On October 12, 2017, President Donald Trump announced the nomination of Kirstjen Nielsen for the position of Secretary of Homeland Security. Ms. Nielsen is currently the White House principal deputy chief of staff. She was John Kelly’s deputy when he served as President Trump’s first Secretary of Homeland Security, and came with Mr. Kelly to the White House when he became President Trump’s chief of staff.
According to a White House statement, Ms. Nielsen has experience in the areas of homeland security policy and strategy, cybersecurity, critical infrastructure, and emergency management. She is the first nominee for this position to have previously worked within the Department of Homeland Security, having served there in two administrations, first as senior legislative policy director for Transportation and Security Administration under President George W. Bush and then as Department of Homeland Security chief of staff under President Trump. Before joining the Trump administration, Ms. Nielsen founded a risk and security management consulting firm. She previously served as Special Assistant to the President and senior director for prevention, preparedness, and response on the White House Homeland Security Council under President George W. Bush, in addition to serving as a corporate attorney and as a congressional staff member.
Elaine Duke has been serving as acting Secretary of Homeland Security since April 2017.