Charles O. (Cob) Blaha

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Charles O. (Cob) Blaha was Director of the State Department’s Office of Security and Human Rights from 2016 until he retired in 2023. Among other duties, that office is responsible for implementing Leahy vetting worldwide and for ensuring that human rights and international humanitarian law considerations are taken into account in decisions on security assistance and arms transfers.

Mr. Blaha joined the State Department in 1991, serving as both a Foreign Service Officer and a Civil Servant. His overseas assignments included Panama, Cuba, Turkey, Iraq, the Czech Republic, and the U.S. Mission to International Organizations in Geneva, where he focused primarily on issues in the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Before joining the State Department, Mr. Blaha was a trial attorney in the Milwaukee office of the Wisconsin State Public Defender for ten years.

Mr. Blaha holds a B.A., magna cum laude, from Duke University, and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. He speaks Spanish and Turkish.

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