State Department’s new senior adviser is a scholar, author

Woman speaking at lectern (Carnegie Mellon University)
Kiron Skinner addresses an audience at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh in 2014. (Carnegie Mellon University)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced the appointment of Kiron Skinner as the new director of policy planning at the U.S. State Department.

Skinner — an expert on international relations and an author of books and scholarly commentary — will provide independent and strategic views on long-term policy formulation. She will coordinate with various State Department bureaus, other government agencies, foreign counterparts, academia and the private sector. “Her vision and expertise will be strong assets in the State Department’s work on behalf of the American people,” Pompeo said.

In a statement to the Wall Street Journal newspaper, the secretary described Skinner as “a national security powerhouse” and “a one-woman, strategic-thinking tour de force.”

Skinner is a founding director of the Institute for Politics and Strategy at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. She has taught at Carnegie Mellon since 1999 and has also served as a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution in Palo Alto, California. In addition, she has served on the U.S. Defense Department’s Policy Board, the Chief of Naval Operations’ Executive Panel and the National Security Education Board.

She has co-authored two books: Reagan, In His Own Hand (2001) and Reagan: A Life in Letters (2003), both of which appeared on the New York Times best-sellers list.

She has contributed opinion essays to National Review Online, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and numerous other media outlets.