APRIL 23, 2021 • WASHINGTON – Today, President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to serve in key national security positions in his Administration.

  • Brenda Sue Fulton, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Department of Defense
  • Christopher Maier, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict, Department of Defense
  • Deborah Rosenblum, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense, Department of Defense
  • Shawn Skelly, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Readiness, Department of Defense
  • Brenda Sue Fulton, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Department of Defense

Brenda S. “Sue” Fulton graduated West Point in 1980, in the first class to admit women. She served as a platoon leader, staff officer, and company commander in Germany before her honorable discharge at the rank of Captain. During a 25-year career in brand management at Fortune 100 companies, she gained expertise in budget management, cross-functional team leadership, and strategic communications. Continuing to mentor West Point cadets and junior officers, Fulton helped found Knights Out and OutServe, both organizations key in the battle to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Fulton founded and led SPARTA to successfully end the transgender ban, while at the same time providing counsel to Army leaders on removing the combat exclusion rule and integrating women in the combat arms. In 2011, President Obama appointed her as the first openly gay member of the West Point Board of Visitors, and she was later elected Chair (twice) with strong bipartisan support. During 8 years on the Board, she successfully advocated for significant increases in admissions of Black, Latino, and women cadets. In 2017, she was appointed to the Board of Visitors of the National Defense University.

Since 2018, Fulton has served NJ under Governor Phil Murphy as Chief Administrator of the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC), an agency of 2,200 employees that generates ~$1.8 billion in annual revenue. During her tenure, she completely transformed and modernized NJ Motor Vehicles systems. In 2012, Fulton and Penny Gnesin were the first same-sex couple to wed in West Point’s Cadet Chapel. In 2019, after 24 years together, Penny died of breast cancer. Fulton continues to live in Asbury Park, NJ.

Christopher Maier, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict, Department of Defense

Christopher P. Maier has served in national security roles across five Presidential Administrations and is currently the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict. In this role, he advises the Secretary of Defense on all special operations, irregular warfare, counterterrorism, and information operations policy issues, and oversees all special operations administrative matters. Maier previously led the Defeat-ISIS Task Force charged with integrating Department of Defense efforts in the campaign to achieve the enduring defeat of ISIS. Maier was appointed as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Combating Terrorism in the Obama-Biden Administration.

Before moving to the Department of Defense, he held a variety of leadership and staff positions at the National Counterterrorism Center, focused on planning and analysis. Maier was detailed from 2009 to 2013 to the National Security Council staff, where he authored the 2011 National Strategy for Counterterrorism. He began his government career as an intelligence analyst on Middle East and Africa issues. He continues to serve as an officer in the Air National Guard. Originally from California, Maier earned degrees from the University of California, Berkeley and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Deborah Rosenblum, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense, Department of Defense

Deborah G. Rosenblum currently serves as the Executive Vice President of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), a non-profit dedicated to transforming global security by driving systemic solutions to nuclear and biological threats. Ms. Rosenblum is part of NTI’s executive leadership team and helps oversee the organization’s threat reduction programs, operations and development as well as co-chairs NTI’s task force on diversity, equity and inclusion. Ms. Rosenblum serves as the President of the Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellowship which is dedicated to developing next generation talent and capacity.

Prior to assuming her position at NTI in 2009, Ms. Rosenblum was a vice president with The Cohen Group, an international consulting firm. She also served as a career civil servant for 12 years in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, including as a member of the Senior Executive Service. Ms. Rosenblum worked in the areas of nuclear forces, counter-proliferation policy, countering narcotics, homeland defense, and peacekeeping operations and support. She also represented the United States in multi-year bilateral negotiations with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea around its nuclear program. Ms. Rosenblum holds a master’s degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Middlebury College. She is fluent in French.

Shawn Skelly, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Readiness, Department of Defense

Shawn Skelly served over twenty years in the U.S. Navy as a Naval Flight Officer flying the S-3 Viking and retired from active duty as a Commander. Her career included multiple carrier deployments, duty as a Fleet Replacement flight instructor, and staff tours attached to the U.S. Second Fleet, United States Pacific Command, and the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory. She worked in industry with ITT Exelis and CACI International supporting Department of Defense offices and programs. Skelly joined the Obama-Biden Administration in 2013 as Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, as Coordinator of the Defense Department’s Warfighter Senior Integration Group. She later served as Director, Office of the Executive Secretariat, U.S. Department of Transportation. President Obama appointed her in 2017 to serve as a Commissioner on the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service, which was established to conduct a review of the military selective service process and consider methods to increase participation in military, national, and public service to address national security and other public service needs of the Nation. The Commission issued its final report to Congress in March 2020. She also served as a member of the Biden-Harris Presidential Transition Defense Agency Review Team.

Skelly is Vice President and Co-Founder of Out in National Security, a member of the Atlantic Council’s LGBTI Advisory Council, and a member of the Service Year Alliance Leadership Council. She received a B.A. in History from the University of South Carolina and a M.A. in National Security and Strategic Studies from the College of Naval Command & Staff, U.S. Naval War College.