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Jake Sullivan to become State Department director of policy planning

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Deputy Chief of Staff Jake Sullivan will soon be named as the next State Department director of policy planning, two State Department officials confirmed to The Cable. Sullivan’s appointment, which does not require Senate confirmation, could come as early as today, the officials said. He replaces outgoing Policy Planning Director ...

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's Deputy Chief of Staff Jake Sullivan will soon be named as the next State Department director of policy planning, two State Department officials confirmed to The Cable.

Sullivan's appointment, which does not require Senate confirmation, could come as early as today, the officials said. He replaces outgoing Policy Planning Director Anne-Marie Slaughter, who will return to teach at Princeton University at the end of this month. Sullivan, one of Clinton's closest and most trusted aides, won't even have to change offices on the State Department's 7th floor to take charge of the shop that is Foggy Bottom's main incubator for policy ideas.

State Department officials said that Sullivan's close relationship with Clinton will enable him to keep policy planning tightly integrated in the secretary's office. As the top policy advisor inside Clinton's office over the last two years, he's also got the experience with the interagency process to help his new office execute its ideas.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Deputy Chief of Staff Jake Sullivan will soon be named as the next State Department director of policy planning, two State Department officials confirmed to The Cable.

Sullivan’s appointment, which does not require Senate confirmation, could come as early as today, the officials said. He replaces outgoing Policy Planning Director Anne-Marie Slaughter, who will return to teach at Princeton University at the end of this month. Sullivan, one of Clinton’s closest and most trusted aides, won’t even have to change offices on the State Department’s 7th floor to take charge of the shop that is Foggy Bottom’s main incubator for policy ideas.

State Department officials said that Sullivan’s close relationship with Clinton will enable him to keep policy planning tightly integrated in the secretary’s office. As the top policy advisor inside Clinton’s office over the last two years, he’s also got the experience with the interagency process to help his new office execute its ideas.

"Given his relationship with the secretary, with the building, and with the White House, covering the whole range of issues over the last two years, he is the most natural and best fit to create connectivity between the mid- to long-range planning functions of S/P [the policy planning office] and the operations of foreign policy here at State and across the U.S. government," one State Department official said.

Sullivan is well respected, but young for such a senior posting. After graduating Yale Law School in 2004, he worked as a practicing attorney for only a few months before joining Clinton’s presidential campaign. A Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, he was part of Clinton’s debate prep team and was deputy policy director of her campaign before the election.

Sullivan’s career is filled with honors and prestigious assignments. While at Yale, he worked for current Brookings Institution President Strobe Talbott at the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization. While in London he worked with Les Gelb at the Council on Foreign Relations. After law school, Sullivan clerked for Guido Calabresi of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. He has also served as chief counsel and senior policy advisor to Senator Amy Klobuchar.

Sullivan also has a penchant for journalism. He was editor of the Yale Daily News as an undergraduate, served as articles editor of the Yale Law Journal, and worked as reporter-researcher in London for Time Atlantic.

One State Department official said that Sullivan’s ascendance would make the policy planning shop more "operational" than under Slaughter, whose primary focus was on developing the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review.

"This is more the Winston Lord, Jim Steinberg, and Dennis Ross model for policy planning," the State Department official said, referring to three past directors who were relatively young and had more practical policy experience than academic expertise. "Policy planning will probably be a little more operational with a director who is not yet a household name but should be and will be soon."

There’s no decision yet on who will be Sullivan’s deputy. Derek Chollet, who was Slaughter’s number two, has moved over to the National Security Staff to be its new senior director for strategic planning.

Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at josh.rogin@foreignpolicy.com.

Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.

A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.

Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @joshrogin

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