Biden’s national security Cabinet nominees face Senate tests

Biden’s national security Cabinet nominees face Senate tests
President-elect Joe Biden listens as his Secretary of State nominee Tony Blinken speaks at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del. Source: AP
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Daily US Times: Joe Biden’s national security Cabinet may be bare on the first day of his presidency, but an inauguration eve spurt of Senate confirmation hearings suggests that would not be the case for long.

While the nominees to head the State Department, Homeland Security, the Pentagon and the intelligence community are unlikely to be confirmed by the time Joe Biden takes the oath of office at noon Wednesday, some could be in place within days.

The Senate typically confirms some nominees of the president-elect, particularly the secretaries of defense, on Inauguration Day, though raw feelings about the outgoing President Donald Trump four years ago led to Democratic-caused delays, except for James Mattis at the Pentagon. This year, the tension is heightened by Mr Trump’s impeachment and an extraordinary military presence in the because of fears of extremist violence.

Putting his national security team in place quickly is a high priority for Joe Biden, a Democrat, not only because of his hopes for reversing or modifying policy shifts of Trump administration but also because of military, diplomatic and intelligence problems around the world that may create challenges early in his tenure.

The most controversial of the group may be recently retired Army general Lloyd Austin, whom Joe Biden selected to lead the Pentagon.

Austin will need not only a favorable confirmation vote in the Senate, the upper chamber of Congress, but also a waiver by both the Senate and the House because he has been out of uniform only four years.

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