Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano is reported to be President-elect Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Homeland Security. An early supporter of Obama’s, Napolitano is a considered to be a champion of law-enforcement and border security. Her focus on managing illegal immigration across Arizona’s southern border prioritized eliminating facilitators and enablers of illegal border crossings, rather than on incarceration and raids (although these were still used). Governor Napolitano shepherded Arizona’s first homeland security strategy and established the Arizona Counter-Terrorism Information Center, a 24/7 inter-agency fusion center.
According to DemocraticGovernors.org, Governor Napolitano has secured more than $100 million in homeland security funds for Arizona. This year, the Arizona Department of Homeland Security announced a 36 percent increase in federal funding for border security operations. DHS awarded $9.85 million dollars to Pima, Santa Cruz, Yuma, and Cochise counties for efforts related to Operation Stonegarden.
Arizona’s Operation Stonegarden grant began in 2006 when the state was awarded $7.2 million in DHS funds. According to Arizona’s Department of Homeland Security, the state’s homeland security projects align with eight national priorities identified by DHS:
1. Implement the National Incident Management System and National Response Plan (NRP)
2. Expand Regional Collaboration
3. Implement the Interim National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP)
4. Strengthen Information Sharing and Collaboration Capabilities
5. Strengthen Interoperable Communications Capabilities
6. Strengthen CBRNE Detection, Response and Decontamination Capabilities
7. Strengthen Medical Surge and mass Prophylaxis Capabilities
8. Strengthen planning and citizen preparedness capabilities
Arizona’s homeland security strategy includes the following five priorities:
• Enhance Arizona’s information sharing and systems to expand and maintain assessment and detection capabilities
• Further enhance prevention and regional collaboration in sustaining homeland security programs
• Bolster border security by strengthening partnerships with federal, state, tribal, local and international stakeholders
• Bolster emergency preparedness, response and recovery planning capabilities while protecting first responders
• Support national strategy for homeland security and National Preparedness Goal
Did I mention that she’s also a Wahoo? Gov. Napolitano earned her JD at UVA.
DHS issued this statement on December 1, 2008, the day President-elect Obama publicly announced Gov. Napolitano as his pick for DHS:
I have had the good fortune of knowing and working with Governor Janet Napolitano for years, going back to our days as prosecutors. She has a tremendous intellect and possesses the leadership and sound judgment needed to make the difficult decisions that this job presents.
The men and women of this department have been keenly focused for more than a year on facilitating a smooth transition for the incoming leadership team. Janet is an excellent choice for Secretary of Homeland Security, and I look forward to working with her as she prepares for this awesome responsibility.