The Cable

Lieberman staffer to head Foreign Policy Initiative

Chris Griffin, the former legislative director for Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) will become the next leader of the Foreign Policy Initiative, a conservative national security organization in Washington, the group is set to announce later today.

Griffin will be announced as the second executive director of FPI, succeeding former Bush-era National Security Council staffer Jamie Fly, who is moving on to become Sen. Marco Rubio's counselor for foreign and national security affairs. The board of FPI, started in 2009, consists of Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, Brookings Institution scholar Bob Kagan (husband of State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland), former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Eric Edelman, and former spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq Dan Senor.

"We're thrilled with the job Jamie Fly has done running FPI for the last four years, and we congratulate him on the important position he's assuming on Capitol Hill," the board said in a statement provided to The Cable. "And we're very pleased we were able to recruit Chris Griffin to replace Jamie, and are confident that under his leadership FPI will only go from strength to strength."

FPI provided The Cable with the following biography of Griffin:

Prior to serving as Sen. Lieberman's Legislative Director, Griffin was the senator's Military Legislative Assistant between 2008 and 2011, working to develop and execute Senator Lieberman's agenda as a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Between 2005 and 2008, Griffin was a Research Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, where his work focused on U.S. policy toward Asia and security assistance programs. While at AEI, he was also a Contributing Editor to the Armed Forces Journal, writing a monthly column on military blogs and occasional pieces on the defense industry. Griffin serves in the Virginia Army National Guard.

Upon its founding, many Republicans saw FPI as a successor to the Project for a New American Century, a now defunct group of neoconservative foreign policy experts who played a role in supporting the push to go to war in Iraq. But under Fly, FPI has defined its own identity, playing a role in policy discussions on issues ranging from defense spending to nuclear weapons to human rights and democracy. Key members of the staff include Policy Director Robert Zarate, Human Rights and Democracy Director Ellen Bork, and Director of Operations Sarah Morgan.

FPI has also started ambitious young leader development programs both in Washington and New York, and hosts a well-attended foreign policy conference each year. Their 2012 forum featured speeches from Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Lieberman, and French philosopher and journalist Bernard-Henri Lévy.

Fly and Senor were also key foreign-policy advisors to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, with Fly being the director of Romney's National Security Council transition team and Senor having served as Romney's top advisor on the Middle East.

"Our nation is facing serious challenges around the globe, and it's critical that we do everything we can this Congress to ensure that America remains a leader in the world," Rubio said in a Jan. 18 statement. "Jamie's experience in both the government and private sector will make him an asset to the foreign policy challenges and initiatives we look forward to working on this year."

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