Brett Daniel Shehadey
Special Contributor for In Homeland Security
After four and half years, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano is leaving the Department to become the President of the University of California (the largest public university system in the nation). Her announcement was made last Friday. She will step down in September 2013.
Forbes ranked her as the 8th of the world’s most powerful woman. She oversaw over 230,000 employees and over a 60 billion dollar budget. Her extreme ambitions led some insiders to assume Napolitano was waiting for Eric Holder to resign first and take his position as Attorney General, according to the Daily Beast’s Daniel Klaidman. She rose from Arizona governor a top counter terror tsar posting. Holder plan’s to continue as Attorney General; possibly until 2014.
A few notables among a long list of potential replacements for Napolitano are: New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, or former Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman. All of this is speculation as the White House has not made a decision.
According to the Associate Press, “nearly one-third of the heads of key agencies and divisions have been filled with acting officials or have remained vacant for months.”
Napolitano’s exit is part of President Obama’s transition and host of new appointments for his second term. In the Senate, Democrats are vying to implement what has been called the “nuclear option” by next week. This would require only 51 senate votes for appointees and not the previous 60 and allow them to effectively select and appoint who they want over the Republican minority.
Not everyone appreciated the job that Napolitano did. Congressman John Mica (R-FL):
“Secretary Napolitano’s departure comes not a minute too soon. Now is a good time for Congress to consider dismantling the monstrous Department of Homeland Security and replacing it with a smaller security-focused entity that is realistically capable of connecting the dots of threats posed to our national security.”