Familiar Faces Return to State and National Security Council as Biden Staffs Up With Obama Alums

Familiar Faces Return to State and National Security Council as Biden Staffs Up With Obama Alums

One notable absence from Biden’s announcements: CIA director.

President-elect Joe Biden is staffing up his National Security Council and State Department with a slate of Obama-era officials, reflecting the incoming administration’s plans to rely on seasoned diplomats and subject matter experts. 

The appointments reflect the Biden administration’s priorities on issues such as reviving the moribund Iran deal, global health issues in the wake of the pandemic, climate change, and tackling long-standing challenges related to Russia. 

Senior appointments at the State Department will require Senate confirmation, which should prove much easier after two Democratic candidates won Senate runoff races in Georgia on Tuesday, giving Biden’s party the slimmest of margins in the upper chamber. On Friday, Biden also unveiled a slate of 21 picks to lead the National Security Council, including regional directors, the largest batch of national security picks yet for the incoming administration. They don’t require Senate confirmation.

Here’s a look at some of the biggest names on the new national security team (many of whom, including Amanda Sloat and Andrea Kendall-Taylor, have written op-eds for Foreign Policy).