President Biden selects three Indian-American women for top office

Dr. Radha Plumb, Under Secretary of Defense, Chief of Staff, poses for her official portrait in the Army Portrait Studio at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., Feb. 25, 2021. (Photo by L American Army by William Pratt)

Over the past two weeks, President Biden has selected three Indian-American women to fill important positions. On June 15, 2022, he sent a slew of nominations to the US Senate, including two Indo-Americans. Earlier on June 6, he announced that he had nominated another woman whose nomination has yet to be sent to Capitol Hill.

Radha Iyengar Plumb of New York, was chosen by the President to be Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense replacing Alan Ray Shaffer. He sent his nomination to the Senate on June 15.

Iyengar Plumb is currently the Chief of Staff to the Deputy Secretary of Defense, a position she has held since February 2021. As Chief of Staff, she is responsible for leading the executive staff of the Deputy Secretary and providing advice and guidance to the Deputy Secretary and ensure Deputy Minister-led governance processes align with key leadership priorities.


Prior to her appointment as chief of staff, she was director of research and insights for trust and safety at Google and previously served as global head of policy analytics at Facebook.

Prior to working in Silicon Valley, Iyengar Plumb was a senior economist at the RAND Corporation, where she focused on improving the measurement and evaluation of preparedness and security efforts within the Department of Defense. . In this capacity, she was lead author on a number of critical reports, including assessing the implications of open service for transgender service members and reviewing security and suitability screening efforts.

From 2014 to 2015, she served as Deputy Chief of Staff to the Assistant Secretary of Energy, where she led policy processes, including budget and policy reviews related to nuclear infrastructure upgrades and efforts to strengthen the security and resilience of the energy sector. She also served as director of personnel and readiness at the National Security Council, where she was instrumental in executive actions against sexual assault in the military.

She also served as political advisor and chief of staff to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, and as a civilian in Afghanistan, performing measurement and evaluation work to support the counter-insurgency advice and assistance team for the Commander ISAF.

Iyengar Plumb holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Princeton University. Her research has focused on empirical evaluations of policies aimed at reducing violence, including criminal violence, sexual assault, terrorist behavior, and sexual and intimate partner violence.

Early in her career, Iyengar Plumb was an Assistant Professor at the London School of Economics and a Robert Wood Johnson Fellow in Health Policy at Harvard.

Roopali H. Desai. Photo:

Roopali H. Desaiof Arizona, whose nomination was also sent to the U.S. Senate on June 15, is the president’s choice to serve as U.S. circuit judge for the Ninth Circuit, to fill the post left vacant by retirement by Andrew David Hurwitz.

If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Desai would become the first Indian-American to serve as a U.S. Circuit Judge for the 9e Circuit, if confirmed by the Senate.

Desai is a partner at Coppersmith Brockelman where she has practiced since 2007. From 2006 to 2007, she was a partner at Lewis & Roca. She clerked for Chief Justice Mary Schroeder on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit from 2005 to 2006.

Desai has a JD (2005), MPH (2001), and BA in 2000, all from the University of Arizona

Sopen B. Shah. Linkedin pictures

Earlier, on June 6, President Biden announced a slew of nominees, including another Indian-American woman. Sopen B. Shah as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin.

Shah is an attorney at Perkins Coie LLP where she has practiced since 2019. She previously served as Wisconsin’s deputy solicitor general from 2017 to 2019.

She clerked for Judge Debra Ann Livingston on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 2016 to 2017 and Judge Amul R. Thapar on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky from 2015 to 2016.

According to her biography on the law firm’s website, Shah is an award-winning briefs writer and experienced oral lawyer. She has filed appeals in the United States Supreme Court; the United States Courts of Appeals for the Ninth, Eighth, Seventh, Fourth, Second, First, DC, and Federal Circuits; and the Supreme Courts of Wisconsin, New Hampshire and Washington. In 2020, she won the biennial “Best Brief” award from the State Bar of Wisconsin.

Shah also handles high-stakes litigation in the lower courts, including a voting rights case in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin and a multimillion-dollar shareholder dispute lawsuit in court. of Dane County Circuit.

Prior to joining the firm, she argued the state’s high-profile criminal and civil appeals as Wisconsin’s Deputy Solicitor General. Prior to law school, Shah was a management consultant at McKinsey & Company and a financial analyst at Bloomberg.

Shah earned his JD from Yale Law School in 2015 and AB, magna cum laudefrom Harvard College in 2008.

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