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Pres. Obama names new defense policy coordinator

Posted March. 21, 2013 07:46,   


U.S. President Barack Obama has appointed Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, senior director for European affairs at the National Security Council, as the new White House coordinator for defense policy to counter weapons of mass destruction and arms control, the White House said Tuesday.

To begin her new job April 8, Sherwood-Randall will replace Gary Samore and is expected to exert major influence over U.S. policy toward the Korean Peninsula. She will oversee handling of North Korea`s nuclear program and the proposed revision of the Seoul-Washington nuclear energy agreement.

In addition to the duties formerly assumed by Samore, Sherwood-Randall is expected to get directly involved in defense issues with South Korea, including the planned transfer of wartime operational control to the South as well as taking on defense policy. She is a former assistant defense secretary for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, and a leading defense and foreign affairs adviser to Vice President Joe Biden when he was a senator. Under former Defense Secretary William Perry, she was his assistant together with Ashton Carter, now deputy defense secretary. The White House said Sherwood-Randall played a crucial role in efforts led by Perry to denuclearize Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus.

The White House has two coordinators -- Philip Gordon for the Middle East, North Africa and the Persian Gulf and Michael Daniel for cybersecurity, Sherwood-Randall, is the third coordinator appointed by the Obama administration in its second term.

In charge of North Korean affairs at the White House from January 2009, Samore will serve as director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University.