The Washington Post

Trade, Commerce and Asia spots still vacant

(From left to right) Mark Lippert, U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and another Japanese official in Tokyo, April 5. (Issei Kato/Reuters)

We reported in 2009, that Mark Lippert, who had been President Obama’s top foreign policy aide in the Senate and briefly White House deputy national security adviser was returning to military service.

(Our colleague Bob Woodward reported that Lippert’s departure owed to friction between him and former National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones.) Obama said then that Lippert was “a close friend” who “will always have a senior foreign policy position in this White House, when he chooses to return to civilian life.”

Two years later, Obama named Lippert assistant secretary of defense for Asia. On Friday, after only a year in that job, Lippert was tapped by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to be his chief of staff. (Looks like coordination with White House policy will be quite seamless.)

While Lippert’s top deputy, Peter Lavoy, may move up, the promotion opens that job for now and other senior posts involving East Asia and trade matters are open, observes our pal Chris Nelson of The Nelson Report,

National Security Council senior director for Asia Danny Russel is in line to be assistant secretary of state for East Asia, and deputy national security adviser for economic affairs Michael Froman may be back in the mix for U.S. Trade Rep, Nelson notes.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.


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