Eric J. Boswell joined the Foreign Service as a Management cone officer in 1972 after earning a BA from Stanford and serving in the U.S. Army. He rose quickly in the Admin code through a series of management jobs in Senegal, Canada, and in the Department. He served as Chief Management Counselor in the U.S. Embassies in Amman, Jordan (85-87) and Ottawa, Canada (’87-’90). In 1990, on the eve of the Gulf War, he took over as Executive Director of the Near East and South Asian Bureau (NEA) where he and his team delivered incredible results under incredible stresses. In 1992 he became Executive Assistant and right-hand of the Under Secretary for Management. In 1993, Eric was nominated by President Clinton, and confirmed by the Senate, as Director of the Office of Foreign Missions, an Assistant Secretary-equivalent position which by law carried the Ambassador title. As Director, he managed the myriad of status, immunity and reciprocity relationships for the large foreign diplomatic community in the U.S. He took on many challenging issues, including the successful bilateral negotiation of favorable tax treatment for many of our embassies overseas, saving millions of dollars for the Department and U.S. taxpayers.
In 1996, President Clinton nominated Eric, and the Senate confirmed him, as Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security. After two years in that uniquely challenging job, Eric retired from the Foreign Service in ’98. He accepted a position as Director of Administration for the Pan American Health Organization. In the wake of the tragic terrorist attack on the UN headquarters in Baghdad in August 2003, Secretary General Kofi Annan asked Eric, who had security qualifications perhaps unique in the UN system, to design and draft a series of reforms of the overall UN security apparatus. The new security structure Eric designed was approved by the UN General Assembly in 2004.
“Eric retired from PAHO in 2005, after which Ambassador Negroponte drafted him back into USG service as one of his first top-level executives as he was setting up the newly-established Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) under considerable media and congressional scrutiny and confronting some major bureaucratic challenges. Eric served Ambassador Negroponte and his successor Admiral Mike McConnell with great distinction as DNI’s Assistant Deputy Director for Security until ’08 when it was back to the future, back to DS, and back from the frying pan into the fire.
In 2008 Secretary Rice and Deputy Secretary Negroponte prevailed upon Eric to take a second lap as Assistant Secretary for DS at the Department of State. Eric Boswell served with great distinction in that DS role, leading a global force of 34,000 professionals who make up the security and law enforcement arm of the Department. So valuable and so widely respected was Eric that with the ’09 transition to the Obama Administration, He stayed on as Assistant Secretary, one of the very few sixth floor Bush Administration principal, career or non-career, kept on from the Bush Administration under Secretary Clinton. Eric served in this DS Assistant Secretary role through ’12.
Ambassador Boswell is currently a part-time senior advisor to the Department of State.