- Taruna Chhabra, Sumona Guha and Shanthi Kalathil will advise and assist the president on national security and foreign policies, and coordinate those policies across government agencies.
President-elect Joe Biden has named three Indian Americans to the National Security Council (NSC). The appointments announced on Jan. 9 include Tarun Chhabra, Senior Director for Technology and National Security; Sumona Guha, Senior Director for South Asia; and Shanthi Kalathil, Coordinator for Democracy and Human Rights. The NSC’s primary role is to advise and assist the president on national security and foreign policies, and to coordinate those policies across government agencies.
“The National Security Council plays a critical role in keeping our nation safe and secure,” Biden said in a press release issued by the Biden-Harris transition team. “These crisis-tested, deeply experienced public servants will work tirelessly to protect the American people and restore America’s leadership in the world. They will ensure that the needs of working Americans are front and center in our national security policymaking, and our country will be better for it.”
“This outstanding team of dedicated public servants will be ready to hit the ground running on day one to address the transnational challenges facing the American people — from climate to cyber,” Vice President-elect Kamala Devi Harris said. “They reflect the very best of our nation and they have the knowledge and experience to help build our nation back better for all Americans.”
Chhabra is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Security and Emerging Technology at Georgetown University. He was previously a Fellow with the Project on International Order and Strategy at the Brookings Institution and a Visiting Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perry World House. During the Obama-Biden administration, Chhabra served on the National Security Council staff as director for Strategic Planning and dDirector for Human Rights and National Security Issues, and at the Pentagon as a speechwriter to the Secretary of Defense. Born in Tennessee and raised in Louisiana, Chhabra is a first-generation American and a graduate of Stanford University, Oxford University, and Harvard Law School.
Guha was co-chair of the South Asia foreign policy working group on the Biden-Harris campaign. She currently serves on the transition’s State Department Agency Review Team. Guha is Senior Vice President at Albright Stonebridge Group. Previously, she served in the State Department as a Foreign Service Officer and later, on the Secretary of State’s policy planning staff where she focused on South Asia. During the Obama-Biden administration, she was special advisor for national security affairs to Vice President Biden. Guha is a graduate of Johns Hopkins and Georgetown University. She lives in Bethesda, Maryland with her husband and three children.
Kalathil is currently senior director of the International Forum for Democratic Studies at the National Endowment for Democracy, where her work focuses on emerging challenges to democracy. Previously in her career, she served as a senior democracy fellow at the U.S.Agency for International Development, an associate with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Hong Kong-based reporter for the Asian Wall Street Journal, and an advisor to international affairs organizations. Kalathil is the co-author of “Open Networks, Closed Regimes: The Impact of the Internet on Authoritarian Rule” (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2003). Originally from California, Kalathil is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and the London School of Economics and Political Science.