Burns, currently the president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, previously had a 33-year career in the U.S. Foreign Service. He served as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and Deputy Secretary of State in the Obama administration, after holding positions including U.S. Ambassador to Russia and Jordan.
"Bill Burns is an exemplary diplomat with decades of experience on the world stage keeping our people and our country safe and secure," Biden said in a statement. "He shares my profound belief that intelligence must be apolitical and that the dedicated intelligence professionals serving our nation deserve our gratitude and respect. Ambassador Burns will bring the knowledge, judgment, and perspective we need to prevent and confront threats before they can reach our shores. The American people will sleep soundly with him as our next CIA Director."
FILE – In this May 24, 2011 file photo, William Burns testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on his nomination to be Deputy Secretary of State. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
"A national security expert with decades of experience serving under Democratic and Republican presidents, Ambassador Bill Burns has a deep understanding of the global threats and challenges facing our country," Vice President-elect Kamala Harris said in a statement. "He will lead the CIA with independence and integrity, always honoring our nation’s intelligence professionals. And President-elect Joe Biden and I will work closely with Ambassador Burns — and our entire national security team — to prevent and prevail over any threat against the United States of America."
Burns, who has master’s and doctoral degrees in international relations from Oxford University, released the book "The Back Channel: A Memoir of American Diplomacy and the Case for Its Renewal" in 2019, earning the Douglas Dillon Book Award by the American Academy of Diplomacy. Past commendations include three Presidential Distinguished Service Awards, as well as the Pentagon's and U.S. intelligence community's highest civilian honors.
If confirmed, Burns would replace current CIA Director Gina Haspel, who has held the position since 2018.