Security Council expressly noted in its resolution that under article 41, chapter 7, we will consider additional measures after August 31st, including sanctions.

    SEN. LUGAR: Well, let me ask another question because we will not be in session as a committee throughout the month of August. August 31 will come and go before we all arrive back and try to gain a quorum, and so therefore these issues are important to discuss presently.

    Given Iran’s continuing intransigence with regard to uranium enrichment do you believe that additional incentives such as the provision of a light water reactor or withholding sanctions on Iran can still provide the right incentives to get Iran to act responsibly? At what point do you see multilateral sanctions as preferable to incentives? And when are multilateral sanctions at the United Nations likely to be a real option? That is, is it your judgment that the other major parties who are involved with us in the negotiation are prepared to take that type of action, that’s economic sanctions if that is to be the choice, would imply?

    MR. ROOD: In late May Secretary Rice laid out this choice that I described earlier for the Iranian regime of two paths, and really I think we’re still at that fundamental crossroads with the Iranians. We’ve put in place a foundation with this recent Security Council resolution that was adopted yesterday, and in the process have gained the agreement of a number of key states to accomplish that.

    And as you described in your statement, that’s going to be necessary if we wish to pursue things like economic sanctions to have their support, and this is a gradual process. But I would say I think this combination of incentives as well as indicating whether there will be disincentives for behavior that the international community has clearly said now in a binding Security Council resolution that there’s a mandatory requirement for Iran to suspend its activities, that we have again put in place a foundation upon which if the Iranian’s unfortunately do not suspend their activities that we can pursue other measures like sanctions to impose costs on the regime.

    SEN. LUGAR: Let me carry this further, and this is not specifically a non-proliferation issue but it does come to the heart of the debate that is occurring in the United Nations and potential activities with regard to Iran. Some who have come before the committee offering information have indicated that over a fairly short period of time the population of Iran has grown to 70 million people, depending upon where the benchmark was people often say from 40 million to 70 million, 30 million to 70 million, in a period of, say, a quarter century or so, and that has imposed upon whatever government there may be great problems in terms of poverty.

    That is, the actual per capita income of millions of people in Iran is very small. And even if there is substantial new wealth given the price of oil in the world and Iranian exports, and that is a major source of the income for the government of the country, if not for its overall GNP, it’s divided at least hypothetically over more and more persons or a part of that population.

    And the same contention has been made with regard to Saudi Arabia, for example, as that population has grown very, very substantially, and therefore the resources supporting the social system, which was always much more generous in the Saudi kingdom than the case of Iran to begin with.

    Now, I raise this question because at least as a strategic problem if the world is discussing at the U.N. level economic sanctions on Iran, depending upon how they are imposed and on whom they are imposed, or if one can find exactly how that’s going to be manifested and how it will work out. The harm obviously to a great many poor people could be very severe.

    This is always the dilemma with regard to a regime that has a lot of people and a lot of them very poor in the process.

    So I’m—without asking you to project ahead precisely what kind of economic sanctions are being proposed, is this something that has come into your purview at all? Are you in the process along with Secretary Joseph of trying to think through in recommendations to Secretary Rice or to those who are negotiating at the U.N.? What do we propose, or even begin to concern our negotiating partners with if we are to be effective, and at the same time, humane? That is, try to respect the fact that diplomatically the need to enlist the support of the Iranian people for world policies, not just ours, but world views with regard to the building of nuclear weapons and so forth, that we might gain some traction if we were thoughtful about this.

    MR. ROOD: Yes, that is a concern that we have in our deliberations on what sort of sanctions we might pursue that we’ve considered inside the administration. You’re correct in pointing out the need we think over the long run to try to have the people in Iran understand that pursuit of nuclear weapons is not going to make them more secure and is not going to improve their livelihood.

    Today the nuclear program without differentiation, whether that’s civilian nuclear reactors or weapons, is all amalgamated by the regime into one thought, and there is popular support for that. I think the question that where we would like to focus that debate is we’ve clearly indicated in the EU-3 proposal that the United States has backed to the Iranian regime that Iran can pursue civilian nuclear power production, it can’t pursue nuclear weapons though, and let’s see how the population responds to that dilemma.

    And as you mentioned, there is a large population and demographically these are younger people, and there is a desire for a better livelihood, and they are impatient for that. If the country experiences greater economic hardships as a result of this pursuit of nuclear weapons, not nuclear energy but nuclear weapons, we would like to split the regime from the people in that way.

    The measures that we have looked at for economic sanctions are—we’ve tried to target on the regime and those making decisions about the nuclear program. That’s where we will start. So we’re mindful of the problem that you mentioned, but this is of course a tricky issue to work through.

    SEN. LUGAR: Well, it is, but it’s an important one in terms of the future relationships of our country with Iran, as well as the world community, that is now deliberating and it’s now set a deadline of August 31st. And likewise in a very sophisticated way this idea I know Secretary Joseph has been entertaining of how do we provide somewhere in the world some nuclear supplies for peaceful regimes that are not building weapons?

    That is, what kind of international organization or protocol makes possible the type of activity you have suggested, a peaceful development, as opposed to a country having to attempt to by hook or crook gain centrifuge technology, to begin working through all the manifestations of that in some covert way, which obviously is going to undermine confidence in whatever area any such regime might occur because the Iranian example might not be the last one.

    And so the need for some international possibilities for people because we made decide as a point of our own national energy policy to encourage once again nuclear reactors in the United States. And I don’t want to burrow that issue into your hearing today and to make life more difficult for you as you seek this position, but currently this is an active debate going on in our country as to whether we can make it without having some modern nuclear facilities quite apart from the Chinese that we’re encouraging, or even India in the agreement that we are looking at with them.

    So to the extent that other countries were able to in fact obtain sources of power that are not as harmful to the environment as others are, maybe this is a desire that we want to manifest, and maybe it can be an outcome of what have been very difficult negotiations with Iran to date.

    But I mention all this as a part of the hearing because these have to be considerations I know for you given your overall responsibility with regard first of all to stopping proliferation, and maybe in a more positive way how do you downgrade highly enriched to something else? How do you use this successfully in ways that might engender peace rather than nuclear complication?

    MR. ROOD: Mr. Chairman, you’ve put your finger on I think a key structural issue in the non-proliferation realm. When we have pursued non-proliferation actions against countries like Iran the familiar cry is that developed countries are trying to deny the livelihood of those that are developing, and that of course is not the case.

    But what a number of people, including Dr. ElBaradei, the head of the IAEA, have pointed out is that in the present system you can come within a screwdriver’s turn away from a nuclear weapon, is the phrase he uses, legitimately. And so the challenge I think is not to encourage countries to pursue their own enrichment reprocessing technologies, but to find a way to give them an assurance that fuel supply will arrive.

    And if you’re an energy minister in a developing country, if your goal is to provide power for your people this is much more economical, if you can rely upon fuel arriving when you need it. And if there’s some confidence you have that the international system will provide for that as opposed to building an entire fuel cycle, which unless you’re going to have a lot of reactors, is not economical. So we have taken some steps and we’ve made some progress at the IAEA. We have six countries that have signed up to a fuel assurance regime.

    You touched on another important objective I thought in your statement where you said if there’s a way we can deal with some of the nuclear weapons material we have at the same time in pursuit of this goal, that’s a real benefit, and so in furtherance of our policy the Energy Department has set aside over 17 tons of highly enriched uranium that could be blended down for low enriched uranium for fuel.

    You’re familiar with another program that’s been a great success. We recently hit a milestone where we’re halfway through the program. We in the United States have imported the equivalent of 10,000 nuclear warheads from Russia, and that provides 10 percent of America’s electricity, and so one out of every 10 light bulbs in the United States is lit by the material that used to be targeted in a nuclear warhead on an American city. This is a real achievement in non- proliferation, and we would like to promote similar efforts in our assured fuel supply initiative.

    REP. LUGAR: I can remember early visits to authorities in Russia about this very issue in which the Russians were eager to find a market for highly enriched uranium which they felt was of great value, and how all that was to occur has evolved in many ways, as you know, over the last 15 years.

    But it’s a very important consideration. As you say, the highly enriched uranium involved, if at least the score sheets in our office of the non-proliferation program are correct, 13,300 warheads with a huge amount of highly enriched uranium altogether. We’ve worked our way through half of those, as Russians and Americans, in cooperative threat reduction, and it’s cooperative to countries, not a unilateral gesture on our part.

    But as you finally get the warheads off the missiles the question is, what do you do with them and what happens to this what could be very dangerous fissile material, highly enriched uranium? And for many Russians the answer has been a sale. The question then is creating the markets, who pays for it, who stores it, what to do with it from then on.

    But this is sort of grist for the mill in your shop, and I think we’re all hopeful that process will continue because it has lessened security problems for every nation on earth. The downgrading of this to low enriched, our low grade uranium, and the use therefore in nuclear facilities, and that type of recycling is an extraordinarily important thing in terms of all of our safety.

    Well, I thank you very much for your forthcoming responses. Obviously, these are areas in which you have given the subject matter a great deal of thought, and I stressed the IAEA questions today because it’s a way of illustrating our own desire to work with that international agency and with others in a multinational, multilateral framework.

    We have our own objectives and our own professionals, but obviously they are conversant and cooperative with those of other countries who are doing some more work for that which you and Secretary Joseph will be doing.

    So we look forward to forwarding your nomination to the committee, and unhappily we will not have another business meeting of the committee until early September, but your nomination will be on the agenda for consideration of the committee on that occasion. And I personally wish you well in your endeavors, and we will work for the confirmation of your nomination.

    MR. ROOD: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

    SEN. LUGAR: If you have no further comments I will declare the hearing adjourned.

    MR. ROOD: No, sir, thank you.

    SEN. LUGAR: The hearing is adjourned. Thank you.

  2. Mike H

    Isn’t there a risk that appointing something like a new North Korea policy coordinator would just become yet another bureaucratic layer used to reinforce what the Bush administration wants to do anyways?

  3. J (History)

    Jeffrey, I would actually disagree on Chris Hill being a fine choice for the North Korea policy coordinator slot. The intent of the Congress in passing that provision was to create a sequel to the Bill Perry model in the late 1990’s, when he undertook a comprehensive review of Clinton Administration policy towards the DPRK and issued a set of recommendations in 1998, setting the stage for the flurry of talks that almost resulted in a final deal before time ran out for the Clinton Administration. In other words, the provision was drafted to allow the White House a face-saving means to step back from its disastrous current policy and appoint a Brent Scowcroft/Jim Baker/GOP “wise man” to come up with a new game plan, free of any existing baggage or constraints.

    Chris Hill, while a perfectly decent fellow, is tasked with carrying out current policy. It will be difficult for him to reject that policy and propose something brand new. And I fear he does not have the stature or heft with the White House to give juice to a genuine policy alternative.

    If the White House appoints Hill to this position, they may be complying with the letter of the law, but will be rejecting the spirit behind it.

  4. Robot Economist (History)

    I’m slightly dubious about Dr. J’s suggestion to triple-hat Chris Hill with the role of North Korea coordinator. Wouldn’t putting all of the bureaucratic-process eggs into Hill’s basket just make it easier for guys like Joe Rood or Bob Joesph (or anyone higher up) to sidestep the bureaucracy entirely?

    I’m not saying that spreading responsibilities around a little wouldn’t stop a Bush administration appointee from making unilateral or uncoordinated policy changes, but it might slow them down a little.

  5. Jeffrey Lewis

    Well, I wasn’t suggesting triple-hatting Hill (as much as moving him from one position to another), but I take J’s arguments that Hill may by wedded to current policy and lacking stature with the White House.

    So, nominations?

  6. Robot Economist (History)

    I don’t disagree with nominating Hill to the position. For someone who started as a Balkans specialist, he has performed pretty well given the circumstances.

    My original comment was a cynical stab at the Bush administration’s tendency to pull the rug out from under their North Korea policy people at the last minute. Putting Hill in charge of policy coordination will simply make their job easier (fewer rugs to pull).

    I am slightly concerned about adding to Hill’s already full plate as 6-P negotiator and assistant secretary of state for East Asia and Pacific affairs. Ice hockey has hat tricks, not the executive branch.

    At least, if he is made both 6-P negotiator and North Korea policy coordinator, take him out of the EAP spot.

  7. J (History)

    Potential nominations:

    If the Administration is serious about executing a policy shift on North Korea, it would nominate Donald Gregg—the former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea under 41. He has been outspoken in recent years on the flaws in current U.S. policy and thus has been largely frozen out of the White House, like his mentor Brent Scowcroft. But he is a Republican and is in the good graces of the Baker-Gates crowd.

    An alternative is Don Oberdorfer, but he is likely viewed as too much of a pinkie Commie for these guys. Even worse, he is an ex-journalist.

  8. Robot Economist (History)

    If I were president, I would tap Mitchell Reiss for the job. He sat on the KEDO board and has some experience as a special envoy (albeit to Northern Ireland). I doubt the White House would consider him because he replaced Richard Haas at the end of Colin Powell’s tenure in Foggy Bottom.

    Charles Kartman and Donald Gregg are good choices as well, but I doubt the Bush administration would pick either. If the White House really cared enough to pick a coordinator, they’d probably pass over relative outsiders like Kartman and Gregg (even though he has an in with 41).

  9. SL

    Better update his wikipedia entry…

  10. J (History)

    Mitch Reiss is otherwise occupied in presidential politics—he’s Mitt Romney’s foreign policy advisor, e.g. the same role that Condi Rice played for another governor in 1999 and 2000.

    I suspect Reiss will do a better job.