Deborah Jones’s résumé includes a stint as U.S. ambassador to Kuwait. (Gustavo Ferrari/AP)

During her Tuesday swearing-in ceremony, Jones, a career diplomat, likened such events to weddings. “Your first is elaborate and large,” she told the crowd. “Your second, a small gathering before the justice of the peace — wiser and more sober about the nature of the journey you are about to embark.”

But she said the “hoopla” was needed in this case. “Our State Department family needed it,” she added. “It is the weddings, with their optimism and promise of new life, that get us through the moments of grief that like invariably presents, the grief we now associate with Libya and the loss of our colleagues.”