Thomas C. Niblock is SIGAR’s Kabul-based Assistant Inspector General for Forward Operations. In this role, he serves as SIGAR’s senior representative in Afghanistan, responsible for the agency’s operations, logistics and liaison with other agencies. He joined SIGAR in March 2015.
Mr. Niblock has extensive international experience, and was commissioned as a Foreign Service Officer in January 1983. Most recently he served as Foreign Policy Advisor to General Frank Grass, the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Mr. Niblock served for four years in Afghanistan (2007-2011), first as Senior Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy, and then for three years as an embedded advisor to the Afghan government on media and communications. His efforts spanned all U.S. government agencies in Afghanistan, each of the Afghan ministries, and the ISAF command.
Immediately prior to serving in Afghanistan, Mr. Niblock was Director of the Office of eDiplomacy. He has been a leader in the use of new technology to enhance our diplomacy worldwide. While serving as Deputy Director of the Office of East African Affairs in 2001, Mr. Niblock was dispatched to both Ethiopia and Eritrea where he visited POW and civilian detention camps and subsequently presented factual findings to the Ethiopian and Eritrean chiefs of state which were credited by the White House with helping to prevent a fresh outbreak of fighting. From 1997-1999 Mr. Niblock was Visiting Professor of International Relations at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point where he taught courses in international politics, Africa, and cultural anthropology. Earlier in his career, while serving as Desk Officer for South Africa, he was among the first American officials to spend significant time with Nelson Mandela when he was released from prison, accompanying Mr. Mandela on visits to ten American cities during his first visit to the United States.
Mr. Niblock has a Masters degree from Cornell University in International Agriculture and Rural Development and a BA in political science from Davidson College. He is the recipient of numerous Department of State awards, including a Group Distinguished Honor Award for his role in the successful Angola-Namibia peace process. While teaching at West Point he received the U.S. Army’s Outstanding Civilian Service medal. In 2015, he received the prestigious National Guard’s Minuteman Award.
Prior to entering the Foreign Service, Mr. Niblock worked with UNHCR and World Relief in Vietnamese refugee camps in Southeast Asia. He and his wife Angie have four children and one grandson.