In relation to "Mr. Stuart Seldowitz, Acting Director for South Asia, NSC": what does "acting" there mean in terms of the length of Seldowitz's tenure in that job? Did he have to be confirmed by the Senate for this job to become "non-acting"? Or was someone else entirely appointed thereafter, even without needing a Senate confirmation, because one might not be needed for such director of division jobs in the NSC?


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This position does not appear in the Plum Book for 2020, nor do other comparable NSC regional directors. This implies that it is a civil service appointment with permanent positions filled via a merit based civil service hiring system rather than a political appointment (either with or without U.S. Senate confirmation).

Therefore, the position is "acting" because someone in the division has been appointed to carry out that task, until a merit based appointment can be made, after a vacancy arose in the position.

  • So, I guess such appointments don't come from the President then? Nov 23, 2023 at 1:27
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    @Fizz They do not. The civil service system would present three top candidates to choose from for the NSC director, or perhaps someone one level below that, to choose from. That person would serve until fired for cause, or until they resign or retire or die.
    – ohwilleke
    Nov 23, 2023 at 1:28
  • I don’t think this is accurate. For instance, a number of lower-level NSC positions were announced before Biden was sworn in, well before a civil service process could possibly have been completed. Also, a lot of NSC personnel aren’t even employed by the NSC, just detailed from an executive agency.
    – cpast
    Nov 23, 2023 at 4:10
  • @cpast NSC civil servants may have resigned in anticipation of a Biden Presidency starting in November, leaving time to hire replacements. Lots of NSC personnel aren't employed by the NSC but surely "Acting Director for South Asia, NSC" is.
    – ohwilleke
    Nov 23, 2023 at 19:33
  • @ohwilleke I’m not sure why you say they surely are employed by the NSC. For instance, Anny Vu was the China director on detail from the State Department. Jeff Greene was a director of cyber policy and acting senior director on detail from NIST. Senior NSC positions are often filled by detailees.
    – cpast
    Nov 23, 2023 at 19:51

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