Robert G. Kaiser, a veteran Washington Post reporter, foreign correspondent and editor, has been named The Post's new assistant managing editor for national news.

The appointment, effective Monday, was announced to the staff yesterday by Executive Editor Benjamin C. Bradlee and Managing Editor Leonard Downie Jr., in the form of a succinct note taped to Bradlee's office window that said "Kaiser!"

Kaiser succeeds C. Shelby Coffey III, who resigned last month to become editor of U.S. News & World Report.

Kaiser, who will be 42 Sunday, has spent his entire professional life at The Post. A native Washingtonian who delivered The Post in 1954, he is a graduate of Yale University and the London School of Economics.

He came to The Post as an intern in 1963, and worked part-time in its London bureau from 1964-66 while earning a master's degree. His first full-time assignment, 1967-68, was covering the District government. He went to Vietnam for the newspaper in 1969-70; was its Moscow correspondent 1971-74; covered labor, politics, the Senate and Office of Management and Budget as a national reporter from 1975 to 1982, and since then has been an associate editor of the newspaper and editor of the Outlook section.

While a visiting professor at Duke University, upon his return from Moscow, he wrote: "Russia, The People and The Power." With his wife, Hannah Jopling Kaiser, he wrote "Russia from The Inside," and with Jon Lowell wrote "Great American Dreams," profiles of the American middle class.

He, his wife and their two daughters live in the District.