Mark William Lippert is currently the special assistant to the Secretary of Defense Charles Hagel. Immediately prior to his current position, Mr. Lippert served as the assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs (2012-2013). In 2005, Mr. Lippert joined the staff of then Senator Barack Obama as a foreign policy advisor.Upon President Obama’s successful election, Mr. Lippert was appointed deputy assistant to the president and chief of staff for the National Security Council.
In 2009, Mr. Lippert briefly left government to complete a two-year rotation as a naval intelligence officer with Naval Special Operations Forces in Afghanistan and Africa, before returning to join the Department of Defense in 2012.
Why has he been in the news?
On June 17, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee will undertake the confirmation hearing for Mr. Lippert’s nomination as the next U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Korea. The White House first announced the nomination on May 1 and, if confirmed, Lippert will succeed Ambassador Sung Kim who is expected to complete his three year term in August 2014.
What can we expect from him?
Mark Lippert is widely seen as among the most knowledgeable people on Asia policy in the Obama administration. However, while his expertise in political-military issues will greatly benefit U.S.-ROK relations, Mr. Lippert will also need to concurrently deal with the task of managing the considerable, and oft complex, economic and financial relations between the two countries. Nevertheless, once he is confirmed, agreement in Seoul should come fairly quickly in order for him to start work immediately.