Biden to announce key State Department and national security posts: report

Biden to announce key State Department and national security posts: report
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President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenSenate holds longest vote in history as Democrats scramble to save relief bill Ex-Trump appointee arrested in Capitol riot complains he won't be able to sleep in jail Biden helps broker Senate deal on unemployment benefits MORE is filling out senior roles at the State Department and National Security Council, bringing former senior Obama administration officials back to government, according to reports.

Supporters are welcoming the move as bringing experienced professionals into key leadership positions.

But some of the appointments are likely to face pushback among Republicans, in particular for positions that need Senate confirmation, over nominees' past actions in the Obama administration and outspoken criticisms of the Trump administration. 


The nominations and appointments are expected to be announced as early as this week. They were reported by Politico and The Washington Post.

This includes Wendy Sherman, whom Biden is expected to name for deputy secretary of State, the No. 2 position behind Biden’s designee for secretary of State, Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenState sanctions Ukrainian billionaire over alleged corruption Australian PM Morrison says Biden will join first-ever 'Quad' meeting Senators introduce bill creating technology partnerships to compete with China MORE

Sherman was the lead negotiator on the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and served as under secretary of State for political affairs in the Obama administration. 

She was a vocal critic of Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoDeSantis, Pence tied in 2024 Republican poll Pompeo not ruling out 2024 White House bid Houthis: US sanctions prolonging war in Yemen MORE, taking aim at speeches that drew Democratic condemnation as being politically partisan, criticizing him for not more forcefully defending diplomats and the State Department from attacks by President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump announces new tranche of endorsements DeSantis, Pence tied in 2024 Republican poll Lawmakers demand changes after National Guard troops at Capitol sickened from tainted food MORE, pointing out his attacks on the press and criticizing his foreign policy priorities. 

Sherman was most recently a senior counselor at Albright Stonebridge Group, the same global consulting firm that also employed Linda Thomas-GreenfieldLinda Thomas-GreenfieldAmerica's new multilateralism CBC 'unequivocally' endorses Shalanda Young for White House budget chief Blinken speaks with Ethiopian leader about human rights concerns in Tigray MORE, Biden’s pick for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who also served as a senior State Department official in the Obama administration.

Sherman also worked in academia, as a professor of the practice of public leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School, and is director of the Center for Public Leadership. 


Biden is also expected to nominate Victoria Nuland for under secretary of State for political affairs, a senior State Department position that has oversight of all regional bureaus.

Nuland served as assistant secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs in the Obama administration. Yet she was part of a diplomatic scandal in 2014 involving a leaked phone recording in which she is heard using profanity to disparage the European Union over efforts to resolve the crisis in Ukraine. 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at the time that Nuland’s remarks were “absolutely unacceptable.” Merkel, the longest-serving incumbent head of government, is expected to step down this month. 

Biden has signaled his resolve to rebuild relationships with key European and NATO allies that suffered under the Trump administration and Nuland’s nomination may come up against pushback over her past comments. 

For the National Security Council, Biden is expected to appoint former State Department official Jon Finer as deputy national security adviser. Finer will report to incoming national security adviser Jake SullivanJake SullivanHillicon Valley: China implicated in Microsoft breach | White House adds Big Tech critic | QAnon unfazed after false prediction White House calls Microsoft email breach an 'active threat' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Virus relief bill headed for weekend vote MORE

Finer, a former journalist, joined the Obama administration in 2009 as a White House fellow. He served as senior adviser to Blinken, who was then-President Obama’s deputy national security adviser. Finer also served as a special adviser for the Middle East and North Africa and was a foreign policy speechwriter for Biden when he was vice president. 

Also at the National Security Council, Biden is expected to appoint Amanda Sloat, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, to serve as senior director for European Affairs, Politico reported. 

Sloat served as assistant secretary for Southern Europe and Eastern Mediterranean affairs at the State Department during the Obama administration and at Brookings, and she was a senior fellow in the Center on the United States and Europe. 

Biden is also expected to name Brett McGurk to the position of senior director for the Middle East and Africa at the National Security Council, CNN confirmed.

McGurk served as special envoy to the global coalition to defeat ISIS during the Obama administration and resigned in protest from the Trump administration in 2018 over President Trump’s intent to pull out U.S. troops from northeast Syria.

McGurk also served in the George W. Bush administration as director for Iraq and then as special assistant to the president and senior director for Iraq and Afghanistan.

Biden’s nominations and appointments reflect a pool of veteran Obama administration officials that the president-elect is relying on to reverse Trump’s “America First” foreign policy and reengage the U.S. with international allies to end the pandemic, combat climate change, confront China’s global ambitions and rein in Iran’s nuclear activities and military threats. 

The growing team of national security and State Department officials also reflect a camaraderie maintained since the Obama administration and over the four years of the Trump administration, united in various efforts pushing back on Trump’s foreign policy decisions. 

Sherman and Finer, in particular, are advisory board members of the nonpartisan advocacy organization Foreign Policy for America. The group was established in the weeks following Trump’s 2016 presidential victory in opposition to what they criticize was his xenophobia to international engagement. 

Foreign Policy for America also counts among its advisory board Blinken; Thomas-Greenfield; Avril Haines, Biden’s nominee for director of national intelligence; and Colin Kahl, Biden’s designee for under secretary of Defense for policy.

The Biden transition team did not respond to a request for comment.