US diplomacy has a problem. About one-fifth of the nation’s ambassador-level posts are currently unfilled. Most of that is because nominations have been held up when they come for review before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“This is rather unprecedented, and I think it’s also rather unfortunate,” says Tomicah Tillemann, senior fellow at the New America Foundation. Tillemann used to work for the State Department and is also a former staffer with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where he used to help vet ambassadorial candidates.