Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

February 10, 2009

Dep Sec Schneider Departs, Few Arrive

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Jonah Czerwinski on February 10, 2009

Today, Secretary Napolitano named her counselor and DHS transition chief to serve as acting Deputy Secretary. Rand Beers takes over for the outgoing Paul Schneider. Mr. Schneider oversaw a significant improvement in the unglamorous, but inordinately important management initiatives after his more political predecessor departed. Schneider is credited with elevating accountability and management professionalism to the young DHS. While I have confidence in his successor, Jane Holl Lute, he leaves big shoes to fill.

It is surprising that Schneider left before Lute’s nomination hearing is even scheduled. But I think it is more surprising how few appointees have been named so far for this massive agency. DHS has about 300 political appointee slots, and Secretary Napolitano has named only nine since being sworn in as the third Secretary of Homeland Security on January 21, 2009. The nine are:

• Rand Beers as Counselor, and now Acting Deputy Secretary

Jane Holl Lute at Deputy Secretary

• Dora Schriro* as her Special Advisor on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Detention & Removal

• Ivan K. Fong as General Counsel

• David A. Martin, Principal Deputy General Counsel

• Brian de Vallance* is Senior Counselor to the Secretary

• Sean Smith as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs

• Jan Lesher* as chief of staff for operations

• Noah Kroloff* as chief of staff for policy

Those with asterisks came with Napolitano from Arizona. The others are a combination of campaign hands and policy experts from Washington. It is possible that Napolitano is waiting for the seven directives she issued to conduct policy reviews across the Department. However, shouldn’t the appointees get involved with the reviews?

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Comment by Arnold

February 10, 2009 @ 11:22 pm

There are a great number of appointees across all the agencies, including DOD and State, that haven’t made it to confirmation yet. I wouldn’t read too much into the lack of movement on the DHS front yet.

Comment by Claire Rubin

February 11, 2009 @ 7:08 am

Congrats to you for a job well done.

Comment by Peter J. Brown

February 11, 2009 @ 11:46 am

Do we know who is replacing Paul McHale as assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense?

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 11, 2009 @ 12:39 pm

Well we know that the President read Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book “Team of Rivals.” And many rivalries already in Cabinet. And otherwise. Volcker and Summers are not old friends, e.g. One of the key tell-tails in the power structure of Washington in any Administration and during that Adminstration’s existence is whether Executive Branch heads have the right to pick or reject who is appointed by the White House in their organizations. Often overlooked and actually in the second Clinton Administration, despite being named Ex Officio member of the Cabinet, James Lee Witt was only the second FEMA Director while an independent agency that had total approval over the appointees that he let into FEMA. Names from White House Personnel were often rejected. Witt was aware that of the 10 FEMA regional director slots, all non-career SES, over the years almost 50% had been removed for fraud, waste, abuse (mismanagement) and were a week rung in the FEMA heirarchy. Of course even Witt refused to delegate adequate authority and accountability to that rung of the ladder. An issue still unresolved in spite of statutory mandates to Secreatry DHS to come up with field structure. A major failure of both Ridge and Chertoff.

What is the point here! Well does the Secretary DHS get to approve or reject any appointee, whether PAS, Non-career SES, or schedule C that the White House Personnel office sends over? The answer will indicate what her real power is in the Administration. You can bet that the Secretary of STATE and Secreatary of the
Treasury know even before nomination whether they will have such counterpart clearance authority. Wishing you well Madam Secretary DHS.

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