President Barack Obama named Denis McDonough to be deputy national security adviser, replacing Tom Donilon, who was promoted to national security adviser earlier this month, the administration announced.
McDonough, a longtime Obama foreign policy aide, has served as chief of staff on the White House National Security Council and was named an adviser for strategic communications when Obama became president in January 2009.
McDonough, 40, “possesses a remarkable intellect, irrepressible work ethic and a sense of collegiality that has earned him the respect of his colleagues,” Obama said in a statement.
It marks the fifth time the president has reached into his inner circle to fill a vacancy, after selecting Jacob Lew as budget director, Austan Goolsbee for chief economist, Peter Rouse as chief of staff and Donilon as top security adviser. Donilon today officially replaced retired General James Jones, whose departure was announced Oct. 8.
McDonough, a native of Stillwater, Minnesota, north of Minneapolis-St. Paul, has played a role in most foreign policy decisions at the White House, including Obama’s decision to add 30,000 troops to Afghanistan and the monthly Situation Room meetings assessing its progress. He advises the president on foreign policy, helps craft positions and speeches and shapes messages for domestic and overseas consumption.
McDonough was Obama’s senior foreign policy adviser during the 2008 presidential campaign and during the transition.
He was a top foreign policy adviser to former Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota and to Obama when he was a senator from Illinois. McDonough also was a senior fellow at the Washington-based Center for American Progress, which describes itself as a progressive research and advocacy group.
McDonough graduated from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, and earned his master’s degree from Georgetown University.
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