Updated 01/16 21:00 EST
Janet Napolitano completed her confirmation before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Thursday without any real challenges, garnering praise and vows of support from every member of the committee, including both Republican members. Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) said that he will move to have Napolitano confirmed by the full Senate as soon as possible after President-elect Obama’s inauguration next week, and said that seating Napolitano was “as important as seating the secretary of defense to the security of our country.”
When asked what her top priorities for DHS are, Napolitano gave three:
- Create a unified vision and culture for the department.
- Give the departments people and offices the sense that it’s a single agency rather than an agglomeration of organizations.
- Bring together the “best and brightest” personnel.
- She also touched on DHS’ low morale, and said she wanted to create “real career paths” that will allow people to rise in the ranks.
- “Complete the work of the transition.”
- Basically, complete the hand-offs, and get people up-to-speed and down to business quickly.
Some other areas emphasized during her testimony included interoperability, border security and immigration, and FEMA’s relationship with DHS. She also said she was committed to ensuring that DHS communicate better with the public.
Regarding FEMA, both Lieberman and Susan Collins (R-ME), the ranking Republican member of the committee, urged Napolitano not to reorganize DHS and not to remove FEMA from DHS. Napolitano hasn’t publicly taken a position on FEMA’s relationship wtih DHS, but she has reportedly been asking members of Congress for their views on it, and she pledged to actively study it.
Summary: She’ll get confirmed easily, possibly as early as January 21st. She appears to have a good working relationship with the member of the committee, which may enable her to be more effective, at least as long as the honeymoon lasts. Expect interoperability and border security to get increased focus and resources, and expect some changes in immigration enforcement.
- HSToday: Napolitano Sails Through Confirmation Hearing
- HSToday: Impressions of Napolitano
- Transcript: Napolitano’s opening statement at the hearing
Filed under: Confirmations, Congress, DHS, Senate | Tagged: border, FEMA, immigration, interoperability, Janet Napolitano, Joe Lieberman, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Susan Collins, transition | 2 Comments »