President Biden nominates David E. White to be Deputy Director of Peace Corps


David E. White, Jr. Peace Corps Deputy Director nominee

David E. White Jr. currently serves as Special Assistant to the President in the White House Office of Presidential Personnel (PPO). Prior to this role, he served on the National Security Council as Senior Advisor to the White House Coordinator for Operation Allies Welcome, where he facilitated whole-of-government efforts to provide housing, health care, education, employment, and other resources at scale for nearly 90,000 Afghan allies resettled in the United States.

An attorney by training, White joined the Biden-Harris Administration as Deputy Associate Counsel in PPO. He was previously a member of the Biden-Harris Transition Team and an attorney at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz in New York City.

White began his career in public service as a cavalry officer in the U.S. Army. He served on active duty in a variety of domestic and overseas assignments, including as a Scout Platoon Leader in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from 2011 to 2012.

After being wounded in combat, White served as second-in-command of the Warrior Transition Unit at West Point, where he coordinated care for other wounded, ill, and injured service members.

His military awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, and Combat Action Badge.

White is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and earned his law degree, cum laude, from Harvard Law School. He clerked for Judge Paul J. Watford of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Born and raised in New York’s Hudson Valley, White lives with his wife, Dana McKinney White, in Washington, D.C.




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  • David White looks great for the Deputy position! Very happy the leadership team is made up of competent and caring individuals–Peace Corps must have challenges returning our Volunteers to the field, and it appears we have a strong team to successfully accomplish that.

  • Probably an acceptable choice but he lacks the understanding that comes from an intense cross cultural experience that peace corps service provides. Such background seems essential to understanding the peace corps as an organization. Were there no RPCVs available?

    • Bob, There is no law or even policy which states that Director, Deputy Director or any Peace Corps employee has to be a RPCV. The first time a RPCV was confirmed as a Peace Corps Direcotr was 1993, Carol Bellamy.

  • I share your view. But, I thought it important to describe what the law and policy are. Have you shared your opinion with your Senators? They will be the ones voted to confirm the Deputy Director.

    • I believe that each administration has the right to its appointees, so this is not a confirmation issue for me. But I think Biden should have choosen more wisely. Not selecting a RPCV will be viewed by some of the 235,000 RPCVs as an affront A person with a military/legal background has a mind set of heirarcy, rapid action and quick definitive results. Whereas the Peace Corps world is full of ambiguity and indecisiveness. Personnel, especially volunteers, are nonconforming and independent. White is gonna have to regear in order to be effective.

  • White’s military training is about fighting wars; Peace Corps training is about creating peace. Wrong man for the job.

  • David White’s background – which is about mobilization, accountability, and oversight – is what the agency needs. His focus must be on getting the posts fully staffed with Volunteers, in-country, hands-on, building and rebuilding relationships and making their contributions. Peace Corps’ unique niche has never been more critical in our present world. As an “outsider,” he’s also the right person to ensure that HQ is “lean and mean,” and expenditures and resources are focused in the field, on the agency’s mission.

  • He is nominated to be the Deputy. What he does will depend on what the Director assigns. He is not an independent agent.

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