US President Joe Biden has nominated an Indian-American security expert to a top Pentagon position. On June 15, the White House nominated Indian-American official Radha Iyengar Plumb for the position of Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment.
Plumb's was among the names of five nominees announced for leadership positions in the Biden administration.
Who is Radha Iyengar Plumb?
A former assistant professor at the London School of Economics, Plumb did her postdoctoral work at Harvard and has a PhD and MS in Economics from Princeton University. She also holds a BS degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Plumb is currently serving as the Chief of Staff to the Deputy Secretary of Defense in the Biden administration.
Prior to her appointment as Chief of Staff, Plumb was the Director of Research and Insights for Trust and Safety at Google, leading their cross-functional teams on business analytics, data science and technical research. According to reports, she is skilled in econometrics and policy research, project management as well as handling trust and safety issues.
She had also previously served as the Global Head of Policy Analysis at Facebook, where she focused on high-risk/high harm safety and critical international security issues.
Plumb was also a senior economist at RAND Corporation where she focused on improving the measurement and evaluation of readiness and security efforts across the Department of Defense.
She has also held a number of senior staff positions on national security issues at the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, and the White House National Security Council.
Indians in Biden administration
Plumb joins a long list of Indian-Americans who are part of the Biden administration. Biden, who was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on January 20, has created history by appointing at least 55 Indian-Americans to key positions in his administration. This does not include Vice President Kamala Harris, which is an elected position, and Neera Tanden, who a day earlier withdrew her nomination from the position of Director of White House Office of Management and Budget.
In March 2021, during a virtual interaction with NASA scientists who were involved in the historic landing of Perseverance landing at Mars. Bidem had said, "Indian-of-descent Americans are taking over the country," referring to " you Swati Mohan), my Vice President (Kamala Harris), my speech writer (Vinay Reddy)". Mohan leads the guidance, navigation, and control operations of NASA's Mars 2020 mission.
Plumb isn't the only Indian named by the Biden administration for a top official post. According to reports, the US President is set to nominate Indian-American career diplomat Gautam Rana for the role of US Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Slovakia.
(With inputs from PTI)