President Trump nominated Kirstjen Nielsen to be the next secretary of the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday.
A national security policy expert, Nielsen currently serves as White House principal deputy chief of staff.
“Ms. Nielsen has extensive professional experience in the areas of homeland security policy and strategy, cybersecurity, critical infrastructure, and emergency management,” read a White House statement regarding the nomination.
If confirmed, Ms. Nielsen would oversee one of the most vast government agencies with responsibilities involving immigration enforcement, the Secret Service, border and airport security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
A graduate of the Georgetown School of Foreign Service, Nielsen earned a J.D. from the University of Virginia Law School.
Following the election of President George W. Bush Nielsen served on the White House Homeland Security Council and was instrumental in the creation of the Transportation Security Administration’s Office of Legislative Policy and Government Affairs. She later led the office.
Nielsen moved to the private sector, joining Civitas Group LLC, where she served as president and general counsel. Nielsen later formed Sunesis Consulting, LLC, a Virginia-based, security firm.
Returning to the White House in 2017, Ms. Nielsen joined then-DHS secretary, John Kelly, and followed Mr. Kelly to the White House after he was appointed to succeed Reince Priebus.
A cabinet-level position, Nielsen is required to undergo confirmation hearings in front of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
Responding to the announcement, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), a ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, issued a statement expressing concern about Nielsen’s Bush administration tenure “during its botched response to Hurricane Katrina”.
Mr. Thompson went on to say he is “fearful that DHS — as well as this President — has not learned all the lessons from that tragedy given what we are seeing unravel in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.”
[The Guardian] [NPR] [Photo courtesy AP via NBC News]