Clifford A. Hart, Jr., commonly known as Ford, retired in July 2016 after a 33-year career as a U.S. diplomat focused on China but he has also worked on other leading issues in U.S. foreign policy. His final assignment was as the U.S. consul general to Hong Kong and Macau, an ambassadorial-level position. Prior to this, Ford was the special envoy for the Six-Party Talks aimed at ending North Korea’s nuclear program, for which President Barack Obama accorded him the rank of ambassador.
Earlier, at the White House, Ford served as the National Security Council’s China and Taiwan director, and at the Pentagon, he was foreign policy advisor to the Chief of Naval Operation. Ford served three times in China and once each in the Soviet Union and Iraq. He also spent two one-year language training stints in Taiwan.
Ford’s State Department assignments included serving as the director of the Office of Taiwan Coordination, deputy coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization, and deputy director for crisis management in the Operations Center. Ford was a recipient of the State Department’s highest commendation for diplomatic reporting and the U.S. Navy’s Distinguished Public Servant Award. He received State Department Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards and the U.S. Army’s Meritorious Civilian Service Award.
Ford holds a master’s degree from the University of Virginia, where he was a President’s Fellow, and he is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Mary Washington College.