Kamala Harris plans to prioritize cybersecurity and global health in foreign policy platform

Whereas the White Home tackles home crises stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, Vice President Kamala Harris is trying past U.S. boundaries to develop her international coverage portfolio. Harris aides have declined to element her high home areas of duty, however two high White Home officers informed CBS Information she has at the least two broad priorities that she plans to make her main deal with the worldwide stage.

The officers mentioned Harris has her personal specific pursuits, along with the administration’s high agenda gadgets. She plans to make her high two priorities cybersecurity and expertise, and international well being. These near Harris say each pursuits come, partly, from her days as California’s junior senator and her expertise as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

President Biden and Vice President Harris not solely took workplace amid a lethal pandemic but in addition started their administration throughout a serious cybersecurity breach. Intelligence and White Home officers are pinning the SolarWinds hack on Russia. 

The president has vowed that his high worldwide precedence is reassuring allies that the U.S. stands with them. Already, Harris has been an integral a part of this effort. She has held calls with world leaders together with French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Her first name with a global chief was with World Well being Group Director-Normal Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, after the Biden administration reversed the final administration’s U.S. withdrawal from the group. Harris has plenty of different calls with world leaders lined up, too, the officers mentioned, however didn’t specify which of them.

“You possibly can’t do the entire different problems with curiosity with out companions, and that’s the theme of this administration,” a high White Home official mentioned. “International well being, cyber safety, China, local weather, the regional points: you’ll be able to’t do them until you might have robust companions. And I believe that is the best way the vp is considering it and why she’s placing a precedence on doing her half to restore these ties.”

This week, Harris took half in Mr. Biden’s first bilateral assembly with Trudeau.

These near Harris say she’s additionally proven a deep curiosity in and information of applied sciences coping with 5G and broadband entry, which isn’t stunning in mild of her Northern California origins. Some international well being points that particularly resonate with Harris, along with addressing the pandemic, are maternal well being, youngsters’s well being and meals and water insecurity.

When he was vp, Mr. Biden got here into the job with a long time of international coverage expertise, having served as a longtime member and Chairman of the Senate Overseas Relations Committee. President Obama assigned a number of areas and territories to Mr. Biden, together with Iraq. Aides to Harris say she has not obtained a particular area to supervise but, because the administration’s high concern is controlling the pandemic.

“Over time, with each president and vp, relationships evolve and priorities emerge. And so I believe that that may probably happen,” a White Home aide mentioned, including, “proper now, we’ve got these precedence agenda gadgets which can be working throughout the board. And the primary one is rebuilding our alliances.”

Neither Harris nor the president are scheduled to make any international journeys throughout the first six months of the administration.

What does Harris deliver to the desk — particularly with a president with this a lot international coverage expertise? Sources near Harris and consultants say her latest historical past within the Senate shall be pivotal, particularly her expertise on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

“The Senate Intelligence Committee has earned a fame for being one of the severe and bipartisan on Capitol Hill. We do most of our work quietly, and behind closed doorways, then-Senator Harris was no exception to that rule,” Chairman Mark Warner, a detailed pal of Harris, informed CBS Information in a press release.

“She impressed each Democrats and Republicans alike along with her sharp questioning, deal with nationwide safety, and a focus to element, and she or he was in a position to work productively with Republicans on vital, politically fraught points like election safety,” Warner mentioned. “Her 4 years on the Committee undoubtedly present her with a complicated and considerate understanding of essentially the most urgent international coverage and nationwide safety points going through this nation proper now, and I anticipate the nation will see that clearly over the following 4.”

Virtually daily, Harris sits within the Oval Workplace with the president to obtain the President’s Each day Temporary. Lindsay Gorman, a Fellow for Rising Applied sciences on the Alliance for Securing Democracy, says that Harris’ service on the Senate Intelligence Committee affords a “perspective on the intersection of expertise and nationwide safety at a time when these two areas are critically entwined.”

“Know-how is on the coronary heart of geopolitical competitors with China and international authoritarianism,” Gorman mentioned. “Whoever succeeds in constructing the applied sciences of the long run will write the principles for his or her use. And that has very important nationwide safety and international coverage implications in a manner that was not clear 10 years in the past.”

Jon Alterman, senior vp of the Middle for Strategic & Worldwide Research, believes that Harris’ contemporary method to international coverage may help add a brand new perspective to stability Mr. Biden’s a long time of expertise.

“A part of each the problem and the chance is that the president has plenty of the apparent bases coated,” Alterman mentioned. “However there’s additionally a way that the previous methods of doing issues will not service in addition to they should and we’ve got to do issues in several methods.”

Although the president has been in workplace for almost a month, many in Washington are already looking forward to 2024, nervous about who may head a Democratic ticket if Mr. Biden, who can be 82 years previous, had been to determine to not run once more.  Some see Mr. Biden’s method of together with Harris in features of international coverage as a manner of mentoring her for the very best workplace within the land.

“The president goes to basically open up alternatives or reduce off avenues for the vp to both achieve or wield energy when it comes to how the president perceives that particular person,” mentioned Dr. Lara Brown, director and affiliate professor at The George Washington College Graduate Faculty of Political Administration. “It’s extremely clear to me that President Biden doesn’t see Vice President Harris as a competitor and as an alternative is taking a look at how he can each delegate to her and mentor her into each a international coverage function and a senior government function.”

The duty for Harris shall be pointing to an accomplishment on the worldwide stage if she’s to turn out to be the face of the Democratic Occasion in upcoming elections.

A former Democratic Senate aide famous, “To win an election for president, she’s going to should display — if not talent, then at the least a excessive stage of confidence within the nationwide safety discipline — which is partly about getting stuff achieved, and it is partly about not making errors.”

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