Joel Kaplan was the White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy for U.S. President George W. Bush. The other Deputy Chief was Blake Gottesman, Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations. He took over policy planning from Karl Rove on April 19, 2006, as part of a staff shake-up by Josh Bolten, the White House Chief of Staff.
Prior to his appointment as a White House Deputy Chief of Staff, Kaplan had served as Deputy Director of the Office of Management And Budget (OMB) from August 2003, serving under Josh Bolten in his capacity as Director of the OMB. He had previously been a Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff from the start of the Bush administration up to that point.
Before 2001, Kaplan had worked as a policy advisor on George W. Bush's 2000 Presidential campaign. He had also clerked for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and Judge J. Michael Luttig. Kaplan is a graduate of Harvard University and Harvard Law School, and has served for four years in the United States Marine Corps. He was an active conservative Democrat during the early 1990s.