White House adds new chief of staff position

The White House is elevating longtime aide Kristie Canegallo to a new position as deputy chief of staff for policy implementation, a role that will include keeping tabs on ObamaCare.

Canegallo's promotion, which coincides with the expected departure of healthcare adviser Phil Schiliro, telegraphs the White House's intention to maintain its focus on the president's signature healthcare law after an initial rollout that was plagued by technical problems.

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"The president has directed that whenever we go through a major event, we capture the lessons learned so that we don't repeat them, and that we adapt. Given our experience with HealthCare.gov, we have determined we need more senior-level focus on implementation and execution," White House chief of staff Denis McDonough said in a statement.

McDonough hailed Canegallo as always "the most prepared person in the room" and said she "earns the respect and confidence of everyone she works with — no matter the complexity of the task at hand."

"She will now be in a position to help implement and execute the administration’s priorities across the government," McDonough said.

In her role as an adviser to McDonough, Canegallo "spearheaded" ObamaCare implementation efforts, including "synthesizing technical, operational, and policy work," according to a White House aide.

In addition to healthcare issues, Canegallo's portfolio will include information technology reform and education policies, such as the president's initiative to link all school classrooms and libraries to high-speed internet.

She'll also oversee national security matters, including the wind-down to the war in Afghanistan, and privacy and technology policy such as changes to National Security Agency surveillance. A White House official said Canegallo would help implement comprehensive immigration reform if legislation passed Congress.

Canegallo is a veteran of the National Security Council staff. Working as an adviser to McDonough, she led an internal task force responding to the disclosures made by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Earlier in her career, Canegallo was a director in the Defense Policy and Strategy Directorate, responsible for Pentagon reviews of budgets, defense posture and missile defense policy.

She came to the White House from the Defense Department, where she worked as a governance and budget adviser to the Anbar provincial government in Iraq. Before entering government, she worked for Goldman Sachs & Co as a credit derivatives analyst.

Canegallo's appointment comes days after White House deputy chief of staff Ron Nabors was reassigned to lead a review into the Department of Veterans Affairs's patient policies and procedures. Nabors, who focuses primarily on domestic and economic policy at the White House, was dispatched amid reports that veterans hospitals were keeping secret lists to hide delays in patient care.

On Friday, White House press secretary Jay Carney described Nabors’s assignment as "temporary."

"He will be coming back and returning to his responsibilities as deputy chief of staff here when that assignment is finished," Carney said.