Friday, November 21, 2008

Probable Head of Obama DHS Identified

A number of news sources yesterday identified Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano as the probable appointee for Secretary of DHS in the new administration. Gov Napolitano has experience dealing with border security issues as well as illegal immigration issues because of the problems along the Mexican border. Some commentators acknowledged her experience in that area, but questioned her experience dealing with a terrorist threat. I’ll jump into that game, and complain that without a chemical engineering background she can’t understand chemical security issues. Or, being from a land locked state, she can’t possibly deal the variety of issues that face the Coast Guard. All of those are bogus concerns. Let’s face it. DHS is an agency with such a wide mandate that there is no one that will have experience in dealing with all of the issues facing the agency. What is necessary for a successful Secretary is executive experience over a wide variety of agencies and departments. Say, someone like a governor. Experience with dealing with one of the major issues confronting the Department is a plus. I might as well play another transition guessing game. Lets look at the first picks that have been made for Cabinet level appointments, Attorney General, Health and Human Services and now DHS, not State, Defense, and Treasury as so many had predicted. Does this mean that the country is going to turn inwards and isolationist? Or does it mean that these were easy choices, being of little consequence? Or does it mean that these three picks are insiders with close ties to the campaign and/or Obama? Or does it mean that the spin jockeys in the transition team are first looking to get the ‘firsts’, first black AG, first woman DHS Secretary, out of the way so serious decisions can be made? On the other hand, maybe we just ought to give the President-Elect a break and let him put his team together in peace. That would be a significant change.

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