U.S. President-elect Joe Biden campaigns for Democratic U.S. Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock at a rally ahead of runoff elections in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. January 4, 2021. REUTERS
Democratic President-elect Joe Biden plans to name U.S. foreign policy veterans Wendy Sherman and Victoria Nuland to be the No. 2 and No. 3 officials at the State Department, two sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.
Sherman, a key negotiator of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran that Republican President Donald Trump abandoned, is to be tapped for deputy secretary of state, the sources said, confirming a report that first appeared in Politico newspaper.
Nuland, a retired career foreign service officer who served as the top U.S. diplomat for Europe, NATO ambassador and State Department spokeswoman, is to be nominated as undersecretary of state for political affairs, effectively the third-ranking U.S. diplomat, the sources added, also confirming Politico's report.
A spokesman for the Biden transition declined to comment, as did Nuland. Sherman, who served as the U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs during the Obama administration, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
If confirmed by the Senate, Sherman and Nuland would serve under Antony Blinken, Biden's choice for secretary of state.
Both have deep experience in the State Department, Sherman as a political appointee and Nuland as a career diplomat.
Sherman, who has a masters degree in social work, was the State Department counselor from 1997 to 2001, a period when she was also policy coordinator on North Korea. From 1993 to 1996 she served as assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs.
Sherman is currently a professor at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government and a senior counselor at Albright Stonebridge Group, a strategy and commercial diplomacy firm.
Nuland, a former assistant secretary of state for European affairs, served as deputy national security adviser to then-Vice President Dick Cheney from 2003 to 2005 and as chief of staff to the deputy secretary of state from 1993 to 1996.