Ambassador Carlson retired as a Career Minister in the U.S. Foreign Service, having served 36 years as an FSO, including as the Ambassador to the Republic of Latvia 2001-2005. Other postings abroad took him to Spain, England, Norway, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Venezuela. He joined the Public Diplomacy Council in 2008 and now serves as Vice President and Membership Chair.
From 2006-2011 Carlson was the State Department’s liaison with the Department of Defense on strategic communication and public diplomacy. Ambassador Carlson also led Inspector General teams in the Middle East and Washington during that time. He was an author of the 2008 Defense Science Board study on public diplomacy and strategic communication, and contributed to the 2014 book, Mission Creep: The Militarization of U.S. Foreign Policy.
Carlson began flight training in 2006 and became an FAA-certified commercial airplane pilot. He started a small aviation business at Leesburg Executive Airport, has owned three different airplanes including his current Cirrus SR22, and now serves on the Fairfax County Airports Commission. He is a member of the U.S. Baltic Foundation, the Association of Crows, and various aviation groups. He enjoys amateur photography and runs with Reston Runners in Virginia and the Gulf Coast Runners in Florida.