The Foreign Service Journal, December 2019

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | DECEMBER 2019 37 directly, rather than through the Dissent Channel, in a series of sensitive discussions that began with the ambassador and the under secretary of State for political affairs and concluded with several direct discussions with the Secretary of State. He made the strongest case possible to maintain a presence in Southern Iraq’s Shia heartland and follow ample security precautions to prevent harm to consulate personnel. When the decision was made to close the consulate over CG Davis’ dissent, he dutifully carried out the order, showing the highest level of efficiency in moving out all personnel and equip- ment within the Secretary’s three-week deadline, while seeing to the needs of his disrupted team. CG Davis has devoted years to southern Iraq, serving previ- ous tours both with the State Department and before that as a Marine during the early days of the Iraq War. Under his leader- ship, the consulate had gone from a marginal player limited by security restrictions to a major and welcomed presence in the region. While security concerns were real, so were the consulate’s precautions. Under CG Davis, Consulate Basrah maintained a robust operation that included highly trained force protection professionals, sophisticated early warning systems and a signifi- cant security force to secure the compound. In one of his final actions, CG Davis issued a cable—“Basrah 223: Staying Engaged in the Shia South”—explaining the impor- tance of continued U.S. engagement in that region to understand and influence national politics, protect U.S. economic interests in the oil sector and elsewhere, and serve as a counterweight to Iran’s often unwelcome influence. “I never imagined that I would receive the award, but I do know that I have long believed that leadership means little without action,” CG Davis said at the Oct. 16 awards ceremony. “In my case, I could not have moved forward in my career without standing up for what most mattered to me as a leader: taking care of the people I worked with and speaking clearly about the sacrifices we, Foreign Service and Civil Service personnel, are willing to make for our country.” Timmy Davis is from New Orleans and attended the Univer- sity of Alabama. He served in the United States Marine Corps for nine years before joining the Foreign Service as a political officer. His overseas tours include Guatemala City, Najaf, Canberra, Basrah and Bogotá. In Washington, Mr. Davis has served as a senior watch officer in the State Department Operations Center, special assistant to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, director for Iraq at the National Security Council, deputy chief of staff to the special presidential envoy for the global coalition to counter ISIL, chief of staff to the counselor of the department and, most recently, as chief of staff to the under secretary for political affairs and acting chief of staff of the department. Basrah Consul General Timmy Davis in Basrah, Iraq, in 2018. COURTESYOFTIMMYDAVIS