William Brownfield

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William Rivington Brownfield
William R Brownfield.jpg
Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
In office
January 10, 2011 – 2018
PresidentBarack Obama
Donald Trump
DeputyLuis E. Arreaga
Alexander A. Arvizu
Preceded byDavid Johnson
Succeeded byKirsten D. Madison
United States Ambassador to Colombia
In office
September 12, 2007 – August 10, 2010
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Barack Obama
Preceded byWilliam Wood
Succeeded byMichael McKinley
United States Ambassador to Venezuela
In office
October 15, 2004 – September 5, 2007
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byCharles Shapiro
Succeeded byPatrick Duddy
United States Ambassador to Chile
In office
March 25, 2002 – July 19, 2004
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byPhilip Goldberg (Acting)
Succeeded byCraig Kelly
Personal details
Born1952 (age 65–66)
Spouse(s)Kristie Kenney
Alma materCornell University
University of Texas, Austin
National Defense University

William Rivington Brownfield (born 1952) is a Career Ambassador in the United States Foreign Service and the former Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs as of January 10, 2011.[1] He has previously served as U.S. Ambassador to Chile, Venezuela, and Colombia.


A career Foreign Service Officer, William Brownfield was United States Ambassador to Colombia. He arrived in Colombia on August 31, 2007 and was accredited by Colombian President Álvaro Uribe on September 12, 2007. On August 3, 2010, the United States confirmed Peter Michael McKinley as the new ambassador to Colombia.

Prior to arriving in Colombia, Brownfield was Ambassador to Venezuela, and before that Chile.

Ambassador Brownfield's first assignment after joining the Foreign Service in 1979 was in Maracaibo, Venezuela. His other overseas postings include service as Counselor for Humanitarian Affairs in Geneva, and assignments in Argentina and El Salvador. He was temporarily assigned as Political Adviser to the Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Southern Command in Panama 1989-1990.

In Washington, Ambassador Brownfield's assignments have included Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere (WHA), Director for Policy in the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, Executive Assistant in the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs, Member of the Secretary's Policy Planning Staff, and Special Assistant to the Under Secretary for Political Affairs.

Ambassador Brownfield is a graduate of St. Andrew's School (1970), Cornell University (1974) and the National War College (1993); he also attended the University of Texas School of Law (1976–1978).

Chávez attacks[edit]

In a nationally-televised speech on April 9, 2006, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez threatened to expel Brownfield for "provoking the Venezuelan people."[2] Chávez said "Start packing your bags, mister - if you keep on provoking us, start packing your bags, because I'll kick you out of here."[2]

On January 25, 2007, Brownfield was again threatened with expulsion by President Chávez. Chávez was responding to Brownfield's comments on the planned nationalization of several Venezuelan companies in which US companies are minority shareholders.[3]

<deleted material is unsubstantiated rumor and innuendo and doesn't remotely meet publication standards>

Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs[edit]

Starting on January 10, 2011, Brownfield served as Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.[1] In August 2017, he announced his intent to retire by the end of September. During his career, Brownfield received the Secretary's Distinguished Service Award and was a three-time recipient of the Presidential Performance Award.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Brownfield is married to Kristie Kenney, Counselor of the State Department. He speaks Spanish with a pronounced Texas accent, and French adequately. Despite his long residence outside Texas, and the fact that he was not born in Texas, he considers himself a Texas native.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b https://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/biog/154184.htm
  2. ^ a b "Chavez threatens to expel U.S. ambassador". MSNBC News Service Online. 2006.
  3. ^ CNN.com[dead link]
  4. ^ Lynch, Colum (August 27, 2017). "Top State Department Officials Step Down in "Black Friday" Exodus". Foreign Policy.

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Philip Goldberg
United States Ambassador to Chile
Succeeded by
Craig Kelly
Preceded by
Charles Shapiro
United States Ambassador to Venezuela
Succeeded by
Patrick Duddy
Preceded by
William Wood
United States Ambassador to Colombia
Succeeded by
Michael McKinley
Political offices
Preceded by
David Johnson
Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs