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Thursday, 16 July 2015 16:46

Smith tapped as director of foreign missions

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Smith at the podium during the swearing-in service. Smith at the podium during the swearing-in service. U.S. Department of State

Weldon native Gentry O. Smith was sworn in Tuesday as the director of the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Foreign Missions, a position that comes with the rank of ambassador.

He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee to this position on June 15.

In his capacity as director of foreign missions, Smith is responsible for ensuring foreign diplomats comply with guidelines governing diplomatic privileges and immunities granted by the U.S. government; improving the treatment of U.S. missions and their personnel abroad; and providing service to the foreign diplomatic and consular community in the United State in matters such as tax, customs, property and motor vehicles.

“I believe strongly in the art of diplomacy. It is the greatest tool in our arsenal for addressing the multitude of issues we encounter around the world. And like it or not, there are times when it is our only tool,” said Smith. “I believe the relations we have with people and governments around the world are the most effective manner for expressing our own values and our best chance of effecting foreign policy at the highest levels.”

Prior to this appointment, he served in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security as the deputy assistant secretary for countermeasures.

In that position, Smith supervised the development of security standards and policies associated with the physical and technical security of U.S. diplomatic missions around the world.

Smith entered service with the Department of State in 1987 and has been a career member of the Senior Foreign Service since 2006.

Smith served as director of the office of Physical Security Programs.

He has also served as the regional security officer at U.S. Embassy Tokyo, Japan and at U.S. Embassy Rangoon, Burma.

He has also held the positions of security officer and as deputy regional security officer during two separate tours at U.S. Embassy Cairo, Egypt.

 

Smith is married with four children. He graduated from North Carolina State University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences with a bachelor’s degree in political science and served as an officer with the Raleigh Police Department in Raleigh for four years.

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