Biden starts naming senior natsec and foreign policy team

By Tony Bertuca / November 23, 2020 at 12:44 PM

President-elect Biden today announced key members of his national security and foreign policy team, including Tony Blinken, whom Biden intends to nominate as secretary of state.

Though Biden is widely thought to be considering Michèle Flournoy for defense secretary, his transition team did not make any Pentagon personnel announcements today.

Along with Blinken, the team did announce Biden would name Jake Sullivan his national security adviser. Biden also intends to nominate Alejandro Mayorkas for secretary of homeland security; Avril Haines for director of national intelligence; Linda Thomas-Greenfield as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations; and John Kerry as special presidential envoy for climate.

"We have no time to lose when it comes to our national security and foreign policy," Biden said in a statement. "I need a team ready on Day One to help me reclaim America's seat at the head of the table, rally the world to meet the biggest challenges we face, and advance our security, prosperity, and values. This is the crux of that team. These individuals are equally as experienced and crisis-tested as they are innovative and imaginative. Their accomplishments in diplomacy are unmatched, but they also reflect the idea that we cannot meet the profound challenges of this new moment with old thinking and unchanged habits -- or without diversity of background and perspective. It's why I've selected them."

Biden's nominees all have prior experience serving in government, including the Obama administration.

Blinken is a former deputy secretary of state. Mayorkas is a former deputy secretary of DHS and will be the first Latino and immigrant nominated to serve as secretary, according to Biden's team. Thomas-Greenfield is a 35-year veteran of the U.S. Foreign Service.

Kerry, who served as secretary of state under former President Obama, "will fight climate change full-time as Special Presidential Envoy for Climate and will sit on the National Security Council," Biden's team said. "This marks the first time that the NSC will include an official dedicated to climate change, reflecting the president-elect's commitment to addressing climate change as an urgent national security issue."

Haines is a former deputy director of the CIA and deputy national security adviser. She will be the first woman nominated to lead the intelligence community as DNI.

Sullivan served as Biden's national security adviser when he was vice president.

Meanwhile, the White House continues to block all presidential transition activities as outgoing President Trump continues to baselessly claim Biden's victory is the result of massive election fraud.