Biden nominates two Indian American woman to key posts

Radha Iyengar gets top job at the Pentagon; Roopali Desai to be first South Asian on US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

President Joe Biden has nominated two Indian American women to key positions in his administration, one in the pentagon and the other in the judiciary. Nominations of Radha Iyengar Plumb and Roopali H. Desai were sent to the Senate by the White House on June 15.

While Plumb would become deputy under secretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, Desai would be the first South Asian person to serve on the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Read: Kamala Harris, Roopali Desai among USA Today’s Women of the Year (March 31, 2022)

Plumb currently serves as the chief of staff to the deputy secretary of defense. Prior to her appointment as chief of staff, she was the director of research and insights for trust & safety at Google, leading their cross functional teams on business analytics, data science, and technical research.

She previously served as the global head of policy analysis at Facebook where she focused on high risk/high harm safety and critical international security issues.

Plumb previously was a senior economist at the RAND Corporation where she focused on improving measurement and evaluation of readiness and security efforts across the Department of Defense.

She also held a number of senior staff positions on national security issues at the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, and the White House National Security Council.

At the outset of her career, she was an assistant professor at the London School of Economics and did her postdoctoral work at Harvard.

Read: Radha Iyengar Plumb: Chief of Staff to the Deputy Secretary of Defense (July 24, 2021)

Plumb received her PhD and MS in Economics from Princeton University, and she holds a BS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Announcing Desai’s nomination to be US Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit with six other new federal judicial nominees, the White House noted that all of them “are extraordinarily qualified, experienced, and devoted to the rule of law and our Constitution.”

“These choices also continue to fulfill the President’s promise to ensure that the nation’s courts reflect the diversity that is one of our greatest assets as a country — both in terms of personal and professional backgrounds,” it said.

For example, if confirmed, Desai would the first South Asian person to serve on the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Read: President Biden Nominates Roopali H. Desai for United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (June 15, 2022)

Desai currently is a partner at Coppersmith Brockelman where she has practiced since 2007. From 2006 to 2007, Desai was an associate at Lewis & Roca. She served as a law clerk for Chief Judge Mary Schroeder on the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit from 2005 to 2006.

Desai received her JD in 2005, her MPH in 2001, and her BA in 2000, all from the University of Arizona.

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