Biden national security aide John Kirby gets expanded role

John Kirby speaks at a press briefing at the White House in Washington
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By Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -John Kirby, President Joe Biden's top national security spokesperson, is getting a promotion and an expanded role at the White House, a U.S. official told Reuters on Sunday.

Kirby, who in past years has served as the top spokesperson at both the Pentagon and the State Department, will have a new title - White House national security communications adviser - and will be elevated to an assistant to the president from deputy assistant.

He will be in charge of communications coordination for national security across a variety of agencies, the official said.

Kirby will preside over a separate team from the National Security Council's press office, which will continue its daily press operations as usual. It is headed by chief spokesperson Adrienne Watson.

Kirby has been one of the most visible faces of the Biden White House, frequently joining the podium for briefings alongside press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre to brief on national security issues, particularly since the Hamas attacks on Israel on Oct. 7 and Israel's subsequent attack on Gaza.

His appearances in the briefing room will continue, commensurate with when national security issues are dominant themes of the day, the official said.

Anita Dunn, a senior Biden adviser, said in a statement that Kirby's "decades of high level national security experience and his clear, strategic insights make him a deeply valued communicator and adviser on this team."

"President Biden is proud to have John leading national security message coordination across the administration as we continue to make a forceful case for our national security interests at home and in the world," she said.

Kirby, a retired U.S. Navy admiral, has been the National Security Council's coordinator for strategic communications since he was brought over from the Pentagon in 2022.

Under the new structure he will hire a small staff tasked with helping him synchronize the administration's messaging on national security issues.

(Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Mark Porter and Stephen Coates)