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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

WASHINGTON – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:

  • Scott Gration, Ambassador to the Republic of Kenya, Department of State
  • Marilyn A. Quagliotti, Deputy Director for Supply Reduction, Office of National Drug Control Policy
  • Henry J. Aaron, Chair, Social Security Advisory Board
  • Ana Margarita "Cha" Guzmán, Member, National Security Education Board
  • Michael Guest, Member, National Security Education Board

President Obama also announced his intent to appoint Todd O. McCracken as a Member of the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations and Cheryl Alston and Daralyn B. Peifer as Members of the Advisory Committee to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.

President Obama said, “I am confident that these outstanding men and women will greatly serve the American people in their new roles and I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come.”

President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:

Scott Gration, Nominee for Ambassador to the Republic of Kenya, Department of State
Major General Scott Gration, USAF (Ret) is currently the U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan.  He was appointed to the position on March 18, 2009. Previously he was at the White House as Special Assistant to the President for Presidential Personnel.  General Gration served in the United States Air Force from 1974 to 2006. After retiring, General Gration served as the CEO of Millennium Villages, an organization dedicated to reducing extreme poverty. He then joined the Safe Water Network where he helped to provide potable water to vulnerable populations in India, Bangladesh, and Ghana.  His staff positions in the Air Force included tours in the Pentagon, NATO, and a White House Fellowship. From June 2004 to October 2006, he served as Director of the Strategy, Plans, and Policy Directorate of United States European Command. In August 2003, he was appointed Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force for International Affairs. From January to June 2003, he commanded Joint Task Force-West during Operation Iraqi Freedom. From 2000-2002, General Gration served at the Pentagon, first as the Joint Staff Deputy Director for Operations and then as Director of Regional Affairs for the Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force for International Affairs. During his early years in the Air Force, General Gration served as an F-5 and F-16 instructor pilot, including a two-year assignment with the Kenyan Air Force. General Gration speaks Swahili and has an M.A. from Georgetown University in National Security Studies and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Rutgers University.

Marilyn A. Quagliotti, Nominee for Deputy Director for Supply Reduction, Office of National Drug Control Policy
Major General Marilyn A. Quagliotti, USA (Ret) is currently a management consultant and executive associate with Durango Group, Inc.  Previously she served as a senior manager for Deloitte Consulting and as Vice Director for the Defense Information Systems Agency, where she acted as Chief Operating Officer. From 1975-2007 General Quagliotti served in the US Army on several assignments throughout the continental United States and South Korea, Germany and Panama. She spent two years as a Brigade Commander in Panama where her unit supported interdiction efforts to stop the flow of illegal drugs into the United States, and she advised the Colombian Army on Command and Control issues related to its efforts to combat illegal drugs.  General Quagliotti is a member of the Technical Advisory Board for Acelsior, Inc. She received a M.S. from the National War College in National Security Strategy and a B.S. from Louisiana State University.

Henry J. Aaron, Nominee for Chair, Social Security Advisory Board
Henry J. Aaron is the Bruce and Virginia MacLaury Senior Fellow in the Brookings Institution Economic Studies Program, which he directed from 1990 through 1996.  Mr. Aaron has previously taught at the University of Maryland and Harvard University.  He served as Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare and chaired the 1979 Advisory Council on Social Security.  He is a member of the Congressional Budget Office Panel of Economic Advisors, the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the advisory committee of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, and the visiting committee of the Harvard Medical and Dental Schools.  He is a member of the board of directors of Abt Associates and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.  Mr. Aaron was a founding member, vice-president, and board chair of the National Academy of Social Insurance. He has been vice-president and member of the executive committee of the American Economic Association, was president of the Association of Public Policy and Management, and has been a member of the boards of directors of the College Retirement Equity Fund and Georgetown University.  He received a B.A. from U.C.L.A in Political Science and Economics and holds an M.A. in Russian Regional Studies and a  Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University.

Ana Margarita "Cha" Guzmán, Nominee for Member, National Security Education Board
Dr. Ana Margarita “Cha” Guzmán is currently the first woman president of Palo Alto College (PAC) in San Antonio, Texas. Prior to assuming her role as President of PAC in 2001, Dr. Guzmán served as a Senior Advisor to Education Secretary Richard Riley during the last year of the Clinton administration.  While at the Department of Education, Dr. Guzmán identified advances in promoting access in education for the Hispanic community. Dr. Guzmán also served as the chair of President Clinton’s White House Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans from 1993 to 2000.  As chair, she was responsible for the development of the following publications: Our Nation on the Fault Line:  Hispanic American Education (1996); Testing Hispanic Students in the United States:  Technical and Policy Issues (1999); and What Works for Latino Youth (2000). Dr. Guzmán has been in educational administration for more than 30 years serving in various capacities at universities, community colleges, and secondary education institutions. A native of Cuba, Dr. Guzmán holds a Doctoral in Education from the University of Houston, an M.A. in Sociology from Texas Southern University, Houston, Texas, and a B.S. in Education from Stout State University.

Michael Guest, Nominee for Member, National Security Education Board
Michael Guest is currently an independent consultant, working in an advisory capacity to the Council for Global Equality and to Deloitte Consulting LLP.  He previously served, for 26 years, as a career Foreign Service officer, retiring in December 2007.  During his last State Department assignment, Mr. Guest was Dean of the Department’s Leadership and Management School. Prior to that, his senior-level State Department duties included service as Ambassador to Romania from 2001 to 2004, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs from 1999 to 2001, Deputy Chief of Mission in Prague, Czech Republic from 1996 to1999, and Deputy Executive Secretary from 1994 to 1996.  Mr. Guest holds a B.A. from Furman University and an M.A. from the University of Virginia.

President Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts:

Todd O. McCracken, Appointee for Member, Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations
Todd McCracken serves as President and CEO of the National Small Business Association (NSBA), directing all activities of the advocacy-oriented association. Mr. McCracken started with the association in 1988 and became president of NSBA in 1997.  Mr. McCracken also oversees the activities of the Small Business Exporters Association, a division of NSBA.  He served on the National Advisory Council of the U.S. Small Business Administration during both the Clinton and Bush Administrations.

Cheryl D. Alston, Appointee for Member, Advisory Committee to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
Cheryl Alston is the Executive Director for the Employees’ Retirement Fund of the City of Dallas, Texas. Ms. Alston began her term as Executive Director in October 2004, and she provides leadership for the defined benefit pension plan for the City of Dallas civilian employees, which has one of the best funded ratios in the nation. In addition to serving as Executive Director for the Fund, she is a member of the Council of Institutional Investors, the National Council of Public Employee Retirement Systems, the Texas Association of Public Employee Retirement Systems and the National Association of Securities Professionals. Ms. Alston is also a Vice-Chair of the Volunteer Center of North Texas and a speaker at multiple industry conferences. She has an M.B.A. in Finance from the Leonard N. Stern School at New York University and an undergraduate degree from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Daralyn B. Peifer, Appointee for Member, Advisory Committee to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
Daralyn B. Peifer is retired from General Mills, Inc. where she was Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Investment Officer. She was responsible for the company’s corporate finance, cash management and risk management activities. In addition, Ms. Peifer oversaw the investment of General Mills’ pension, savings and retiree health assets as well as the performance measurement, accounting, auditing and operations of the retirement plans. Over the course of her tenure, General Mills’ pension plans ranked among the top performing corporate plans in the country. She has over 25 years of capital market experience and is a Chartered Financial Analyst. Ms. Peifer received M.B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Minnesota and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, MN.