President-elect Biden Announces Key Nominations for the Department of State

President-elect Biden Announces Key Nominations for the Department of State

Washington, DC…. This is a team of experienced, crisis-tested leaders with diverse backgrounds and fresh perspectives ready to reinvigorate the State Department and U.S. diplomacy with a foreign policy that delivers for the American people

Last Saturday, President-elect Joe Biden announced key nominations for the Department of State who will work closely with Secretary of State-designate Antony Blinken to build back better at the State Department, renew and reimagine American leadership to keep us safe at home and abroad, and address the defining challenges of our time — from infectious disease, to terrorism, China, nuclear proliferation, cyber threats, and climate change. They will put into practice the President-elect and Secretary-designate’s vision of a foreign policy that promotes America’s security, prosperity, and values, and delivers for the middle class.

These leaders are trusted at home and respected around the world, and their nominations signal that America is back and ready to lead the world, not retreat from it. They also reflect the idea that we cannot meet this new moment with unchanged thinking or habits, and that we need diverse officials who look like America at the table. They will not only repair but also reimagine American foreign policy and national security for the next generation.

President-elect Joe Biden said, “This diverse and accomplished team, led by Secretary of State-designate Blinken, embodies my core belief that America is strongest when it works with our allies. Collectively, they have secured some of the most defining national security and diplomatic achievements in recent memory — and I am confident that they will use their diplomatic experience and skill to restore America’s global and moral leadership. America is back.”

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris said, “This remarkable team of distinguished diplomats and seasoned leaders reflects the very best of our nation. They have the knowledge and experience to help us confront and prevail over the most pressing threats and challenges facing our nation — from cyber to climate. The President-elect and I look forward to working closely with them, and Secretary-designate Blinken, to keep the American people safe while restoring and strengthening our nation’s leadership around the world.”

Secretary of State-designate Antony Blinken said, “To meet this moment, we need a Department of State that looks like America, led by diverse women and men who will be unafraid to challenge the status quo. That is this team. America at its best still has a greater capacity than any other country on earth to mobilize others to meet the challenges of our time. These passionate, energetic, deeply experienced nominees will help keep our people and our country safe, secure, and prosperous. If confirmed, it will be the honor of my life to work with them to reinvigorate the power of America’s example.”

This team of deeply respected diplomats and dedicated public servants includes:

  • Wendy R. Sherman is nominated to be Deputy Secretary of State. A trusted advisor to President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris, Ambassador Sherman is one of the country’s foremost diplomats. She has successfully rallied the world to strengthen democracy and confront some of the biggest national security challenges of our time, including leading the U.S. negotiating team for the Iran Deal as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. During her four years as Under Secretary, she traveled to 54 countries, engaged in diplomacy on every continent and was awarded the National Security Medal by President Obama for her diplomatic achievements.

  • Brian P. McKeon is nominated to be Deputy Secretary for Management and Resources. He is a long-time foreign policy advisor to President-elect Biden, having worked with him for over 25 years in the Senate, the White House, the Biden for President campaign, and the Biden-Harris Transition. McKeon has served in a number of high-profile national security positions, keeping Americans safe and secure throughout his career, including as Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and concurrently as Acting Under Secretary of Defense.

  • Bonnie Jenkins is nominated to be Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs. A trailblazing leader, Jenkins is the founder and executive director of the Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security and Conflict Transformation (WCAPS) and a member of the Biden-Harris transition State Department Agency Review Team. A highly respected nuclear proliferation expert, she served in the State Department’s Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, as the U.S. representative to the 30-nation G-7 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, and was the State Department lead to four Nuclear Security Summits that took place from 2010 to 2016.

  • Victoria Nuland is nominated to be Under Secretary for Political Affairs. A respected and trusted U.S. diplomat for 32 years, Ambassador Nuland has worked for five U.S. presidents and nine Secretaries of State of both political parties. Ambassador Nuland has the essential experience and relationships to rally the world around advancing American interests, having served as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Ambassador to NATO, and Special Envoy and chief negotiator on the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe. Holding the highest rank in the U.S. Foreign Service of career ambassador, she has been posted overseas to Russia, China and Mongolia and received distinguished service awards from two Secretaries of Defense.

  • Uzra Zeya is nominated to be Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights. With over two decades of diplomatic experience in Near East, South Asian, European, human rights, and multilateral affairs, Zeya will be a champion for putting universal rights and strengthening democracy at the center of our efforts to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Her civil society and diplomatic leadership experience includes serving as CEO and President of the Alliance for Peacebuilding; Acting Assistant Secretary and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor; and as Chargé d’Affaires and Deputy Chief of Mission at U.S. Embassy Paris, helping to reach unprecedented levels of bilateral cooperation on climate change, counterterrorism in Africa and the Middle East, and Russia.

The following nominations were announced today:

Ambassador Wendy R. Sherman, Deputy Secretary of State
Link to hi-res photo

Ambassador Wendy Sherman is a professor of the practice of public leadership and director of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School and a Senior Fellow at the School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. A trusted advisor to President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris, Ambassador Sherman is one of our country’s foremost diplomats. During the Obama-Biden Administration, she served as Acting Deputy Secretary of State and Under Secretary for Political Affairs, for Secretaries Clinton and Kerry, a role in which she led the U.S. negotiating team in the Iran talks. During her four years as Under Secretary, she traveled to 54 countries, engaged in diplomacy on every continent and was awarded the National Security Medal by President Obama for her diplomatic achievements. She was the first woman to hold the position of Under Secretary for Political Affairs and, if confirmed, will be the first woman to be Deputy Secretary.

During the Clinton-Gore Administration, Ambassador Sherman served as Counselor to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and as Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs for Secretary Warren Christopher. In addition, she has served on the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, the Defense Policy Board and on the Congressional Commission on the Prevention of the Weapons of Mass Destruction, Proliferation and Terrorism. She is a Senior Counselor at the Albright Stonebridge Group.

Ambassador Sherman, with a Master’s in Social Work, began her career as Director of Child Welfare for the State of Maryland and later managed the successful U.S. Senate campaign of Senator Barbara Mikulski, the first Democratic woman elected to the U.S. Senate in her own right. She attended Smith College and received her bachelor’s degree, cum laude, from Boston University and a master’s degree in Social Work, Phi Kappa Phi, from the University of Maryland.

Brian P. McKeon, Deputy Secretary for Management and Resources
Link to hi-res photo

Brian McKeon is a long-time foreign policy adviser to the President-elect, having worked with him for over 25 years in the Senate, the White House, and the Biden for President campaign.

During the Obama-Biden administration, he served as Deputy National Security Advisor to Vice President Biden, Executive Secretary and Chief of Staff for the National Security Council, and Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. Before serving in the Executive Branch, he worked for over 20 years for then-Senator Biden, including 12 years as the Democratic Chief Counsel of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where he played a lead role on nominations, treaties, and oversight of the management and operations of the Department of State. He also served as a law clerk to U.S. District Judge Robert G. Doumar of the Eastern District of Virginia. McKeon was a senior foreign policy adviser on the Biden for President campaign, and currently serves on the Agency Review Teams for the National Security Council and the Department of State for the Biden-Harris Transition.

McKeon earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and a JD, cum laude, from the Georgetown University Law Center.

Dr. Bonnie Jenkins, Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs. 
Link to hi-res photo

Dr. Bonnie Jenkins is the founder and executive director of the Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security and Conflict Transformation (WCAPS) and a member of the Biden-Harris Transition State Department Agency Review Team. From 2009 to 2017, she coordinated threat reduction programs in the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation at the State Department. She also served as the U.S. representative to the 30-nation G-7 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction and was the lead to the four Nuclear Security Summits that took place from 2010 to 2016.

Dr. Jenkins was a member of the U.S. government interagency team that established the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), the global effort to build country capacities to prevent, detect and respond to infectious disease. She has served in a number of foreign policy positions including chair of the Committee on Radioactive Sources, a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a senior fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, and an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and the Georgetown University Law Center.

Dr. Jenkins is a retired Naval Reserves officer. She holds a doctorate from the University of Virginia, a Master of Laws from Georgetown University, a Master of Public Administration from the State University of New York at Albany, a JD from Albany Law School, and a bachelor’s from Amherst College.

Ambassador Victoria Nuland, Under Secretary for Political Affairs
Link to hi-res photo 

A U.S. diplomat for 32 years, Ambassador Nuland worked for five U.S. presidents and nine Secretaries of State of both political parties. She served as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs under President Obama and Secretary Kerry, and worked closely with President-elect Biden during that time on a wide array of security, political and economic issues. She was State Department Spokesperson during Secretary Hillary Clinton’s tenure, and U.S. Ambassador to NATO under President George W. Bush. She has also served as Special Envoy and chief negotiator on the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, and as Deputy National Security Advisor to Vice President Cheney. In addition to two tours at NATO in Brussels, Ambassador Nuland has been posted overseas to Russia, China and Mongolia, and to various assignments at the State Department in Washington. She is the recipient of distinguished service awards from two Secretaries of Defense and many awards and honors from the Department of State. She holds the highest rank in the U.S. Foreign Service, Career Ambassador.

Ambassador Nuland is Senior Counselor at the Albright Stonebridge Group and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. She also is a Distinguished Practitioner in Grand Strategy at Yale University, and a Member of the Board of the National Endowment for Democracy. She received her bachelor’s degree from Brown University.

Uzra Zeya, Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights. 
Link to hi-res photo 

Uzra Zeya served most recently as CEO and President of the Alliance for Peacebuilding, where she drew on over two decades of diplomatic experience in Near East, South Asian, European, human rights, and multilateral affairs. As Chargé d’Affaires and Deputy Chief of Mission at U.S. Embassy Paris from 2014 to 2017, she oversaw the day-to-day operations of Embassy Paris, six constituent posts, and 50 offices and agencies engaged in U.S. government work.

From 2012 to 2014, Zeya served as Acting Assistant Secretary and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. She joined the Foreign Service in 1990, serving in New Delhi, Muscat, Damascus, Cairo, and Kingston. From 2011 to 2012, she was Chief of Staff to the Deputy Secretary of State and helped shape the U.S. response to the Arab Spring and worked to deepen U.S. engagement with emerging powers.

Zeya has also served as Deputy Executive Secretary to the Secretary of State, Director of the Executive Secretariat Staff, and as UN General Assembly Coordinator. She is a recipient of the Légion d’honneur, France’s highest civilian honor, a Presidential Rank Award, and 15 Superior Honor and Senior Performance Awards. She is a graduate of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.

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