Secretary Napolitano has appointed Juliette Kayyem as Assistant Secretary of Intergovernmental Programs. Since 2007 Ms. Kayyem has served as Undersecretary of Homeland Security in the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.
Prior to this role Ms. Kayyem was with Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government where she focused on the intersection of democracy and counter-terrorism policies. At the Kennedy school she taught courses on law, homeland security, and national security. She is a 1995 graduate of Harvard Law School and served in the Department of Justice during the Clinton administration.
The intergovernmental role at DHS is crucial. It can be – needs to be – an effective broker for communication and collaboration between the Department and non-federal Homeland Security assets. Because the Assistant Secretary’s office does not wield budgetary or supervisory authority its effectiveness depends on the perceived relationship of the occupant to the Secretary and other senior officials.
I don’t pretend to know the personal dynamics between Napolitano and Kayyem. But here are two soft-signals:
1. In what may be the most lawyerly administration since William Howard Taft, Janet and Juliette are each lawyers. Those who claim to know Janet consistently comment on her prosecutorial perspective. Juliette is a lawyer married to a lawyer. Like minds with a shared mission can make a powerful team.
2. Juliette was on the transition’s Agency Review Team for DHS. As such, she was – we can hope – involved in the vetting and preparation of Janet. For the sake of productive intergovernmental relations and achievement of the HS mission we can also hope they got on famously and will continue to do so.
Administrative Note: Technical difficulties on the part of the host for HLSwatch have delayed and continue to complicate today’s posts.