Under Secretary of State
for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs
Seal of the United States Department of State
|Nominator||President of the United States|
|Inaugural holder||Evelyn S. Lieberman|
The Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs is currently a top-10 ranking position in the U.S. Department of State that is intended to help ensure that public diplomacy is practiced in combination with public affairs and traditional diplomacy to advance U.S. interests and security. The Under Secretary oversees three bureaus at the Department of State: Educational and Cultural Affairs, Public Affairs, and International Information Programs. Also reporting to the Under Secretary are the Office of Policy, Planning and Resources for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs and the Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy.
The position was created on October 1, 1999, during the Clinton administration after Title XIII, Section 1313 of the Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act of 1998 (112 Stat. 2681-776). Section 2305 of the Act (112 Stat. 2681-825) increased the number of Under Secretaries of State from five to six. Subdivision A of the Act, also known as the Foreign Affairs Agencies Consolidation Act of 1998, abolished the United States Information Agency and the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.
The duties of Under Secretary were filled in an acting capacity by Michelle Giuda until her return to private industry in March of 2020. Since September of 2020, the role is currently filled in an acting capacity by Nilda Pedrosa >
Full appointments to the position require confirmation by the Senate.
From October 1, 1999, through August 29, 2019, the Under Secretary has been without a confirmed appointment 35.8% of the days. The average time between confirmed appointments is been 289 days (or over 9.5 months). Looking at the last three administrations, the office was without a confirmed Under Secretary for 37.2% of the Bush Administration, 21.8% of the Obama Administration, and 89.4% of the Trump Administration (as of August 29, 2019).
|Name||In office||Image||President(s) served under|
|Evelyn S. Lieberman||October 1, 1999 – January 19, 2001||Bill Clinton|
|Charlotte Beers||October 2, 2001 – March 28, 2003||George W. Bush|
|Margaret D. Tutwiler||December 16, 2003 – June 30, 2004||George W. Bush|
|Karen Hughes||September 9, 2005 – December 14, 2007||George W. Bush|
|James K. Glassman||June 10, 2008 – January 15, 2009||George W. Bush|
|Judith McHale||May 26, 2009 – July 2011||Barack Obama|
|Kathleen Stephens||February 6, 2012 – April 4, 2012
|Tara Sonenshine||April 5, 2012 – July 1, 2013||Barack Obama|
|Richard Stengel||February 11, 2014 – December 7, 2016||Barack Obama|
|Bruce Wharton||December 8, 2016 – July 2017
|Steve Goldstein||December 4, 2017 – March 13, 2018||Donald Trump|
|Heather Nauert||March 13, 2018 – October 10, 2018
|Michelle Giuda||February 5, 2019 – March 3, 2020
|Nilda Pedrosa||September 28, 2020 – present
(Acting by designation)