President-elect Joe Biden on Monday announced his plans to nominate Avril Haines as director of national intelligence, positioning her to be the first woman to serve in the role.
Biden’s staff confirmed over the weekend that the former vice president would announce several top administration picks ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. Biden made his plans public one day ahead of a scheduled news event.
The director of national intelligence is a Cabinet-level position, created after the September 11 attacks to better coordinate national security and oversee the federal government’s multiple intelligence organizations. The director is considered the head of the intelligence community.
The director serves on the National Security Council, a key advising group for the president on national security and foreign policy issues.
The nomination requires Senate approval, though President Donald Trump installed acting intelligence directors during his first term.
Haines, 51, previously held top intelligence positions under the Obama administration. Since June, she has been helping the incoming Biden administration with its transition plans on national security and foreign policy.
From 2015 to 2017, Haines served as assistant to the president and principal deputy national security adviser. She was the deputy director of the CIA from 2013 to 2015. Haines was the first woman to hold both of these deputy positions, according to Biden’s staff.
In 2010, Haines became a legal adviser to Obama’s National Security Council.
Before that, between 2007 and 2008, Haines served as deputy chief counsel to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee when Biden, a former U.S. senator, was its chairman.
Biden announced several national security nominees and appointments on Monday: Antony Blinken as secretary of state; Alejandro Mayorkas as secretary of homeland security; Linda Thomas-Greenfield as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations; Jake Sullivan as national security adviser; and John Kerry as special presidential envoy for climate.
If confirmed, Mayorkas will be the first Latino to lead the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, an agency that oversees immigration policies. Thomas-Greenfield’s Cabinet-level position means a Black woman is expected to soon serve on the council (she is a 35-year veteran of the U.S. Foreign Service). Kerry, a former secretary of state, will serve in a new position aimed at showcasing the administration’s plans to tackle climate change.