The man leading renewed American efforts to bring peace to the Middle East is a career diplomat.
Critics say Wolf has little experience of the Middle East
John Wolf hopes to succeed where four men before him have failed.
Others who have travelled the well-worn path include former Senator George Mitchell, retired Marine General Anthony Zinni and diplomats William Burns and Dennis Ross.
But Mr Wolf heads into the job with an advantage his predecessors did not have - an apparent commitment by all the parties involved to pursue a lasting peace after years of violence.
He will head a team of monitors co-ordinating implementation of the so-called "road-map" to peace, after an experience as assistant secretary of state for non-proliferation in the State Department.
Mr Wolf was named in that post on the day of the attacks on New York and Washington on 11 September 2001.
While in that job he headed efforts to reduce threats to the United States from weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.
In his 32 years with the State Department, his foreign postings have included Australia, Vietnam, Greece and Pakistan.
From 1992 to 1995 he was US ambassador to Malaysia, and later became the US ambassador to the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation - a body promoting open trade among Asia-Pacific countries.
Despite his years as a career diplomat, his appointment has surprised some because he has little experience of the Middle East.
But he will now be expected to spend considerable time in the region as the Bush administration attempts to secure progress towards the ultimate goal of separate Israeli and Palestinian states living side by side in peace.