WASHINGTON – Today, President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate the following seven individuals to serve in key roles:

  • Laurie E. Locascio, Nominee for Under Secretary for Standards and Technology, Department of Commerce
  • Andrew Hunter, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, Acquisition, Technology, Logistics, Department of Defense
  • James D. Rodriguez, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Veterans Employment and Training, Department of Labor
  • Caryn R. McClelland, Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Brunei Darussalam
  • Michael J. Murphy, Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Tom Udall, Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to New Zealand and to the Independent State of Samoa
  • Howard A. Van Vranken, Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Republic of Botswana

Laurie E. Locascio, Nominee for Under Secretary for Standards and Technology, Department of Commerce

Laurie E. Locascio, Ph.D., is the Vice President for Research at the University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Maryland, Baltimore. In this role, Dr. Locascio oversees the University of Maryland’s vibrant research and innovation enterprise at these two campuses, which garner a combined $1.1 billion in external research funding each year. Within Locascio’s purview are the development of large interdisciplinary research programs, technology commercialization, innovation and economic development efforts, and strategic partnerships with industry, federal, academic, and nonprofit collaborators. She is a professor in Maryland’s Fischell Department of Bioengineering, and professor (secondary) in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Prior to the University of Maryland, Dr. Locascio had a long fruitful career as a researcher, innovator, and scientific leader at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).  Her last role at NIST was Acting Principal Deputy Director and Associate Director for Laboratory Programs. In that position, she was responsible for leading the internal scientific research and laboratory programs across two campuses in Gaithersburg, MD and Boulder, CO.

Locascio received a B.Sc. in chemistry from James Madison University, a M.Sc. in bioengineering from the University of Utah, and a Ph.D. in toxicology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. As a biomedical researcher, she published more than 100 scientific papers and 11 patents.

Andrew Hunter, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, Acquisition, Technology, Logistics, Department of Defense

Andrew Hunter is as a senior fellow in the International Security Program and Director of the Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) where he has worked since November 2014.  He focuses his research at CSIS on the defense acquisition system, the defense industrial base, defense technology issues, and defense trade. From 2011 to November 2014, Mr. Hunter served as a senior executive in the Department of Defense (DOD).  Appointed as Director of the Joint Rapid Acquisition Cell in 2013, his duties included fielding solutions to urgent operational needs and leading the work of the Warfighter Senior Integration Group to ensure timely action on critical issues of warfighter support.  From 2011 to 2012, Mr. Hunter served as the Chief of Staff to the Honorable Ashton B. Carter and the Honorable Frank Kendall, while each was serving as Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics.  Additional duties while at DOD included providing support to the Deputy’s Management Action Group and leading a team examining ways to reshape acquisition statutes.

From 2005 to 2011, Mr. Hunter served as a Professional Staff Member of the House Armed Services Committee, leading the committee’s policy staff and managing a portfolio focused on acquisition policy, the defense industrial base, technology transfers, and export controls. From 1994 to 2005, Mr. Hunter served in a variety of staff positions in the House of Representatives including as Appropriations Associate for Congressman Norman D. Dicks; as Military Legislative Assistant and Legislative Director for Congressman John M. Spratt, Jr.; and as a staff member for the Select Committee on U.S. National Security and Military/Commercial Concerns with the People’s Republic of China. Mr. Hunter holds a Master of Arts degree in Applied Economics from The Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Studies from Harvard University.

James D. Rodriguez, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Veterans Employment and Training, Department of Labor

James D. Rodriguez is the current Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy within the Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Services agency responsible for preparing America’s veterans, service members, and their spouses for meaningful careers upon transition from active duty.

Mr. Rodriguez is an executive leader and retired Marine with over 30 years as a leader in the U.S. government, corporate sector, and United States Marine Corps. He possesses a comprehensive background in program management, interagency collaboration, and policy development. He also has extensive senior level experience building and managing multi-million-dollar budgets and large diverse teams to include his recent executive experience in leadership roles within Deloitte LLP’s Government and Public Sector practice and BAE Systems Inc. Government relations department. He also previously served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Office of Warrior Care Policy, Office of the Secretary of Defense from 2014 through 2017.

Mr. Rodriguez possesses a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Maryland, University College and a Masters of Arts Degree in International Commerce and Policy from the George Mason University School of Public Policy.  He also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the government and political science department within the University of Maryland Global Campus. He is married to Vanessa Rodriguez and has two daughters, Courtney and Casey.

Caryn R. McClelland, Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Brunei Darussalam

Caryn R. McClelland, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, is the Minister Counselor for Economic Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in London.  She previously served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. embassies in Vietnam and Latvia, and as Consul General in Surabaya, Indonesia.  She also served at the U.S. embassies in Azerbaijan, Malaysia, Turkmenistan and Ireland.  She was Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, and Deputy Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs at the Department of State.  Earlier, McClelland was Senior Advisor for Caspian Basin Energy Diplomacy, and Regional Energy Advisor in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs.  McClelland earned a B.A. at the University of California – Los Angeles, an M.A. at San Francisco State University, and an M.S. at the National War College.  She speaks Indonesian, Latvian and Russian

Michael J. Murphy, Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Bosnia and Herzegovina

Michael J. Murphy, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister-Counselor, currently serves as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs.  He oversees European security, including NATO, the OSCE, conventional arms control, and Arctic security policy, as well as bilateral relations with the Northern European and Baltic countries.  Previously, Mr. Murphy served as Director of the Office for European Security & Political-Military Affairs in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs.  Earlier, he served as the Associate Dean of the Leadership and Management School at the National Foreign Affairs Training Center.  Prior to that, Mr. Murphy was the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Gaborone, Botswana and also as Chargé d’Affaires, a.i., in Botswana.  He was Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Pristina, Kosovo and served for three years as Political Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Other overseas postings include London, United Kingdom; Yaoundé, Cameroon; and Lagos, Nigeria.  In Washington, D.C., he served as Chief of Staff to both the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs and the Director General of the Foreign Service.  Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Murphy worked in the U.S. Congress as the Senior Legislative Aide to Congresswoman Marilyn Lloyd of Tennessee.  He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Hamilton College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations.  He speaks Serbo-Croatian and French.

Tom Udall, Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to New Zealand and to the Independent State of Samoa

Tom Udall has a long and distinguished career in public service.  He most recently served two terms as United States Senator from New Mexico (2009-2021) and served five terms as United States Representative from New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District (1999-2009).  While in office, Udall was a notable champion for the environment, for Native Americans, for government and election reform and for resolving international disputes peacefully, if possible.  Earlier in his career, Udall was elected twice as Attorney General of New Mexico (1991-1999) and also served as an Assistant United States Attorney.  His Senate Committee assignments included the Committee on Foreign Relations, the Committee on Appropriations, the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, the Committee on Indian Affairs, the Committee on Rules and Administration, the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the International Narcotics Control Caucus.  Udall has a B.A. degree from Prescott College, a Bachelor of Law from Cambridge University, and a J.D. from the University of New Mexico. 

Howard A. Van Vranken, Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Republic of Botswana

Howard A. Van Vranken, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, currently serves as Executive Director and Deputy Executive Secretary for the Executive Secretariat at the U.S. Department of State. Previously, he was Executive Director and Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs and Deputy Executive Director in the Executive Office for the Bureaus of Near Eastern Affairs and South and Central Asian Affairs. Earlier, Van Vranken was Management Counselor and, prior to that, the Deputy Political Counselor, for U.S. Embassy Baghdad.  Van Vranken served in Israel as Management Officer and later as Acting Political Counselor in Jerusalem and as the Human Resource Officer at the Embassy in Tel Aviv. He was also the leader of a Provincial Reconstruction Team in Babil Province, Iraq. Van Vranken earned his B.A. degree from the University of California, Davis and his M.A. from Harvard University Kennedy School of Government. He speaks Arabic, Farsi, and Norwegian.  He is the recipient of as the Presidential Distinguished Service Award.

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