US President-elect Joe Biden has appointed over 20 Indian-Americans as members to his transition team, with three Indian-Americans elected as team leads to his agency review teams (ARTs).
These teams are responsible for assessing and understanding the operations of key federal agencies in the current administration to ensure a fluid transition of power, and prepare President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, as well as their cabinet, to hit the ground running on Day One.
This is one of the most diverse agency review teams in presidential changeover history, according Biden's transition team. Of the hundreds of ART members, over half are women, and around 40 per cent represent communities that have been historically underrepresented in the federal government, comprising people of colour, those who identify as LGBTQ+, and people with disabilities.
Indian-American Dr Celine Gounder is part of Biden’s COVID-19 advisory board.
Arun Majumdar from the prestigious Stanford University is the team lead for the Department of Energy ART. Rahul Gupta is the team lead for the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Kiran Ahuja has been named Team Lead for the Office of Personnel Management. Puneet Talwar has been named to the Department of State ART. Pav Singh has been named to two ARTs for the National Security Council and Office of Science and Technology.
Similarly, Arun Venkatraman has been named to two ARTs, the Department of Commerce and United States Trade Representative (USTR).
Other prominent Indian Americans named to ARTs are Pravina Raghavan, Atman Trivedi for Department of Commerce and Shital Shah for Department of Education; R Ramesh and Rama Zakaria for the Department of Energy; Subhasri Ramanathan for the Department of Homeland Security; Raj De for Department of Justice; and Seema Nanda and Raj Nayak for Department of Labour.
Reena Aggarwal, and Satyam Khanna have been named to the Federal Reserve, Banking and Securities Regulators ARTs; Bhavya Lal for NASA; Dilpreet Sidhu for National Security Council, Divya Kumaraiah for Office of Management and Budget; Kumar Chandran for Department of Agriculture; and Aneesh Chopra to US Postal Service. Almost all of them are volunteers.
The transition team announced the agency review teams even as outgoing President Donald Trump's administration is yet to formally recognise Biden as the president-elect.
A formal recognition from the General Services Administration is needed to allow transition staff access to federal workers and much of the information they will need.