Washington, DC – Foreign Policy for America celebrates the Senate’s confirmation today of Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins as Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security and congratulates Ambassador Jenkins on her new role. As a member of the FP4A Board of Directors from 2018 to 2021, we can say from experience that we are looking forward to seeing her leadership in action at the State Department.
It had become especially critical that the Senate finally confirm Ambassador Jenkins, as the U.S. and Russia prepare to meet for strategic dialogues later this month. As the senior administration official leading those talks, it was truly disgraceful to think the Senate’s inaction could have led to a lack of leadership on our delegation. Her confirmation will allow the United States to move forward in reducing the risk posed to our national security by the nuclear weapons of our adversaries and effectively addressing today’s complex array of global security challenges.
Ambassador Jenkins is exceedingly qualified for this role, with vast experience and a steadfast belief in the hard work of diplomacy. She served as Coordinator for Threat Reduction Programs, was the State Department lead on the Nuclear Security Summits and the U.S. Representative to G7 Global Partnership, helped lead diplomatic efforts on the Global Health Security Agenda, and was nominated for the 2016 Secretary of State’s Award for Excellence in International Security Affairs. One of the foremost experts in her field, she also served as Counsel on the 9/11 Commission and the U.S. Commission on the Organization of the Federal Government to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation, and she is a retired Naval Reserves Officer.
Most recently, Ambassador Jenkins founded a non-profit, Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security, and Conflict Transformation (WCAPS), where she has continued her work of advancing new voices and diverse leadership in international security. In addition to her numerous responsibilities on arms control and security, as the first African American to be Under Secretary of State, we expect Amb. Jenkins will use this senior leadership role as an opportunity to amplify new voices, promote diversity within the State Department, and mentor our next generation of leaders.
While we are thrilled to see that Ambassador Jenkins has finally been confirmed, she is just one of 60 other State Department nominations awaiting confirmation. Many of these senior positions are being held hostage by Senator Ted Cruz, who is using the success of our country’s foreign policy as a bargaining chip. We urge Sen. Cruz to drop these baseless holds and we urge Leader Schumer and the rest of Senate to do whatever is necessary to confirm these nominees so that they can start doing their jobs and delivering for the American people.
“Ambassador Jenkins is without question a trailblazing leader,” said FP4A Executive Director Andrew Albertson. “Through WCAPS, she took it upon herself to mentor thousands of rising leaders – as well as her peers, the leadership of other Washington foreign policy and national security organizations. Her confirmation marks one more meaningful step toward the goal of a State Department that reflects the full brilliance and diversity of our country.”