A member of the Senior Foreign Service, Ronald Lewis Schlicher serves as the Principal Deputy Assistant Coordinator of Counterterrorism in the State Department, a position he assumed on September 2, 2008.
The son of a boilermaker with the Tennessee Valley Authority, Schlicher was born September 16, 1956, in Sylacauga, Alabama, and grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He attended college at the University of Tennessee, earning a Bachelor of Arts in history (1978). He stayed on to attend law school, and received his law degree in 1981,
The following year he joined the Foreign Service. His first assignment was as vice-consul in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia (1982-1984), followed by a stint in Syria as consul (1984-1986).
He returned to the states to serve as staff assistant in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA) to Assistant Secretary Richard Murphy. From 1987-1989, he held the post of deputy principal officer in Alexandria, Egypt. He remained in Egypt, but then moved to the embassy in Cairo, serving as first secretary specializing in internal Egyptian politics and Islamic movements (1989-1991).
In 1991-1992, he was chief civilian observer in the Multinational Force and Observers, the organization that monitors the security provisions of the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty. Returning to the State Department in Washington, Schlicher served from 1992-1994 as a Deputy Director for Regional Affairs in the Office of the Coordinator for Counter-Terrorism. From 1994-1997, he served as deputy chief of mission in Beirut, Lebanon.
For the next three years, until 2000, Schlicher was the director of the Office of Egyptian and North African Affairs in the NEA. From 2000-2002, he served as chief of mission and consul-general in Jerusalem, Israel, where he was the Bush administration’s principal contact with Yasir Arafat and the Palestinian Authority.
During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Schlicher was director of the Iraq Task Force. He then served for six months in Iraq with the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), first as Regional Coordinator for the North and then as director of the Office of Provincial Outreach. While in Iraq, he lobbied against the Bush administration’s policy of excluding Sunnis from positions of power.
He was then made Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the NEA, where he served as Coordinator for Iraq.
In 2005, Schlicher provided a deposition as part of a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union against the Department of Defense to gain access to information and photographs from the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. Schlicher opposed the release of the photographs.
That same year Schlicher was appointed to his first ambassadorship—to Cyprus. In 2003, it was announced that President Bush had chosen him to be ambassador to Tunisia, but he was sent to Iraq instead. He remained in Cyprus, from which he kept an eye on events in the Middle East, until September 2008.
Schlicher is fluent in Arabic (several dialects) and French.