A career ambassador is equivalent in rank to a 4-star General and Flag Officers in the US military. Like military ranks and other Foreign Service ranks, the Senior Foreign Service grade system assigns rank in person, not rank in position.
3 FAM 2230: Career ambassadors (FE-CA)—In recognition of especially distinguished service over a sustained period, the President may, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, confer the personal rank of career ambassador on a career member of the Senior Foreign Service (see Section 302(a)(2)(A) of the Act).
Via Laura Rozen of Politico
President Barack Obama has nominated three veteran American diplomats to receive the rank of Career Ambassador.
Nominated for the honor, which recognizes extremely distinguished service, are: U.S. Amb. to Iraq Jim Jeffrey, a former U.S. Amb. to Turkey and National Security Council Middle East advisor; the State Department Director General of Human Resources Nancy Powell, a former U.S. Amb. to Nepal and National Intelligence Officer for South Asia; and former U.S. Amb. to Argentina and veteran diplomat Early "Tony" Wayne, currently the deputy U.S. Amb. in Afghanistan.
1. President Obama has nominated the following career members of the Senior Foreign Service for conferral of the personal rank of Career Ambassador, in recognition of their especially distinguished service:
James Franklin Jeffrey
Nancy J. Powell
Earl A. Wayne
2. The recommendations by the Secretary to The President resulted from the findings of the 2010 Career Ambassador Review Panel. The nominations are subject to Senate confirmation.
3. We all join in congratulating our colleagues on being nominated for this highest honor in the foreign service.
We note that Ambassadors Jeffrey (Iraq) and Nancy Powell (HR) were also two of the State Department's Presidential Rank awardees for 2009.
Not all ambassadors, of course, get the personal rank of Career Ambassador. In fact, very few, actually gets nominated and granted such a rank. Ryan Crocker, the former US Ambassador to Iraq was one. President Bush conferred on him the personal rank of Career Ambassador, the highest in the Foreign Service in September 2004. Also, former ambassador and "P", Marc Grossman (he was briefly HR/DG from 2000-2001), former ambassador and "P", Thomas Pickering, former Ambassador Frank Wisner. There must be a few others more ....
Anybody out there knows who are the members of the 2010 Career Ambassador Review Panel?
Also -- we're curious on who actually nominates the members of the Review Panel?