At a Glance
- Career History: Director, Office of Management Policy, Rightsizing and Innovation (2007); Deputy Director for Management, Director of National Intelligence (2005 to 2007); Chief of Staff, Iraqi transition unit (May 2004 to Aug. 2004)
- Hometown: Chicago, Ill.
- Alma Mater: Georgetown School of Foreign Service, BSFS, 1973
Path to Power
Kennedy is a native of Chicago, Ill., and received a bachelor's in foreign service from Georgetown University in 1973. He joined the Foreign Service that year, and spent the next two decades serving a number of posts, including management counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and a Washington-based gig as executive director and deputy Executive secretary of the executive secretariat.
Kennedy joined the State Department's management team in 1993, when he was named assistant secretary of state for administration. From August 1996 to August 1997, he also served as state's acting under secretary for management. From 1997 to 2001, he led a reorganization of the foreign affairs agencies at the State Department.
The State Department has struggled for years to fill vacancies with talented, well-trained staffers. At his 2007 confirmation in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Kennedy outlined his vision for addressing the problem, saying "I want to underline my commitment to recruiting, developing and retaining a highly skilled workforce representative of America's diversity. To recruit the people the country needs, the Department must continually expand its outreach to all parts of American society. We cannot afford to - and morally must not - leave any stone unturned."
Kennedy is also responsible for expanding the State Department's diplomatic efforts, a priority for Congress. "More than any time during my 20 years in Congress, diplomacy and development assistance are being viewed as key components of our national security," Rep Nita M. Lowey (D-NY) said in February 2008. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates also called for an expansion in spending on civil-service officers who address national security, diplomacy and foreign assistance.
As a State Department under secretary, Kennedy will work closely with Undersecretary for Political Affairs William Burns and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton . He will also work with John Berry , who directs President Barack Obama 's Office of Presidential Personnel ; Steven N. Kosiak , the director for national security and international affairs at the Office of Management and Budget ; and the deputy director for administration at the Central Intelligence Agency.