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?