White House Nominates Women for Terrorism, Army, DEA Roles
By Rachael Levy and Warren P. Strobel
The White House tapped former Pentagon and White House official
Christine Abizaid to head the National Counterterrorism Center, one
of the agencies the Biden administration has said it plans to use
to counter an upswing in domestic terrorism.
It also picked Christine Wormuth as its nominee for secretary of
the Army, the top civilian job heading the country's largest
uniformed force. Both would be the first women to serve in their
roles, if confirmed by the Senate.
Ms. Abizaid, who goes by Christy, has discussed a role with the
Biden administration since December, a person familiar with the
matter said. She previously served for nearly a decade as a
counterterrorism intelligence officer at the Defense Intelligence
Agency and worked on the National Security Council staff under
President Barack Obama. After leaving government, Ms. Abizaid
joined Dell Technologies, where she currently serves as an
executive in operations.
Ms. Wormuth previously served as undersecretary of defense for
policy during the Obama administration and as the senior director
for defense policy on the National Security Council. She is
currently director of the International Security and Defense Policy
Center at the RAND Corporation.
While the National Counterterrorism Center traditionally has
focused on foreign terrorism, under President Biden it is expected
to take on a greater role addressing domestic threats, working
alongside other federal agencies, current and former officials
Faced with a surge in homegrown attacks in recent years,
including the storming of the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob on Jan. 6,
the Biden administration has stepped up efforts in its first months
to combat ideologically inspired domestic extremism.
The White House has ordered a federal policy review, increased
funding to community grants and proposed additional funds for the
Justice Department. It also has issued more robust warnings about
the threat of domestic terrorism than the Trump administration
Ms. Abizaid declined to comment and the NCTC had no immediate
The counterterrorism center was formed in the wake of the Sept.
11, 2001, attacks to coordinate the sharing of intelligence on
terrorism. It had a bumpy time under former President Donald Trump,
who cut back its staff and last year fired its acting director,
Russ Travers. Mr. Travers is now a top domestic-extremism adviser
to Mr. Biden.
Nicholas Rasmussen, a NCTC director from 2014 to 2017, said he
welcomed Ms. Abizaid's nomination, saying she would "think in new
and innovative ways about the many terrorism-related challenges we
are facing, to include the challenge posed by domestic
Mr. Biden also nominated Anne Milgram, a former New Jersey
attorney general and advocate of criminal-justice overhauls, to
lead the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration as it confronts the
nation's opioid-abuse crisis and other challenges. The agency,
which is part of the Justice Department, hasn't had a politically
appointed, Senate-confirmed leader since the Obama
Ms. Milgram is a former prosecutor who spent her early career as
an assistant district attorney in Manhattan and has also worked as
a civil rights prosecutor in the Justice Department.
Ms. Milgram has advocated data-driven, law-enforcement
strategies in which policing is targeted and informed by crime
statistics and other figures, rather than depending on what she has
described as police officers' "gut instinct."
She is currently a law professor and a lawyer in private
--Sadie Gurman contributed to this article.
Write to Warren P. Strobel at Warren.Strobel@wsj.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
April 12, 2021 19:34 ET (23:34 GMT)
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