The American flag flies at half-staff at the White House on March 19, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Washington, DC CNN  — 

Emily Horne, the spokesperson for the National Security Council, will depart her position on March 25, a White House official said, and will be replaced at that time by Adrienne Watson, a longtime Democratic press operative who joined the NSC as a deputy spokesperson late last year.

Horne’s impending departure comes as the Biden administration is grappling with Russia’s ongoing attack on Ukraine, and her tenure included the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and efforts to curb the COVID-19 pandemic. She had initially planned on serving for only the first year of the Biden administration but was asked by White House leadership to extend her time at the NSC in part due to Ukraine, the official said.

Her departure was first reported by the Washington Post.

“Serving the American people as NSC Spokesperson has been the honor of a lifetime. I am profoundly thankful for my colleagues at the White House and across the Biden-Harris Administration, including the dedicated career professionals who are the bedrock of our national security,” Horne said in a statement. “I will also miss working daily with our press corps, whose tireless reporting is essential for the health of our democracy. As I start this next chapter I’m grateful for the opportunity to spend more time with my kindergartner, toddler, and my endlessly patient husband.”

“Emily has been a valued part of the Biden team since the transition. She is a creative, tireless teammate who has been a part of every major NSC initiative, and we are grateful for her service in advancing U.S. national security interests around the world,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement.

Prior to her time at the NSC, Horne served on the Biden transition team, handling the communications efforts for Antony Blinken’s nomination as secretary of state and Lloyd Austin’s nomination as defense secretary. Horne had previously served as a career civil servant with the State Department for nearly a decade, including working as an NSC communications director during the Obama administration. She then had stints at Twitter and the Brookings Institution, a think tank. Her next professional plans were not immediately available.

Watson joined the NSC in November after serving as communications director at the Democratic National Committee.

“I’m extremely grateful to continue to serve the National Security Council and take on this new role. I consider myself lucky to serve with the dedicated staff at the NSC on behalf of the American people,” Watson said.