The Cable

Biden gets a new national security advisor

Today, Vice President Joe Biden delivered a speech defending the Obama administration's foreign policy and attacking the foreign policy views of Mitt Romney in New York. Back in Washington, Biden took on a new top staffer to advise him on national security and foreign policy going forward.

As part of a set of ongoing staffing changes in the national security leadership at the White House, Biden will get a new deputy national security advisor Monday, Pentagon official Julianne Smith. Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Policy James Miller announced Smith's move in a Thursday note to staff, obtained by The Cable.

"I am writing to announce that Julie Smith, who has served brilliantly as principal director for Europe and NATO policy for the last three years, has been selected as deputy national security adviser to the vice president. Julie will start in her new position on Monday April 30," Miller wrote. "We will greatly miss Julie in OSD Policy, but very much look forward to continuing to work closely with her in her new role."

Smith replaces Brian McKeon, who moved over in March to become deputy assistant to the president, executive secretary, and chief of staff of the National Security Staff (NSS). McKeon replaced two senior staffers. The position of executive secretary had been held by Nate Tibbits, and the position of chief of staff had been held by Ambassador Brooke Anderson, who left government and moved to Bozeman, Montana, according to a White House press release last month.

The jobs of NSS executive secretary and chief of staff were merged into one position for McKeon, "creating a more integrated approach to the management of the NSS," the White House said.

Smith had been serving as the Pentagon policy shop's principal director for Europe and NATO policy for the last three years. Part of that job will be immediately filled by Evelyn Farkas, who will take over Smith's role as special assistant to the Secretary of Defense for the NATO Summit next month in Chicago. Farkas has served for the past two years as senior advisor to EUCOM Commander and Supreme Allied Commander Europe Adm. Jim Stavridis.

The Pentagon's regional director for Europe and NATO Chris Skaluba will be taking over Smith's duties as principal director of the Europe/NATO office on an acting basis, while the Pentagon looks for someone to fill that position permanently, Miller wrote.  Col. Sean Scott will fill in for Skaluba as acting director of the Europe/NATO regional directorate.

According to Politico's Playbook, Smith previously worked as director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Europe Program and also has worked at the German Marshall Fund, the British American Security Information Council, and the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik in Germany.

"Please join me in wishing Julie and Evelyn, and Chris and Sean, all the best in their new roles. I am confident that they will all continue do great work in support of our national security," Miller wrote.

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