President Biden announces seven key appointments

WASHINGTON – Today, President Joe Biden announced his intention to appoint the following seven people to fill key positions:

  • Laurie E. Locascio, Candidate for Under Secretary for Standards and Technology, Ministry of Commerce
  • Andrew Hunter, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, Acquisition, Technology, Logistics, Department of Defense
  • James D. Rodriguez, Candidate for Assistant Secretary for Veterans Employment and Training, Department of Labor
  • Caryn R. McClelland, Candidate for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Brunei Darussalam
  • Michael J. Murphy, candidate for the post of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Tom Udall, Candidate for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to New Zealand and to the Independent State of Samoa
  • Howard A. Van Vranken, candidate for the post of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Botswana

Laurie E. Locascio, Candidate for Under Secretary for Standards and Technology, Ministry of Commerce

Laurie E. Locascio, Ph.D., is vice president of research at the University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Maryland, Baltimore. In this role, Dr. Locascio oversees the University of Maryland’s dynamic research and innovation enterprise on these two campuses, which raise combined external funding of $ 1.1 billion each year. Locascio’s mandate includes the development of large interdisciplinary research programs, technology commercialization, innovation and economic development efforts, as well as strategic partnerships with industrial, federal, academic and non-profit collaborators. She is a Professor in the Fischell Department of Bioengineering, Maryland, and Professor (Secondary) in the Department of Pharmacology, University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Prior to the University of Maryland, Dr. Locascio had a long and successful career as a researcher, innovator, and scientific leader at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). His last role at NIST was Acting Senior Deputy Director and Associate Director for Laboratory Programs. In this role, she was responsible for directing internal scientific research and laboratory programs at two campuses in Gaithersburg, MD and Boulder, CO.

Locascio received a B.Sc. in Chemistry from James Madison University, an M.Sc. in Bioengineering from the University of Utah, and a PhD. in toxicology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. As a biomedical researcher, she has published over 100 scientific papers and 11 patents.

Andrew Hunter, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, Acquisition, Technology, Logistics, Department of Defense

Andrew Hunter is a Senior Researcher in the International Security Program and Director of the Industrial and Defense Initiatives Group at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) where he has been working since November 2014. He focuses his research at CSIS on the acquisition of defense system, defense industrial base, defense technology issues and defense trade. From 2011 to November 2014, Mr. Hunter was a senior executive at the Department of Defense (DOD). Appointed Director of the Joint Rapid Acquisition Cell in 2013, his duties included delivering solutions to urgent operational needs and leading the work of the Warfighter Senior Integration Group to ensure rapid action on critical combatant support issues. From 2011 to 2012, Mr. Hunter served as Chief of Staff to the Honorable Ashton B. Carter and the Honorable Frank Kendall, while each served as Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisitions, Technology and Defense. logistics. Additional duties at DOD included supporting the Deputy Minister’s Management Action Group and leading a team examining ways to reshape acquisition statutes.

From 2005 to 2011, Mr. Hunter was a professional member of the House Armed Services Committee, leading the committee’s policy staff and managing a portfolio focused on procurement policy, defense industrial base, transfers of technology and export controls. From 1994 to 2005, Mr. Hunter held various positions in the House of Representatives, including as Supply Associate for Congressman Norman D. Dicks; as military legislative assistant and legislative director to Congressman John M. Spratt, Jr.; and as a staff member of the Special Committee on United States National Security and Military / Trade Concerns with the People’s Republic of China. Mr. Hunter holds a Master of Arts in Applied Economics from Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies from Harvard University.

James D. Rodriguez, Candidate for Assistant Secretary for Veterans Employment and Training, Department of Labor

James D. Rodriguez is the current Senior Assistant Deputy Secretary for Policy in the Department of Labor’s Veterans Employment and Training Services agency, responsible for preparing U.S. veterans, military personnel, and their personnel. spouses to meaningful careers during the transition from active service.

Mr. Rodriguez is a senior executive and retired Marine with over 30 years as a leader in the United States government, the corporate sector and the United States Marine Corps. He has extensive experience in program management, interagency collaboration and policy development. He also has extensive high-level experience in developing and managing multi-million dollar budgets and large, diverse teams, including his recent leadership experience in leadership roles within the Government and Public Sector practice of Deloitte LLP and the Government Relations Department of BAE Systems Inc .. He was also previously Assistant Deputy Secretary of Defense, Office of Warrior Care Policy, Office of the Secretary of Defense from 2014 to 2017.

Mr. Rodriguez holds a BA in Political Science from University College, University of Maryland and an MA in International Business and Politics from George Mason University School of Public Policy. He is also an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Government and Political Science at the University of Maryland Global Campus. He is married to Vanessa Rodriguez and has two daughters, Courtney and Casey.

Caryn R. McClelland, Candidate for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Brunei Darussalam

Caryn R. McClelland, career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Minister Counselor class, is Minister Counselor for Economic Affairs at the United States Embassy in London. Previously, she served as Deputy Chef de Mission at the U.S. Embassies in Vietnam and Latvia, and Consul General in Surabaya, Indonesia. She also served in US embassies in Azerbaijan, Malaysia, Turkmenistan and Ireland. She has served as the Acting Deputy Principal Under-Secretary of the Office of Oceans, International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, and Deputy Special Representative for Trade and Commerce Affairs in the Office of Economic and Trade Affairs of the Department of State. Previously, McClelland was Senior Advisor for Caspian Basin Energy Diplomacy and Regional Energy Advisor in the Office of European and Eurasian Affairs. McClelland received a BA from the University of California at Los Angeles, an MA from San Francisco State University, and an MA from National War College. She speaks Indonesian, Latvian and Russian

Michael J. Murphy, candidate for the post of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Bosnia and Herzegovina

Michael J. Murphy, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister-Counselor, is currently Deputy Under-Secretary of State in the Office of European and Eurasian Affairs. It oversees European security, including NATO, OSCE, conventional arms control and Arctic security policy, as well as bilateral relations with northern European and Baltic countries. Previously, Mr. Murphy served as Director of the Office for European Security and Politico-Military Affairs in the Office for European and Eurasian Affairs. Previously, he was Associate Dean of the School of Leadership and Management at the National Center for Foreign Affairs Training. Previously, Mr. Murphy was Deputy Chef de Mission at the United States Embassy in Gaborone, Botswana, and also Acting Chargé d’affaires in Botswana. He served as Deputy Chef de Mission at the United States Embassy in Pristina, Kosovo, and served three years as a Political Advisor at the United States Embassy in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Other overseas assignments include London, UK; Yaoundé, Cameroon; and Lagos, Nigeria. In Washington, DC, he served as Chief of Staff to the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs and the Director General of the Foreign Service. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Murphy worked in the United States Congress as the Senior Legislative Assistant to Congressman Marilyn Lloyd of Tennessee. He graduated from Hamilton College’s Phi Beta Kappa with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations. He speaks Serbo-Croatian and French.

Tom Udall, Candidate for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to New Zealand and to the Independent State of Samoa

Tom Udall has a long and distinguished career in public service. He recently served two terms as a United States Senator from New Mexico (2009-2021) and five terms as the United States Representative for the 3rd Congressional District of New Mexico (1999-2009). During his tenure, Udall was a notable champion of the environment, Native Americans, government and election reform, and the peaceful resolution of international disputes where possible. Earlier in his career, Udall was twice elected Attorney General of New Mexico (1991-1999) and also served as Deputy Attorney General of the United States. His duties on the Senate committee included the Committee on Foreign Relations, the Committee on Appropriations, the Committee on Trade, Science and Transport, the Committee on Indian Affairs, the Committee on Rules and Administration, the Committee on Security and cooperation in Europe and the International Narcotics Control Caucus Commission. Udall holds a BA from Prescott College, an LLB from the University of Cambridge and a JD from the University of New Mexico.

Howard A. Van Vranken, candidate for the post of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Botswana

Howard A. Van Vranken, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Minister-Counselor class, is currently Executive Director and Deputy Executive Secretary of the Executive Secretariat of the United States Department of State. Previously, he was Executive Director and Acting Principal Deputy Secretary in the Office of South and Central Asia Affairs and Deputy Executive Director in the Executive Office of the Offices of Near East Affairs and South and Central Asian Affairs. Previously, Van Vranken was a Management Advisor and, before that, Deputy Policy Advisor, for the US Embassy in Baghdad. Van Vranken served in Israel as a management officer and later as an interim political adviser in Jerusalem and as a human resources officer at the embassy in Tel Aviv. He was also the leader of a provincial reconstruction team in Babil province, Iraq. Van Vranken received his BA from the University of California at Davis and his MA from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He speaks Arabic, Farsi and Norwegian. He is the recipient of the Presidential Distinguished Service Award.

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