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O'Brien. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien is elevating Victoria Coates, his senior director for the Middle East and North Africa, to serve as deputy national security adviser, officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: The move — on the same day O'Brien is holding an all-hands meeting with his staff to lay out his approach — formalizes his prioritization of the region just weeks into his tenure as John Bolton's replacement.

  • It also follows Trump's decision to pull U.S. troops out of northern Syria and takes place amid a reduction, or "right-sizing," of the National Security Council staff overall.

Details: Coates' responsibilities will focus on the Middle East and North Africa, a region that includes Syria, Iran, Gulf states, Israel and the Palestinian territories.

  • She will divide responsibilities with Matt Pottinger, the NSC's Asia expert, whom O'Brien elevated last month as deputy national security adviser.
  • Both have served since the start of the Trump administration.
  • The combined moves reflect Trump's focus on China and the Middle East.
  • Coates' elevation makes her one of a few high-ranking women in the administration outside the Cabinet, along with CIA Director Gina Haspel and Energy Undersecretary Lisa Gordon-Hagerty.
  • Coates has previously worked for Donald Rumsfeld, Rick Perry and Ted Cruz. She is also an art historian.

What they're saying: Jared Kushner calls Coates "a great partner" and says they will "continue working closely together."

Go deeper

Tim Scott hopes to reintroduce version of GOP police reform bill

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) told reporters Wednesday he plans to reintroduce his police reform bill or a similar proposal in the coming weeks and that he has discussed a potential compromise with Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.).

Why it matters: Eyes have again turned to Washington to take steps to address police reform in the wake of Derek Chauvin's guilty verdict Tuesday, after efforts stalled in Congress last year.

Biden announces small business tax credits for vaccine PTO

Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden on Wednesday called on all employers to provide workers paid time off to get vaccinated or recover from COVID side effects, and said he'll include a paid tax credit for small businesses that do so.

Why it matters: The Biden administration sees workplaces as highly influential in making shots more convenient for working adults who are in high-risk industries.

White House unveils plans for high-profile climate summit

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Biden administration offered new details this morning about the big, virtual climate summit Thursday and Friday and signaled they expect new emissions reduction and climate finance commitments from multiple countries.

Driving the news: The administration said 40 heads of state would attend, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil.