Biden taps career civil servants to acting posts at State, USAID, UN
President Biden has chosen a career civil servant at the State Department for acting Secretary of State, while his nominee for the position awaits Senate confirmation.
Dan Smith, who served as director of the Foreign Service Institute since 2018, was appointed as acting secretary of State on Wednesday. His appointment follows the departure of President Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Smith holds the highest diplomatic rank of “career ambassador” and is a senior member of the Foreign Service.
Biden’s nominee for the position of secretary, Antony Blinken, sat for his confirmation hearing with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday but an announcement on when the Senate will vote on his confirmation has yet to be determined.
The president has vowed to return the U.S. to the global stage and said in his inaugural speech Wednesday that his administration will work to repair alliances and engagement with the world.
Other key acting agency heads that will take on that role include Biden’s designate for acting head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, Gloria Steele.
Steele most recently served as senior deputy assistant administrator for Asia.
Biden has nominated Samantha Power, who served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, to be the director of USAID. A hearing on her confirmation has yet to be announced.
At the United Nations, Biden is elevating Rich Mills, the Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. to the U.N., as acting ambassador.
He is expected to be replaced by veteran diplomat and former senior State Department official Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who Biden has nominated for the Ambassador post and that will also be a Cabinet position.
The amount of time each acting official serves in their position will vary as the Senate works toward carrying out confirmation hearings and votes on nominees.
The Senate’s duties are also expected to be split in their duty to carry out an impeachment trial against President Trump, once House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sends over the article of impeachment accusing Trump of inciting the attack on the Capitol by a mob of his supporters on Jan. 6.