WASHINGTON - Two former Clinton administration officials were named yesterday to join the State Department in high posts when Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton becomes secretary of state.
James Steinberg, a deputy national security adviser under President Bill Clinton, was chosen as deputy secretary of state. Jacob J. Lew, Bill Clinton's budget director, will oversee management and budget issues as co-deputy, a unique arrangement for the State Department.
President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. also named Thomas E. Donilon, another Clinton administration veteran, as deputy national security adviser.
Antony Blinken, chief of staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was named Biden's national security adviser. Biden is the committee's outgoing chairman.
Obama, in a statement, called the team "uniquely suited to meet the great global challenges facing us today."
Donilon, a politically savvy lawyer, served from 1999 to 2005 as vice president of Fannie Mae, the mortgage-finance company recently taken over by the government. In Bill Clinton's first term, he was chief of staff and a speechwriter for Secretary of State Warren Christopher.
In a unique division of authority, Steinberg is expected to focus on foreign-policy issues while Lew handles day-to-day operations. Hillary Clinton is also known to be exploring the appointment of special mediators for trouble spots such as the Mideast.
Steinberg and Lew require Senate confirmation; Donilon and Blinken do not.
While Steinberg's appointment would fill the traditional State Department deputy role, with broad policy and administrative functions, Lew's would break new ground, giving Clinton a strong advocate for increased funding and resources.
Steinberg, 55, was national security adviser from December 1996 to August 2000. Before that, he was State's chief of staff and director of its policy planning staff.
He was an early advocate for setting withdrawal dates for U.S. combat forces in Iraq. In 2005, he wrote that the growing insurgency in Iraq was due partly to "indigenous hostility" over the presence of U.S. and coalition forces and that removing most of them would improve security.