James F. Dobbins
BiographyJames F. Dobbins was appointed by President Clinton as Acting Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs on May 26, 2000. He was nominated to the Senate on September 26, 2000. On December 29, 2000, President Clinton announced Ambassador Dobbins's recess appointment as Assistant Secretary for European Affairs, and Ambassador Dobbins was sworn in on January 4, 2001.
Ambassador Dobbins brings to these responsibilities over 20 years of experience in European affairs. In Washington he has served as Deputy Assistant Secretary (1982-85), Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary (1989-90) and Acting Assistant Secretary for European and Canadian Affairs (1991). In Europe, he served as Ambassador to the European Community (1991-93), Deputy Chief of Mission in Bonn (1985-89), Political-Military Officer in London (1978-81) and Political Officer in Paris (1969).
Ambassador Dobbins has also acted as the Department of State's senior manager for peace operations in Kosovo, Bosnia, Haiti and Somalia. From February 1999 until embarking upon his current assignment, he served as Special Advisor to the President and Secretary of State for Kosovo and Dayton Implementation, with lead responsibility for management of the Balkan crisis throughout the 1999 Kosovo conflict. Earlier, Ambassador Dobbins served as the Administration's coordinator for Haiti, overseeing the diplomatic and civil aspects of the 1994-96 intervention. He filled a similar role in overseeing the disengagement of U.S. forces from Somalia in 1993-94.
Ambassador Dobbins has held positions dealing with Latin American and Multilateral Affairs. From 1996 until 1999 he was Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director on the National Security Council Staff responsible for Latin America. Earlier, Ambassador Dobbins served with the U.S. Mission to the United Nations (1973-75), the U.S. Mission to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (1967-68), the Department of State's Policy Planning Staff (1969-71), and with the U.S. Delegation to the Vietnam Peace Talks (1968).
In addition to his official posts, Ambassador Dobbins has held appointments as a Senior Fellow with the Rand Corporation in 1993, and occupied a similar position with the Council on Foreign Relations in 1995-96.
Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Ambassador Dobbins served three years as an officer in the United States Navy, including two tours of duty in the Vietnam theatre aboard the U.S.S Bon Homme Richard (CVA 31).
Ambassador Dobbins has received two Superior Honor Awards, three Presidential Awards, six Senior Performance Awards, the Department of the Army Decoration for Distinguished Civilian Service, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Expeditionary Medal of the Republic of Vietnam.
Ambassador Dobbins was born in 1942 in New York City. He received a Bachelor's degree from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in 1963. He is married to Toril Kleivdal Dobbins. They have two sons.
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