The Cable

Names: Sheba Crocker is the new #2 at State’s Policy Planning shop

Sheba Crocker has begun her new role as principal deputy director of the State Department’s Office of Policy Planning, the number two slot behind new Policy Planning Director Jake Sullivan. The State Department didn’t announce that Crocker had been promoted to the influential post, but the nameplate outside her new office revealed her new title, ...

Sheba Crocker has begun her new role as principal deputy director of the State Department’s Office of Policy Planning, the number two slot behind new Policy Planning Director Jake Sullivan.

The State Department didn’t announce that Crocker had been promoted to the influential post, but the nameplate outside her new office revealed her new title, and two State Department officials confirmed to The Cable that she has begun her new job. Crocker was chief of staff to Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg and previously worked at the Center for Strategic and International Studies as a senior associate with the CSIS Post-Conflict Reconstruction Project.

Crocker has also previously worked as the deputy chief of staff to the U.N. secretary-general’s special envoy for tsunami recovery, former President Bill Clinton, and on the National Security Council staff during the Clinton administration, where she also worked for Steinberg. This is a major promotion for one of Steinberg’s key protégés.

Crocker is set to have more responsibility and more influence than her predecessor Derek Chollet, who nevertheless was very influential at State before he moved over to the National Security Staff as its new senior director for strategic planning. Sullivan is now dual-hatted as director of policy planning and as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, and maintains active involvement in working directly for Clinton as her voice inside the State Department on a host of issues.

The thinking inside State is that Sullivan will be so busy doing both jobs that Crocker will naturally take on more of the day to day management responsibilities at policy planning. Sullivan even kept his desk in Clinton’s personal office, meaning that Crocker is now the highest ranking official who actually sits in the policy planning shop each day.

Her experience on civilian security issues and post conflict reconstruction will come in handy as she helps lead State’s effort to drastically increase its presence and role in Iraq as U.S. military forces withdraw.

Crocker is also the daughter of is the daughter of U.S. diplomat Chester Crocker.

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