DHSSearch begins for Napolitano’s successor

Published 15 July 2013

DHS is the third-largest federal department, with a budget of $48 billion and a staff of more than 240,000. The names circulating as possible replacements for the departing Janet Napolitano include current and former lawmakers, police chiefs, and people with security experience.

New York City police commissioner Ray Kelly under consideration to replace Janet Napolitano // Source: alriyadh.com

DHS is the third-largest federal department, with a budget of $48 billion and a staff of more than 240,000. The department is home to twenty-two agencies, among them the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the U.S. oast Guard, the Secret Service, and many more.

The Christian Science Monitor reports that Representative Mike McCaul, (R-Texas), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, has a 3-name short list of candidates to replace Janet Napolitano, who will leave her DHS post in early September to lead the University of California university system:

  • Retired Coast Guard commandant Thad Allen
  • New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly
  • William Bratton, who was chief of the police departments in New York, Los Angeles, and Boston.

I think any three of those coming in would gain much respect from House Republicans and could help us at a time when we’re really trying to push this border security measure out of the House of Representatives,” the Republican congressman from Texas said on “Fox News Sunday.”

The Hill reports that several other names are in the mix:

  • Richard Clarke, a security and terrorism expert who has worked in Republican and Democratic administrations going back to Ronald Reagan
  • James Witt, former President Bill Clinton’s head of FEMA, who was recruited by former Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco to lead the state’s reconstruction efforts after Hurricane Katrina
  • Former U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, who chaired the Senate Homeland Security Committee
  • Representative Mike Rogers (R-Michigan), a former FBI agent who now chairs the House Intelligence Committee.

“It’s a demanding job,” Lieberman told Politico. “It requires very good communication skills and political skills related to Congress, but it also requires management skills because it’s a big department.

“Janet brought it a long way in melding it into the motto of ‘one DHS,’” he added.

Politico notes that the most likely choice may well be similar to Napolitano and Tom Ridge, George W. Bush’s first DHS secretary: governors with backgrounds in law enforcement, Politico reports.

Some perennial critics of DHS say that Napolitano’s departure should be an occasion to abolish the department.

“Secretary Napolitano’s departure comes not a minute too soon,” Representative John Mica (R-Florida) said in a statement. “Now is a good time for Congress to consider dismantling the monstrous Department of Homeland Security and replacing it with a smaller security-focused entity that is realistically capable of connecting the dots of threats posed to our national security,” he said.