Secretary of State John Kerry has appointed James Dobbins to be the new Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Dobbins will leave the RAND Corporation, where he is Director, International Security and Defense Policy Center, RAND National Defense Research Institute.
Dobbins has had held several State Department and Defense Department positions in both the Clinton Administration and Bush Administration.
Past commentary by Dobbins can be found here. Past publications by Dobbins can be found here, including a primer on Afghan peace talks.
In other related RAND news, the think tank recently announced several changes to its Board of Trustees. Karen Elliott House, former publisher of The Wall Street Journal, has been elected Chairman of the Board. House previously was Vice Chairman of the RAND Board. Richard Danzig, former US Secretary of the Navy, was elected to succeed House as Vice Chairman of RAND's Board.
Kenneth Feinberg and Ambassador Philip Lader, founder of the Renaissance Weekends, were also elected to RAND's Board.
RAND Corp. was recently ranked as the 9th best think tank in the world by the annual University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings. It was also ranked as the 5th best think tank in the US, and the world's 7th best security and international affairs think tank.
Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post of Obama Administration officials who have left the Administration to join think tanks. It also mentions those in think tanks who are now entering the Obama Administration.