President Donald Trump is expected to nominate his chief of staff's deputy, Kirstjen Nielsen, as his next secretary of Homeland Security. The Washington Post and Associated Press later published similar reports, as did other outlets.
Nielsen is an expert in homeland and national security policy and strategy, with a focus on critical infrastructure protection, according to her biography on GWU's Center for Cyber & Homeland Security.
Former DHS Secretary Tom Ridge - the first person to ever hold the position, which President George W. Bush created in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks - praised Nielsen in a statement, calling her a "homeland security veteran" who is "extremely well versed" in the threats facing the U.S.
If confirmed, Nielsen would bring extensive cybersecurity background to DHS, which would be a boon for DHS's evolving cybersecurity mission.More news: Honeywell Set to Spin Off 2 Units, but Keep Aerospace Business
Nielsen, 45, now serves as the deputy White House chief of staff.
She moved to the West Wing with Kelly who was appointed in July after former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus was pushed out.
Around that time, two sources familiar with the search for a permanent DHS secretary told ABC News that the effort was back at "square one", though Trump said a decision was coming within a month. Acting secretary Elaine Duke has been leading DHS in the meantime. She also created and managed the office of Legislative Policy and Government Affairs at the Transportation Security Administration.
It's reported that Nielsen's appointment came after Kelly gave her a shining recommendation. People close to her "have counseled her to lighten up and to pay more attention to the perfunctory niceties of a not-so-nice-job", they wrote when she became deputy White House chief of staff.