"I've known and worked closely with Tony for the past decade, starting when I joined the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and he was its Staff Director. For the past six years, I've relied on Tony in the White House, where I've come to have extraordinary respect for his knowledge, judgment, and inclusive approach to developing and implementing our foreign policy," Obama said.
If confirmed by the Senate, Blinken would succeed William Burns, who retired early this month. "His rare combination of deep policy expertise, impeccable judgment, and an inclusive leadership style will make him an exceptional leader and manager in the Department," Secretary of State John Kerry said.
"His experience working on Iran nuclear negotiations, focusing on Iraq and Syria, partnering on Ukraine, planning our new relationship with Afghanistan, and helping build the rebalance to Asia will all be vital to his role as Deputy Secretary right by my side," Kerry said.
Blinken currently serves as Assistant to the President and Principal Deputy National Security Adviser. During Obama's first term, he was Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Adviser to the Vice President. NSA Susan Rice said Blinken knew firsthand the critical contribution of expertise and leadership that agencies and their staffs bring to bear in shaping our foreign policy.
Blinken served for six years on Capitol Hill (2002 2008) as Democratic Staff Director for the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He began his government service at the State Department where, from 1993 to 1994, he served as Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Canadian Affairs. After leaving the Clinton Administration, he held the position of Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies between 2001 and 2002.