Wednesday, January 19, 2011

US Embassy Luxembourg: Two executive assistants at this Front Office but no DCM?

Not even in an acting capacity. What's with that?

We can't recall seeing anything like this. Every embassy has its hierarchy and back-up responsibilities are almost always assigned before hand to ensure the proper functioning of the mission.  When an accredited ambassador is away from his or her host country, the number two person normally steps forward as charge d'affaires or at times, as chargĂ©s d’affaires ad interim.  From what we've seen, whoever is the number#3 most senior person in the mission then steps up as the acting deputy chief of mission.  However, we have just been told that this is not true at all times.  Our correspondent told us that the ADCM position does not automatically go to the next most senior FSO -- it's still the ambassador's or charge's call. We stand corrected.  Occasionally,  we have also seen this duty rotated among several officers.

But here's what's kind of strange about the US Embassy in Luxembourg. There is nobody listed as DCM there, been like that for a while now -- none, nada --  although there are two "executive assistants." Are these executive assistants what we'd normally call in diplospeak as Office Management Specialists? 

The question is -- who assume charge of the embassy when the ambassador is not at post? Do they flip a coin?

On a related note, this is not the only mission which caught our attention.

At the US Embassy in Finland, we note that the ambassador's chef in Helsinki gets top billing on its website, next only to the ambassador there.  Much easier to find the cook's name than the names of the key officers of the embassy.


At the US Embassy in Japan, the ambassador's wife gets second billing after the ambassador and before the official number #2 person at the embassy. 

Okay ... so what ... so petty, who cares .... 

Um nothing, we're just saying.

We're kinda bored today, true -- but we're also kinda concerned on who gets to flip that coin in Luxembourg.

So hey -- whatever happened to the DCM there?

* * *

Our correspondent above, also made note of the absence of an acting DCM.

As for no ADCM at all: I deliberately (and with the bureau's knowledge) had no ADCM while serving as charge for nearly a year at a post where a thin bench meant pulling an officer from a section would have left that section itself without direction.  
However, that is not the reason why Luxembourg repeatedly had no DCM recently.  

Oh, the mystery thickens!

This post was updated @ 6:10 pm to add correspondent's point on ADCM; added for clarification. Thank you T!

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