US Senate confirms Kurt Campbell as State Department's number two

The long-time diplomat has been instrumental in Washington's 'pivot to Asia' as concerns about US-Middle East policy increase

Kurt Campbell, the new US deputy secretary of state. Reuters
Powered by automated translation

The US Senate on Tuesday confirmed Kurt Campbell as deputy secretary of state.

The Senate voted 92-5 in the confirmation for Mr Campbell to assume the State Department's number two position under Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

He will resign from his post with the White House National Security Council, where he has been President Joe Biden's deputy assistant and co-ordinator for Indo-Pacific affairs,

Mr Campbell's nomination in November came as Washington tries to “pivot to Asia” from the Middle East, a goal he is credited with crafting while he served under president Barack Obama.

His confirmation comes as that pivot faces a reckoning on the global stage, with concerns that Washington's repeated attempts to disengage from the Middle East in favour of the Indo-Pacific have played a hand in the regional chaos sparked by the Israel-Gaza war.

Foreign relations committee chairman Ben Cardin endorsed Mr Campbell's nomination from the Senate floor on Tuesday, urging his confirmation “without delay".

“I don't have to remind my colleagues of all the challenges we have around the world. We need a full diplomatic corps there to represent the United States interests,” Mr Cardin said.

Mr Campbell “has the expertise to help navigate the department and our nation through complex global challenges", he said.

Mr Campbell is replacing Wendy Sherman, who retired this summer.

Updated: February 06, 2024, 10:20 PM