U.S. President Donald Trump intends to nominate A. Wess Mitchell, who heads a think tank on Central and Eastern Europe, as assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, the White House announced on July 20.
Mitchell, whom the White House described as an expert on NATO and transatlantic relations, founded the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) in 2005 and has been its president and CEO since 2009.
If approved by the Senate, he will fill a key State Department position that has been vacant since January 20, when Victoria Nuland, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, left the post upon Trump’s inauguration.
The office covers a large array of countries, many in potential conflict areas, including the Balkans and the Caucasus.
Nuland was considered the point person on the conflict in Ukraine, but those duties have subsequently been split off. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on July 7 announced that Kurt Volker, Washington’s NATO ambassador under the previous two U.S. administrations, would become the special envoy for the war-torn country.
During the 2012 U.S. presidential election, Mitchell served on the national security team for the campaign of Republican candidate Mitt Romney, according to the CEPA website.