WASHINGTON — (AP) — President Joe Biden on Friday named Pentagon press secretary John Kirby as the new National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications.
Kirby “will coordinate interagency efforts to explain United States policy and serve as spokesperson for senior administration on related matters,” the White House said in a statement.
Biden said, “John understands the complexities of U.S. foreign and defense policy, and he will ably represent the administration on important national security issues.”
While accepting the White House job, Kirby thanked Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin “for his outstanding support and leadership over the past 18 months.” Kirby said Austin “has been more than my boss; he’s been a mentor and a confidant, and he’s helped make me a better communicator.
Austin said Kirby “will be a terrific addition to a strong team there, and his long history in defense and foreign policy is a perfect fit for him to work with National Security Council staff.”
Kirby, who also served as the chief spokesman for the Pentagon and State Department during the Obama administration, moves to the White House as he navigates a series of foreign policy challenges, from the invasion of the Ukraine by Russia to North Korea’s nuclear program. Kirby has been a staple on cable news, especially during the Ukraine crisis, and is well-regarded in the administration for seeming to handle even the most vexing foreign policy issues with ease.
The NSC under Biden previously had no one in a dedicated high-level strategic communications role.
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