The Leaderboard: Theodore Osius

The Leaderboard profiles the people behind the policies of the Asia-Pacific.Who is he?

Theodore (Ted) Osius has served in the U.S. Foreign Service for over 25 years. He began his career in the Philippines and has served in India, Thailand, the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, and Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. From 2009 to 2012, Osius was deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, where he worked to help establish the U.S.-Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership. After Jakarta, he spent a year as a State Department visiting fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where he did research on ways to promote U.S. relations with India and Indonesia. Osius is currently an associate professor at the National Defense University.

Ted Osius, center, during his time as DCM in Jakarta, Indonesia. Source: U.S. Embassy Jarakta, Indonesia's flickr photostream, U.S. Government Work.

Ted Osius, center, during his time as deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia. Source: U.S. Embassy Jakarta, Indonesia’s flickr photostream, U.S. Government Work.

Some of his most significant achievements included laying the foundation for U.S.-Vietnam relations following the normalization of ties between the two countries in 1995 and participating in the successful negotiations of the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Agreement in 2006. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and a master’s degree from the John Hopkins University School of Advanced and International Studies.

Why is he in the news?

President Barack Obama has nominated Osius to be the next U.S. ambassador to Vietnam. If confirmed by the Senate, he will succeed David Shear, who has been appointed assistant secretary for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs at the Department of Defense.

What can we expect from him?

As the first U.S. ambassador to Vietnam after the two countries launched a comprehensive partnership in 2013, Osius will play a key role in taking U.S.-Vietnam relations to the next level. Osius, who once described his time in Ho Chi Minh City as “one of the best assignments” he had ever had, possesses a thorough understanding of Southeast Asia and U.S. interests in the region.

Expect him to place an emphasis on promoting U.S. public diplomacy in Vietnam, enhancing bilateral commercial ties, and advocating for greater military engagement between the United States and Vietnam.


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