U.S. President Donald Trump has announced his intention to nominate career diplomat Kelly Degnan as the new U.S. ambassador to Georgia, a post that has been vacant for nearly a year and a half.
Degnan currently serves as a political adviser to the commander of the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-U.S. Naval Forces Africa, according to a September 3 White House statement.
Diplomatic relations with Georgia were officially established in 1992 after that country's 1991 independence from the Soviet Union.
Washington has been an ally of Georgia, having provided technical assistance and aid for democratic reforms and economic development.
On August 8, the United States and five European countries marked 11 years since a five-day war between Russia and Georgia over two breakaway regions of Georgia by urging Moscow to withdraw its military forces to the positions held before the outbreak of those hostilities.
In a joint statement, the UN ambassadors of the United States, Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Poland, and Britain expressed support for Georgia's independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.
A native of California, Degnan's career has spanned 25 years and has included senior diplomatic postings to Italy, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Turkey.
Degnan also served as the deputy executive secretary of the State Department, political counselor at the U.S. mission to NATO, and special assistant to the secretary of state.
Degnan speaks Italian, French, Turkish, and Urdu.
Elizabeth Rudd has served as acting ambassador to Georgia since Ambassador Ian Kelly departed in March 2018.