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Archive for January 26th, 2009

Sec. Napolitano Exudes Confidence By Keeping Old Hands at Homeland Security

Chris Battle

Chris Battle

By Chris Battle
Security DeBrief

WASHINGTON–Secretary Napolitano has decided to keep a number of DHS non-career employees on board at the Department through an extended transition phase. It’s a wise move, and one that highlights the confidence the former Arizona Governor brings to her role. As Washington Post writer Spencer Hsu points out, Napolitano’s decision runs contrary to typical approaches.
The attempt at continuity is unusual in presidential transitions between parties, which typically lead to wholesale purging of politically appointed personnel. At the Justice Department, for example, almost no Bush holdovers remain beyond Deputy Attorney General Mark R. Filip, who is acting as attorney general pending confirmation of Obama nominee Eric H. Holder Jr., and Filip’s two top aides.
By contrast, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has retained the department’s second-ranking official, Deputy Secretary Paul A. Schneider, and its top border security official, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner W. Ralph Basham, as well as its operations director and the assistant secretaries responsible for policy and private sector coordination. The heads of the Coast Guard and Secret Service, who are not political appointees, and DHS Undersecretary for Management Elaine C. Duke, whose tenure is set by law, also remain.

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