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Firsts: Biden nominates woman to lead intelligence and Latino to head Homeland Security

In sharp contrast to former President Donald Trump's Cabinet, Joe Biden's nominations are diverse and experts in their fields.

Firsts: Biden nominates woman to lead intelligence and Latino to head Homeland Security
Image Source: (L) (R) 2015 PEOPLE En Espanol Festival Day 2 - Mainstage. NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 18. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for PEOPLE En Espanol)

On Monday, President-elect Joe Biden unveiled his picks for top foreign policy and national security roles. Among his staffing appointments are Alejandro Mayorkas and Avril Haines. While the former is set to lead the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the latter will lead the United States intelligence community, CNN reports. The choices are notable as Mayorkas, who was born in Cuba, is the first Latino to take up the position whereas Haines is the first woman to do so in her respective role. This is, without a doubt, a reflection of Biden's commitment to building a Cabinet that "looks like America."


Mayorkas is a former deputy secretary of the DHS and will be tasked with rebuilding an agency associated with former President Donald Trump's most extreme and draconian immigration policy measures, such as family separations at the US-Mexico border. Furthermore, Haines is a former top CIA official and deputy national security adviser. She will fulfill the role of the director of national intelligence. Mark Warner, the Vice Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said of her nomination: "Avril is smart and capable, with a background that will serve her well as Director of National Intelligence. While I expect that she will face rigorous questioning from Senators on both sides of the aisle, the sooner we can get a confirmed DNI in place to start fixing the damage the last four years have done to our intelligence agencies, the better."


Both picks, if confirmed by the Senate, will make history. In addition to Mayorkas and Haines, Biden announced several other nominations on Monday: Antony Blinken as the next secretary of state; Linda Thomas-Greenfield as the US ambassador to the United Nations; and Jake Sullivan as Biden's national security adviser. The Cabinet is indeed a reflection of America's diversity. Along with building an inclusive Cabinet, Biden also hoped to involved experts versed in public policy and deep experience in government. In fact, the President-elect has tapped former Secretary of State John Kerry to serve as his top climate adviser. Kerry, a champion of the Paris climate agreement, was Biden's pick to co-chair a "unity task force" on climate change following the Democratic Presidential primaries. A statement from the Biden transition team reads, "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."


The 46th President in another statement described his selections as "the crux" of a team charged with reasserting American leadership on the international stage, particularly because of the former President Donald Trump's failure to maintain multilateral diplomatic ties with the United States' longstanding allies. "These individuals are equally as experienced and crisis-tested as they are innovative and imaginative," Biden asserted. "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."


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