On Wednesday November 17th, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) held a nomination hearing for Jack Lew’s replacement as Deputy Secretary of State – Thomas Nides. In his opening remarks, SFRC Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) underscored the work that will continue as the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) is rolled out. Ranking Member Richard Lugar (R-IN) pointed out the importance of the position and reminded Nides that the committee has drafted and passed legislation to advance the objective of a balanced foreign policy with the help of Secretary Gates and Secretary Clinton.
During his testimony Nides – who is currently serving as the Chief Operating Officer at Morgan Stanley – used his experience in the private sector to demonstrate he is up for the challenge. After noting that he shares the Secretary’s vision for elevating diplomacy and development, he listed three priorities he will undertake once in office:
- Build a more operational State Department.
- Unify civilian forces in USAID. For example, Nides said he will galvanize cross-cutting efforts around a common global health strategy.
- Implement an agenda of reform and transparency. Nides pointed to the QDDR as an example of how this effort is already underway.
During the question and answer session, Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) asked Nides how he will continue his predecessor’s agenda and the coordination of roles across State and USAID. Nides answered by saying Secretary Clinton has been clear with her objectives via a whole-of-government approach. He went on to say the Global Health Initiative, for example, forced coordination across agencies to use resources efficiently, adding he has met with USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah in connecting the dots and using taxpayer money wisely.
Nides’ nomination hearing came one day before his predecessor Jack Lew was confirmed as the Director of the US Office of Management and Budget (OMB).