The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted unanimously on Thursday to approve the nominations of Ryan Crocker as the next ambassador to Afghanistan and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke as the next U.S. envoy to China.
The committee also approved the appointment of William Burns as deputy secretary of State. All three now await a full Senate vote.
Crocker, a 37-year veteran of foreign service in some of the most difficult postings, is credited along with Gen. David Petraeus with helping turn around the war in Iraq. He has also served as ambassador to Iraq, Lebanon, and Pakistan, and he reopened the U.S. Embassy in Kabul after the fall of the Taliban.
Locke sailed through his confirmation hearing earlier this month. Before Obama appointed him as Commerce secretary, he also served as governor of Washington from 1997 to 2005.
Burns, a career ambassador, previously served as ambassador to Russia and Jordan, and is currently the undersecretary of State for political affairs.