To many people the U.S. Department of State (DOS) is as foreign as the countries in which our embassies are placed. Fortunately, we here at A BETTER PEACE know some people, and on this episode we welcome Andrea Gastaldo to share her experiences as the Director of the Department of State’s Political-Military Bureau Office of State-Defense Integration (PM/SDI). That particular office may not be familiar to most military folks but the Foreign Policy Advisor or POLAD program that Andrea is responsible for probably rings a bell. She joins our own Associate Editor Amanda Cronkhite in the next installment of this multi-part series to discuss the details of a program that probably has more direct contact with the military and combatant command leaderships than any other office in DOS. Andrea has served as a POLAD to the Commanding General of U.S. Army North and has experience around the world in such places as South Africa, Belarus and New Zealand. Her current position finds her recruiting and mentoring future POLADs and that experience makes her the perfect guest to conduct the next installment of what we’re calling DOS 101.
So what we look for in the POLADs themselves are people not only willing to learn, but also to give back to the Department. We really want to make sure that they come back to the Department and use their now expert knowledge on DoD and relationships and the culture of DoD back in the Department to actually help maintain and strengthen the relationship in the inter-agency, not just with DoD, but in the inter-agencies all around.
Andrea Gastaldo is the Director of the Department of State’s Political-Military Bureau Office of State-Defense Integration (PM/SDI), where she manages the Foreign Policy Advisor (POLAD) program, building partnerships and foreign policy expertise in matters pivotal to both the Department and DOD.
Amanda Cronkhite is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the U.S. Army’s School of Advanced Military Studies and an Associate Editor of the War Room.
The views expressed in this presentation are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Army War College, U.S. Army, Department of Defense or the Department of State.
Photo Description: Clockwise from top left: ARNORTH Foreign Policy Advisor (POLAD), Andrea Gastaldo, selected by the State Dept as the 2018 Robert D. Murphy Senior-Level POLAD of the Year Award winner! (Jul 2018); Ambasador Butler (POLAD) and Supreme Allied Commander Europe, Adm. James Stavridis, have a chat just before the SACEUR boards his plane and leaves Afghanistan from Kabul International Airport (Aug 2009); Dr. John Finney, center, a senior State Department veteran who blazed the trail for foreign policy advisors at the National Guard Bureau, introduces Air Force Gen. Craig McKinley, the chief of the National Guard Bureau, to Farah Pandith, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s special representative to Muslim communities (Aug 2010); Thomas Niblock, second from right, foreign policy adviser to the chief of the National Guard Bureau, at the U.S. European Command National Guard State Partnership Program Conference (Jul 2014); Ambassador Tatiana Gfoeller, foreign policy advisor to the chief of the National Guard Bureau, listens to a briefing during a Thanksgiving troop visit in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (Nov 2016); Irvin Hicks Jr., foreign policy advisor (POLAD) for Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, greets multinational military partners during a cultural exchange event at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti (Feb 2019); left to right: Maj. Gen. Andrew Poppas, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) commander and Resolute Support deputy chief of staff for operations, Catherine Hill-Herndon, U.S. Central Command senior political advisor, Gen. Joseph Votel, U.S. Central Command commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Todd Sims, Resolute Support DCOS-OPS senior enlisted leader (May 2018)
Photo Credit: Clockwise from top left: ARNORTH; NATO-SHAPE; Sgt. Darron Salzer; Sgt. 1st Class Jim Greenhill; Sgt. 1st Class Jim Greenhill; Tech. Sgt. Shawn Nickel; Master Sgt. Tanya Polk