Deputy White House chief of staff Kirstjen Nielsen has been confirmed by the Senate to oversee the Department of Homeland Security.
Nielsen will replace John F. Kelly, who left in July to become the White House chief of staff. Nielsen served as Kelly’s chief of staff at the Homeland Security Department.
Elaine C. Duke, a deputy Homeland Security secretary, has served as the acting secretary in the interim. She said: “Congratulations to Kirstjen Nielsen on becoming the sixth Secretary of Homeland Security. Ms. Nielsen is a homeland security expert with a deep understanding of the issues facing the Department and is well-positioned to lead us into the future. It has been an honor to serve as the Department’s Acting Secretary, and I look forward to working alongside Ms. Nielsen as her deputy as we continue to carry out the DHS mission of safeguarding the American people, our homeland, and our values.”
U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow issued the following statement: “Sec. Nielsen is a highly qualified leader who understands the importance of blending enhanced security policies with the message that America is open for business. Her previous work on aviation security, international engagement and cybersecurity gives us confidence that she will advance smart travel policies that do not deter legitimate international visitors. The U.S. travel community looks forward to working with Sec. Nielsen to implement effective measures to protect our country’s citizens, while ensuring that our country remains as open and welcome as ever to travelers worldwide.”
As homeland security secretary, Nielsen will be responsible for carrying out the Trump administration’s efforts to reduce immigration. She will also be responsible for aviation security, domestic counterterrorism and preparations for natural and manmade disasters.