State Department Selects Skinner as Senior Policy Adviser

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Jason Maderer
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Kiron Skinner, the Taube Professor of International Relations and Politics at Carnegie Mellon University, has been named senior policy adviser to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Skinner also will serve as director of policy planning, one of the State Department’s most influential positions.

Skinner is the founding director of Carnegie Mellon’s Institute for Politics and Strategy (IPS). The center for research, undergraduate and graduate education focuses on university-wide initiatives in the fields of political science, international relations, national security policy and grand strategy.

Skinner is a renowned expert in foreign policy who served on President Donald Trump’s national security transition team in 2016.

I am honored to assume the role of Director of the Office of Policy Planning and Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary of State,” Skinner said. “The Office of Policy Planning has a long and distinguished history of supporting the Secretary of State and the President in crafting U.S. grand strategy. My charge now is to assemble an intellectually diverse set of leading policy thinkers to create a 21st century U.S. grand strategy that brings American values and international commitments into focus while supporting the cause of peace, freedom and security throughout the world.”

“Kiron Skinner is a national security powerhouse,” said United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. “She is a one-woman, strategic thinking tour de force. I’m confident that she will enhance our influence overseas, protect the American people, and promote our prosperity.  I am thrilled to bring her on board to the State Department team.”

In addition to U.S. foreign policy, Skinner’s areas of expertise are international relations, international security and political strategy.

“As director of Carnegie Mellon’s Institute for Politics and Strategy, Kiron Skinner has created and supported countless opportunities for students, faculty, and global thought leaders to cut across disciplines to examine key issues shaping our world,” said Carnegie Mellon President Farnam Jahanian. “Being called to serve the nation in Washington, D.C., reflects her distinguished career and exemplifies the growing role CMU faculty play in shaping the policy and research agenda at the national level.”

Skinner directs several other academic initiatives at CMU, including the Center for International Relations and Politics and the Institute for Strategic Analysis. She holds appointments in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy and the School of Computer Science. She’s also a distinguished fellow of CMU’s CyLab Security and Privacy Institute within the College of Engineering.

Kiron is a thought leader in her field, best-selling author and highly accomplished faculty member whose work intersects many disciplines across Carnegie Mellon,” said James E. Rohr, chair of the CMU Board of Trustees. “Her expertise will be a tremendous asset to the nation as she serves in the State Department.”

Skinner has previously advised several presidential candidates and was named to the Department of Defense’s Policy Board in 2017. She will begin her new post at the State Department, Sept. 4.

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