At Thursday morning’s Senate committee hearing on the President’s nomination of Jane Holl Lute as Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, Chairman Joseph Lieberman listed his priorities for the months ahead:
- Improve acquisitions management;
- Reduce reliance on contractors;
- Increase attention – and transparency – related to cybersecurity; and
- Ensure southern border security.
The Deputy Secretary is essentially the DHS Chief Operating Officer. While the Secretary can easily be preoccupied as the external face and voice of the Department and administration, the Deputy may have more sustained influence on what the Department does and achieves. The previous Deputy Secretary, Michael P. Jackson, seemed to inspire baldly binary assessments. He was either highly praised as a brilliant and hard-working task master or widely reviled as an inconsistent and interfering micro-manager.
Good luck, Jane.
UPDATE: Perhaps best filed under RumorWatch: Some readers, friends, and others attending yesterday’s hearing have suggested my report is entirely too above-the-fray. I was not at the hearing. But I am reliably told it descended into an unfortunate rehashing of frustrations and concerns regarding the United Nations (where Ms. Lute has been recently engaged). Further, Ms. Lute gave the orthodox non-answer to the whither-goest-FEMA question. Many of those writing consider the hearing a lost-opportunity for serious dialogue on key policy and strategy issues. Which prompts me to again offer: good luck, Jane. The Chairman’s list is substantive and gives all of us – including Ms. Lute – a helpful signal of the Committee’s priorities in weeks ahead.