WASHINGTON – U.S. President Donald Trump announced his intention to nominate Robert Story Karem as assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs and Kari Bingen as principal deputy under secretary of defense for intelligence.

Bingen, who has served in several congressional staff positions, is currently the policy director for the House Armed Services Committee. She previously worked as a top space policy analyst for the Aerospace Corporation.

Karem has worked as a Middle East adviser to then-Vice President Dick Cheney, a legislative aide to now-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and a national security adviser to both Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy in the House. He also did a stint with the American Enterprise Institute think tank. In addition, he served as an adviser to the Jeb Bush presidential campaign. 

The choices reflect a growing trend of the Trump team choosing individuals from the Republican establishment, rather than outsiders in line with the president's "Drain the Swamp" motto. They also drew praise from an unexpected sector — a group of former Obama-era defense officials who have become increasingly vocal critics on Twitter of the Trump administration.

Derek Chollet, who from 2012-2015 held the spot for which Karem has been nominated, tweeted: "Not often I say this, but terrific news from Trump Admin," adding that Karem is "smart, savvy, & skilled. Great pick!"

And Loren Dejonge Schulman, a former Defense Department and National Security Council staffer now with the Center for a New American Security, said both Karem and Bingen were "excellent picks."

Aaron Mehta was deputy editor and senior Pentagon correspondent for Defense News, covering policy, strategy and acquisition at the highest levels of the Defense Department and its international partners.

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