Tampa Bay Times - - Nation & World -

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump in­tro­duced his pick to lead the Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity on Thurs­day, for­mally nom­i­nat­ing White House staffer and cy­ber­se­cu­rity ex­pert Kirst­jen Nielsen.

“I share the pres­i­dent’s pro­found com­mit­ment to the se­cu­rity of our coun­try,” she said at a brief White House cer­e­mony. “Truly, there is noth­ing more valu­able than to feel se­cure in your home­land.”

Nielsen was the fa­vorite of White House chief of staff John Kelly, and her nom­i­na­tion is another sign of the for­mer Ma­rine Corps gen­eral’s ef­fort to im­pose a more con­ven­tional, pro­fes­sional man­age­ment regime on an ad­min­is­tra­tion with a rep­u­ta­tion for dis­or­der.

Nielsen was Kelly’s chief of staff when he was Home­land Se­cu­rity sec­re­tary, and Kelly later brought her into the same role at the White House, where some staffers came to see her as the for­mer gen­eral’s dreaded en­forcer.

If con­firmed by the Se­nate, Nielsen would re­place Act­ing DHS Sec­re­tary Elaine Duke, who was widely crit­i­cized for char­ac­ter­iz­ing the fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s re­sponse to Hur­ri­cane Maria in Puerto Rico as “a good news story.”

Nielsen, 45, is the first nom­i­nee to have pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence at DHS. As a young at­tor­ney she drafted leg­is­la­tion and pol­icy at the Trans­porta­tion Se­cu­rity Ad­min­is­tra­tion, then served as a spe­cial ad­viser for emer­gency pre­pared­ness and dis­as­ter man­age­ment un­der Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush.

Kirst­jen Nielsen

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