WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) issued the following statement after President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team announced several key national security picks, including his intention to nominate Alejandro Mayorkas to be Secretary of Homeland Security; Avril Haines to be Director of National Intelligence (DNI); Linda Thomas-Greenfield to be U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, a job that will be restored to cabinet-level status; Jake Sullivan to be National Security Advisor; and John Kerry to be a Special Presidential Envoy on Climate, which is a post that President-elect Biden plans to elevate to cabinet level status:

“I commend President-elect Biden for putting together an incredibly talented, experienced national security team.  This is a historic, diverse, and well-qualified slate of key national security officials.  They each bring their own unique talents, but they all share a common commitment to public service and a proven, pragmatic record of problem-solving and accomplishment.

“The challenges and threats facing our country are complex, and this experienced, crisis-tested team will be ready to help President-elect Biden lead on day one.

“Alejandro Mayorkas is a thoughtful, experienced leader who previously served as deputy Homeland Security Secretary and will play a critical role in keeping Americans safe and reforming DHS.  The son of Cuban refugees, he has an impressive background in law enforcement as a U.S. attorney who has taken on organized crime, drug traffickers, and public corruption.  He will be the first Latino, as well as the first immigrant, to lead DHS and brings extensive experience to the table having already served as the deputy there.  He has helped safeguard America’s infrastructure, borders, financial networks, and cyber defenses.  He will bring some much needed stability to DHS and a proven ability to coordinate at the federal and state level to protect the American people.

“Avril Haines is an outstanding pick to be Director of National Intelligence and will make history as the first woman to lead the Intelligence Community in this critical post.  She is extremely well-qualified, having served in a top post at the CIA and will drastically improve coordination between U.S. Intelligence and our allies and partners.  The next DNI needs to undo the damage that President Trump has inflicted on U.S. Intelligence by trying to denigrate and politicize these critical agencies and distort the information they provide to policymakers.  I think Ms. Haines is a smart pick who can restore trust, morale, and professionalism.  She will serve the nation’s interests, not just the President’s, by bringing a renewed sense of urgency to keeping the country safe and depoliticizing the Intelligence Community.

“Linda Thomas-Greenfield is a diplomatic dynamo.  She is a true foreign policy professional who spent decades in the Foreign Service and served in places like Liberia, Pakistan, and Nigeria.  I proudly support her elevation to this crucial post.  She is a bridge builder who will help make America stronger by working with our allies and advancing security, democracy, and human rights.

“Jake Sullivan has an impressive resume and has been a close foreign policy aide to Joe Biden for many years.  He has the intellect, judgment, and temperament to do the job effectively.  He is someone who really listens to debate and asks probing questions that cut to the heart of complex national security issues.  I think he will be a real asset for the Biden Administration and the American people in this important post.

“I whole heartedly support President Biden’s decision to create a cabinet-level climate post and I commend my friend John Kerry for returning to public service in this critical new role.  John Kerry will bring gravitas and a tireless work ethic to this role.  Climate change is a national security issue and this move signals the Biden Administration will make it a priority and work across government to take comprehensive, meaningful action to protect America and blunt the impact of climate change.  Few people can connect the dots on this issue like John Kerry and I think this appointment is a great step toward a coordinated, cohesive climate policy that has been sorely lacking over the last four years.

“As the confirmation for cabinet officials in the next Administration begins, I look forward to working with these individuals and my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to help make America safer and move our nation forward.”

Senator Reed also offered high praise for President-elect Biden’s nominee to be Secretary of State, Antony Blinken.