President Obama Announces New National Security Team Members

President Obama announces that after more than four years overseeing the work of the National Security Council, Tom Donilon will depart in July as National Security Advisor and will be succeeded by Susan Rice. Ambassador Rice will be succeeded by Samantha Power as the next U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, pending Senate confirmation. June 5, 2013.

“Of all the jobs in government, leading my national security team is certainly one of the most demanding, if not the most demanding. And since the moment I took office, I’ve counted on the exceptional experience and insights of Tom Donilon. Nearly every day for the past several years I’ve started each morning with Tom leading the presidential daily brief, hundreds of times, a sweeping assessment of global developments and the most pressing challenges. As my National Security Advisor his portfolio is literally the entire world.

“He has definitely advanced our strategic foreign policy initiatives while at the same time having to respond to unexpected crises, and that happens just about every day. He’s overseen and coordinated our entire national security team across the government, a Herculean task. And it’s non-stop — 24/7, 365 days a year.

“Today, I am wistful to announce that after more than four years of extraordinary service, Tom has decided to step aside at the beginning of July. And I am extraordinarily proud to announce my new National Security Advisor, our outstanding Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice as well as my nominee to replace Susan in New York, Samantha Power.”

“This team of people has been extraordinarily dedicated to America,” President Obama said.

“They have made America safer. They have made America’s values live in corners of the world that are crying out for our support and our leadership. I could not be prouder of these three individuals — not only their intelligence, not only their savvy, but their integrity and their heart.”

Watch and share today’s video.


President Obama Discusses U.S. Counterterrorism Strategy

President Barack Obama delivers a speech at the National Defense University at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama delivers a speech at the National Defense University at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Speaking at National Defense University yesterday, President Obama laid out the framework for U.S. counterterrorism strategy, while balancing our obligation to Constitutional principles, and our historic role in the world.

“For over two centuries, the United States has been bound together by founding documents that defined who we are as Americans, and served as our compass through every type of change.  Matters of war and peace are no different.  Americans are deeply ambivalent about war, but having fought for our independence, we know a price must be paid for freedom.  From the Civil War to our struggle against fascism, on through the long twilight struggle of the Cold War, battlefields have changed and technology has evolved.  But our commitment to constitutional principles has weathered every war, and every war has come to an end” President Obama said.

President Obama discussed how the threat of terrorism has changed substantially since September 11, 2011, and explained his comprehensive strategy to meet these threats, as we wind down the war in Afghanistan.

Read his full remarks here or read a fact sheet about the President’s speech here.

Vice President Biden: “Keeping America Safe”

Vice President Biden discussed foreign policy and national security in a speech yesterday:

“On this fundamental issue, foreign policy, keeping America safe, the contrast between President Obama, his record, and Governor Romney, and his rhetoric, in my view cannot be greater.

“Three and a half years ago, when President Obama and I took office, and stepped into that Oval Office, our nation had been engaged in two wars for the better part of a decade. Al Qaeda was resurgent and Osama bin Laden was at large. Our alliances were dangerously frayed. And our economy—the foundation of our national security—was on the precipice of a new depression.

“President Obama began to act immediately. He set in motion a policy to end the war in Iraq responsibly. He set a clear strategy and an end date for the war in Afghanistan, which has been going on for close to a decade. He cut in half the number of Americans who are literally serving in harm’s way. He decimated al Qaeda’s senior leadership. He repaired our alliances and restored America’s standing in the world and he saved our economy. He saved our economy from collapse with some very unpopular but bold decisions that have turned out to be right, including the rescue of the automobile industry, all of which has made us much stronger not only at home, but abroad.

“If you’re looking for a bumper sticker to sum up how President Obama has handled what we inherited, it’s pretty simple: Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive.”

You can watch highlights from the Vice President’s recent campaign speeches here.

Donna Brazile: “On foreign policy, Obama trounces GOP rivals”

Democratic National Committee vice chair Donna Brazile has an op-ed on slamming the Republican presidential candidates for “taking any position that will distance them from the president and allow them to sound tough”—regardless of whether their positions put them out of step with military leaders and nonpartisan national security efforts.”The lack of knowledge or experience hasn’t stopped Republicans from falling into a familiar habit: opposition for the sake of opposition. If Obama favors something, Republicans almost certainly oppose it” Donna Brazile said.

Brazile writes, “Expect lots of bluster and loose talk at Tuesday’s debate, the sort that brought us the Iraq war earlier this century while the search for Osama bin Laden was essentially called off. Then compare it to the pragmatic, effective approach of Obama and his list of accomplishments. It’s clear who should be on the receiving end of the 3 a.m. phone call.”