Cabinet Profiles: Avril Haines: Director of National Intelligence

The first hearings for President-elect Joe Biden’s Cabinet nominations begin today.

We will hear testimony from his picks to lead all of his cabinet positions over the next several weeks. We will profile the nominees in advance of their hearings so our readers will have some background information as the proceedings take place.

In addition, most of the hearings will be live-streamed, and we will share that information on our Twitter feed once the hearings go live.


Avril Haines

Director of National Intelligence

  • Former Principal Deputy National Security Advisor to President Barack Obama and Legal Advisor to the National Security Council
  • First woman to serve as Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency

Avril Haines has worked with President-elect Biden in various roles for more than a decade and will become the first woman to serve as Director of National Intelligence.

During the Obama administration, Haines served as Assistant to the President and Principal Deputy National Security Advisor from 2015-2017, during which time she led the National Security Council’s (NSC) Deputies Committee. From 2013-2015, Haines was the Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency; she was the first woman to hold both of these positions.

Avril began her service in the Obama administration in 2010 as the NSC Legal Advisor. From 2007-2008, Haines served as Deputy Chief Counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee while President-elect Biden served as chairman.

Haines has led the Transition’s National Security and Foreign Policy Team since its founding in June 2020. Prior to that time, she served in various roles, including Senior Research Scholar at Columbia University; a Senior Fellow at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory; and a member of the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service.

Haines received her bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Chicago and a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center.

Update: Avril Haines has been confirmed by the Senate.

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