U.S. President Biden Announces Six Key Nominations 30 July

The White House

WASHINGTON – Today, President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate the following six individuals to serve in key roles:

  • Jonathan Eric Kaplan, Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Singapore
  • Francisco O. Mora, Nominee for Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the Organization of American States, with the rank of Ambassador
  • Nicole Angarella, Nominee for Inspector General, United States Agency for International Development
  • John Plumb, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Space Policy, Department of Defense
  • Amy Searight, Nominee for Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Asia, United States Agency for International Development
  • Alex Wagner, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Department of Defense

Jonathan Eric Kaplan, Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Singapore

Jonathan Kaplan currently serves as Chairperson of the EducationSuperHighway, a nonprofit organization that works with governors and officials across the nation to provide American public school classrooms access to high-speed internet connections. An entrepreneur and innovator, Kaplan most recently was the Chairperson and CEO of FishSix Restaurant Corporation. Prior to that, as Chairperson and CEO of Pure Digital Technologies, he invented and marketed the revolutionary Flip video camera and, when Pure Digital was acquired by Cisco Systems, Kaplan became Senior Vice President and General Manager of its Consumer Products Division. Earlier Kaplan was President and CEO of Sega.com, Founder and CEO of MovieStreet, Vice President and General Manager of Geoworks, and Vice-President of Hands On Technology. Kaplan serves as an advisor for the Young Presidents Organization, meeting with corporate management and government leaders in dozens of countries. Kaplan earned a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial management from Carnegie Mellon University and was the 2010 Ernst & Young Northern California Entrepreneur of the Year.

Francisco O. Mora, Nominee for Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the Organization of American States, with the rank of Ambassador

Francisco O. Mora is a Professor of Politics and International Relations, and Senior Researcher, at the Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy at Florida International University (FIU). Earlier, he was Director of the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center at FIU’s Green School of International and Public Affairs. Mora served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Defense for the Western Hemisphere. He held several teaching positions, including Professor of National Security Strategy and Latin American Studies at the National War College at the National Defense University, and Associate Professor and Chair in the Department of International Studies at Rhodes College. He is the author of four books and numerous articles and other publications. Mora earned a B.A. in International Affairs at The George Washington University. He received his M.A. in Inter-American Studies and a Ph.D. in International Affairs from the University of Miami. He also completed studies at universities in Peru and Costa Rica. He is a recipient of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service, Department of Defense. Mora is a native Spanish speaker and also speaks Portuguese.

Nicole Angarella, Nominee for Inspector General, United States Agency for International Development

Nicole Angarella serves as the general counsel to the USAID Inspector General. In that position, Ms. Angarella leads a team of attorneys and specialists that provides independent legal counsel to the Inspector General, deputy inspector general, senior managers, and staff. Her office provides comprehensive legal advice, research, and guidance to the Offices of Audit, Investigations, and Management within the Office of Inspector General (OIG). Her office also updates the Inspector General and staff on legal developments and represents OIG in Federal and administrative litigation.

Prior to her appointment as general counsel, Ms. Angarella served as a senior legal counsel at USAID OIG and at the Department of Transportation’s OIG. Ms. Angarella has spent her entire federal career in the Inspector General community. She is Chair of the Council of Counsels to the Inspectors General. Before joining the U.S. Government, she worked as an associate attorney in the General Litigation & White Collar Criminal Defense Practice Group at Cozen O’Connor, an international law firm representing corporate and individual clients in Federal investigations and complex criminal and civil matters. She also worked as an associate attorney specializing in employment and labor relations law at a law firm in Washington, DC. Ms. Angarella has a B.A. in political science from the University of Mary Washington and a law degree from the Columbus School of Law at The Catholic University of America. Ms. Angarella is a member of both the Virginia State Bar and the District of Columbia Bar.

John Plumb, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Space Policy, Department of Defense

John F. Plumb, Ph.D., is the Principal Director, Chief of Government Relations at the Aerospace Corporation, a federally funded research and development center focused on national security space programs. He has served in national security roles for over 25 years at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels. His expertise includes space, missile defense, nuclear and conventional deterrence, and submarines.

Prior to his current role he was a senior engineer at RAND. He has served at the White House, the Pentagon, and the U.S. Senate in senior defense staff roles. His past positions include Director for Defense Policy and Strategy on the National Security Council staff, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy at the Pentagon, Principal Director for Nuclear and Missile Defense Policy at the Pentagon, and Military Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator Ken Salazar in the Senate. He ran for office in 2016 in New York’s 23rd Congressional District. Dr. Plumb has over 25 years active and reserve service as a U.S. Navy Submarine Officer and is currently a Captain in the Navy Reserve. He holds a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Colorado, an M.A. in Physics from the University of Colorado, and a B.S. in Physics from the University of Notre Dame.

Amy Searight, Nominee for Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Asia, United States Agency for International Development

Amy Searight is currently Senior Associate for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), where she previously served as Senior Advisor and Director of the Southeast Asia Program. Prior to joining CSIS, Amy served in the Obama-Biden Administration. From 2014-2016 she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia, and from 2012-2014 she served Principal Director for East Asia Security in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. In 2016 she was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service. Before the Pentagon, Searight served as Senior Advisor for Asia in the U.S. Agency for International Development for two years.

Earlier in her career, she worked in the State Department as an International Affairs Fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations, serving as Special Economic Advisor for Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation and on the Policy Planning Staff. She was assistant professor of political science at The Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University and at Northwestern University. A native of New Jersey, she received her B.A. in political economy from Williams College, and an M.A. in East Asian Studies and Ph.D. in Political Science from Stanford University.

Alex Wagner, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Department of Defense

Alex Wagner is a lawyer who served in various positions in the Department of Defense during the Obama-Biden administration. In 2015, Mr. Wagner was appointed as Chief of Staff to the Secretary of the Army, shaping policy and outreach for the Secretary while guiding the Army’s civilian and military leadership with respect to the Secretary’s priorities, initiatives, and plans. In this role, he was closely involved in the development and implementation of policies opening all combat roles to women, enabling transgender Americans to openly serve their nation, and updating the Army’s uniform and grooming regulations to enhance recruiting and retention of soldiers of faith. From 2011 to 2014, he served as Senior Advisor for Rule of Law and Detainee Policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, where he represented the Department to the interagency and internationally on issues regarding human rights and the laws of war. From 2009 to 2011, Mr. Wagner served as the Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of the Defense (Global Strategic Affairs).

Mr. Wagner is currently Vice President for Strategic Initiatives at the Aerospace Industries Association, leading efforts on talent and workforce policy as well as developing strategic partnerships to tell the story of technological innovation and the people who drive it. He has also worked as a lawyer in private practice, specializing in intellectual property law and the First Amendment. He received his law degree from Georgetown Law, where he served as an adjunct professor from 2011 to 2017, and his undergraduate degree from Brown University.

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