Pompeo pal Brian Bulatao is confirmed Under Secretary in the State Department

Under Secretary Bulatao commends the people-to-people relations between the U.S. and the Philippines  during the Independence Day celebration at Kennedy Center. Photo: US Philippines Society 

Brian Bulatao, who was a guest of honor at the Philippine Independence Day celebration at Washington’s Kennedy Center, is the Under Secretary of State for Management. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in May, making him the highest ranking Filipino American in the State Department.

“My dad was an immigrant from the Philippines and my mother’s parents immigrated from Greece and from Poland,” he said in a statement to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations during his confirmation hearing. “They came to this country in search of the American Dream.” He said his parents, Agapito and Brenda Bulatao, encouraged him to pursue “all the opportunity this country affords.”

Bulatao grew up in a small rural town in north central Pennsylvania and studied in the 1980s at West Point, which sparked his “enthusiasm for public service.”

‘My parents came to this country in search of the American Dream.’ Photo: State Department

After West Point, he served as an active-duty Infantry officer for seven years, deployed during Operation Just Cause in Panama, and Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield in Iraq. After serving as an airborne Ranger, he went to Harvard Business School and joined the consulting firm McKinsey and Company on graduating. 

Friend of Mike Pompeo

At West Point, he became friends with a classmate named Mike Pompeo. It was that enduring friendship that brought them and other “trusted West Point” friends to co-found Thayer Aerospace in Wichita, Kansas, a company that manufactured structural components of aircraft for manufacturers such as Boeing, Cessna, Gulfstream, and Lockheed-Martin.

Pompeo, a former congressman from Kansas, would later join the Trump Administration as director of the Central Intelligence Agency. When he stepped down to assume the position of State Department Secretary, he plucked Bulatao from the private sector and asked him to join him at the CIA as the Chief Operating Officer.

As recounted by Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Jose Manuel ‘Babe’ Romualdez in his column, “It’s obvious that they have remained close because one of the first things that Mike Pompeo did when he became Central Intelligence Agency Director in January last year is to bring along Brian Bulatao, first as a senior adviser and then as chief operating officer.”

Bulatao recalled how joining the CIA and applying his management experiences “energized” him. He joined the CIA at a time when it was undergoing its own reorganization.

“We focused on empowering the workforce and driving excellence across every process, even the most bureaucratic.  We developed innovative technologies to better support our officers in the field and to modernize and strengthen our cyber security across the organization,” he told the Senate committee where he pledged to modernize the State Department and its organization of 12 bureaus and 76,000 personnel if  confirmed.

“The Filipino American community is very proud of Brian and his accomplishments,” said Romualdez. “People like him are a source of pride for FilAms because they help reinforce the positive image of Filipinos in the U.S.”

© The FilAm 2019

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: