New Home­land chief fa­mil­iar face in D.C.

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By El­liot Sp­a­gat

SAN DIEGO» Elaine Duke, set to be­come act­ing U.S. home­land sec­re­tary on Mon­day, has the rare dis­tinc­tion of serv­ing in high­level po­si­tions in three ad­min­is­tra­tions.

She was DHS un­der­sec­re­tary for man­age­ment from 2008 to 2010, tapped by Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush and kept on by Pres­i­dent Barack Obama.

Af­ter she headed her own busi­ness con­sult­ing firm in the Wash­ing­ton area for seven years, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump nom­i­nated her to re­turn to govern­ment as deputy sec­re­tary and the Se­nate ap­proved her ap­point­ment 85-14 with­out a hitch.

Home­land Se­cu­rity Sec­re­tary John Kelly, who was named Trump’s chief of staff on Fri­day, said at a con­fer­ence last week that Duke was “a won­der­ful woman” with deep ex­pe­ri­ence in govern­ment.

He said her big­gest as­sign­ment as the sprawl­ing de­part­ment’s No. 2 of­fi­cial was to bring more ef­fi­ciency.

Duke will man­age an an­nual bud­get of more than $40 bil­lion and 240,000 em­ploy­ees.

Cre­ated in 2003 in the af­ter­math of the ter­ror strikes on the World Trade Cen­ter and Pen­tagon, Home­land Se­cu­rity com­prises more than 20 agen­cies, from the Coast Guard and Se­cret Ser­vice to the Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency and Im­mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms En­force­ment. Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion is the na­tion’s largest law en­force­ment agency with 60,000 em­ploy­ees.

Her po­si­tions and back­ground have largely kept her out of the spot­light on some of the de­part­ment’s most po­lit­i­cally charged as­sign­ments, like de­port­ing peo­ple in the coun­try il­le­gally and de­cid­ing who en­ters the coun­try by air, land and sea.

“She is a very ex­pe­ri­enced per­son when it comes to all as­pects of man­age­ment in the fed­eral govern­ment,” Michael Chertoff, Home­land Se­cu­rity sec­re­tary dur­ing the fi­nal years of the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion, said Fri­day night.

“In terms of abil­ity to un­der­stand all man­age­ment el­e­ments in the de­part­ment, you couldn’t find a bet­ter per­son.”

Duke be­gan her govern­ment ca­reer 28 years ago as an Air Force con­tract­ing of­fi­cer and worked in the Navy, the Fed­eral Rail­road Ad­min­is­tra­tion and the Smith­so­nian In­sti­tu­tion be­fore join­ing Home­land Se­cu­rity in 2008.

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