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A Town Hall on Assignments and Security Clearances

May 15, 2023

Program Overview

In light of the recent changes to assignment restriction policy, Department employees are encouraged to join moderator Ombuds Jeanne Juliao for a conversation on assignments and security clearances with Under Secretary for Management John R. Bass, Director General Marcia S. Bernicat, and DS Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Carlos Matus. 

*OpenNet users will have to click open new tab option and enter SLIDO event code #ClearanceQ&A*



Jeanne M. Juliao, Ombuds U.S. Department of State

Jeanne Juliao is the Ombuds for the Department of State. The Secretary’s Office of the Ombuds
helps employees find mutually satisfactory solutions to workplace conflicts. Ms. Juliao serves as
an advisor to the Secretary and senior Department leadership on workplace issues — especially
those that distract colleagues from their duties or disrupt our ability to achieve the Department’s
goals — and promote a respectful, productive organizational culture for all of our employees
around the world.
Ms. Juliao joined the Department in 2002. Prior to her current Assistant Secretary role, she held
several positions in the Bureau of Global Talent Management, including as Deputy Assistant
Secretary (2018-2022); the Director of the Grievance Staff; Attorney Advisor; Senior Advisor to
the Deputy Assistant Secretary in HR; and Chief of the Conduct, Suitability, and Discipline
Division in the Office of Employee Relations. Overseas, she had tours in Italy, Colombia, and
Venezuela, serving as a Professional Associate in Political and Economic affairs, a Community
Liaison Office Coordinator, and in General Services and Cultural Affairs positions.

Ms. Juliao is a member of the Senior Executive Service (SES) and a recipient of numerous awards, including the Presidential Rank Award, Superior Honor and Meritorious Honor awards, and has been recognized for exceptional performance in the SES.  Prior to joining the Department, she was an Assistant District Attorney in New York, prosecuting violent crimes.


John Bass, Under Secretary for Management

John Bass was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on December 17, 2021, as the Under Secretary for Management.

A career Senior Foreign Service officer, he served as Senior Advisor at the Foreign Service Institute from 2020-2021, U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan 2017-2020, U.S. Ambassador to Turkey from 2014 to 2017, Executive Secretary of the State Department from 2012 to 2014, and U.S. Ambassador to Georgia from 2009 to 2012. He began his diplomatic career in 1988 and has also served in positions in U.S. missions in Iraq, Italy, Belgium, and Chad.

In Washington, Ambassador Bass’s assignments have included service on Vice President Cheney’s staff, as Chief of Staff and advisor to Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, as Director of the State Department’s Operations Center and in several assignments focused on European security issues. He has received numerous State Department performance awards.

The son of a public servant and a U.S. Air Force officer, Bass was born and raised in upstate New York. A graduate of Syracuse University, he speaks Italian and French. He is married to U.S. diplomat Holly Holzer Bass.


Marcia Bernicat, Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Global Talent

Marcia Bernicat, a career member of the Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, is currently the Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Global Talent. 

Ambassador Bernicat previously served as Acting Assistant Secretary for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES) and concurrently as the Senior Official for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment (E) from January-August 2021.  She was a Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary for E from 2020-2021 and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in OES from 2019-2020.   She served as Ambassador to Bangladesh from 2015-2018 and to Senegal and Guinea-Bissau from 2008-2011.  Ms. Bernicat previously served domestically in the Department of State as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Human Resources; Office Director for India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Bhutan; Senior-Level Director and Career Development Officer in the Bureau of Human Resources; Special Assistant to Deputy Secretary of State John Whitehead and Watch Officer in the Department’s Operations Center.  She was Deputy Chief of Mission in Bridgetown, Barbados and Lilongwe, Malawi and Principal Officer in Casablanca, Morocco.  Ms. Bernicat’s other overseas assignments include New Delhi, India; Marseille, France and Bamako, Mali.  She is the recipient of the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award and numerous other Department awards. 

A native of New Jersey, Marcia Bernicat received a Bachelor of Arts in History from Lafayette College and a Master of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.  In 2018 she was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Public Service by Lafayette College.  Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Ms. Bernicat worked for the Procter and Gamble Manufacturing Company.  Her languages are French, Hindi and Russian. 


Carlos F. Matus, DS Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary

Carlos F. Matus is a special agent with the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) currently serving as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and Director of the Diplomatic Security Service. DS is the law enforcement bureau of the State Department, leading worldwide security and law enforcement efforts to advance U.S. foreign policy and safeguard national security interests. Mr. Matus is 35-year veteran of the Department of State, and a career member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister-Counselor.

Domestically and most recently, Mr. Matus served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for both the Threat Investigations and Analysis Directorate from 2019-2020 and the High Threat Programs Directorate from 2018-2019. His other domestic assignments include Regional Director for High Threat Programs, Deputy Regional Director for Contingency Operations, focusing on Afghanistan, Office Director of Protective Intelligence Investigations, DS’ Legislative Affairs Office, Criminal Investigations Division, Shift Leader on U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright’s protection detail, the Miami Field Office and his first assignment, the Washington Field Office.

In 2017, Mr. Matus served as the Regional Security Officer at U.S. Embassy Kabul, Afghanistan, after having previously served in Kabul in 2004. In addition to his two tours in Kabul, Mr. Matus has also served overseas in Honduras, Bolivia, Panama, and Austria.

Mr. Matus is the individual recipient of the State Department’s Meritorious and Superior Honor Awards, as well as many other commendations; and was twice recognized by the U.S. Marine Corps as RSO of the Year for D Company. In 2018, he was awarded the Presidential Rank Awardfor Meritorious Executive.

He is a graduate of the University of Maryland and the Inter-American Defense College and holds a Master of Science degree in Defense and Security from the University of Salvador, Buenos Aires, Argentina. He lives in Potomac Falls, VA, with his family.