The White House announced today that Francis Fragos Townsend, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, resigned.Â She served as head of the President’s Homeland Security Council for the last nearly five years and oversaw the development of the recent update to the National Strategy for Homeland Security, the lessons learned report on the federal response to Hurricane Katrina, and the fires on the west coast.Â
No word yet on who will replace Ms. Townsend.Â Her recently appointed deputy, Joel Bagnal, stepped in for former Deputy HLS Advisor Ken Rapuano after he deployed for a tour in Afghanistan.Â Will Mr. Bagnal step in for Townsend?The President reportedly asked all senior political appointees nearly a year ago to decide promptly if they’ll stay until the end of his term.Â If not, they were to step down soon toÂ be replaced.Â Every President faces an exodus near the end of the second term, and that makes the request sensible.Â That Townsend is leaving now — and without an immediate
replacement — prompts questions about that wing of the White House.Â Who fills that job takes up a great task of shepherding a homeland security mission during very difficult times, and does so by inheriting a new strategy
he or she may or may not have had a hand in writing.Â Given these circumstances, expect an insider like Bagnal to be named.Â
I sure could be wrong on Townsend’s replacement.Â Readers are encouraged to comment on who they think will be the new Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism.