Trump nominates U.Va. Law School alumna to serve as next U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security

Kirstjen Nielsen graduated from U.Va. in 1999

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President Donald Trump has nominated Class of 1999 Law School alumna Kirstjen Nielsen to serve as the next U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security. 

Courtesy The White House

Kirstjen Nielsen, a 1999 graduate of the University’s School of Law, will be the next secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, pending confirmation from the U.S. Senate. Nielsen currently serves as the principal deputy chief of staff in the White House. 

President Donald Trump announced his nomination Thursday at the White House, stating that “her wisdom and her leadership” has allowed her to win the “universal respect” of the “entire Cabinet and senior White House staff.”

“During [current White House Chief of Staff and former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security] John Kelly's time at DHS, right by his side was Kirstjen, the chief of staff for the department,” Trump said. “He would be the first to tell you that she was critical to his success. There, she quickly reinforced a sterling reputation as a dedicated leader whose number-one priority is always the safety and security of our country and our citizens, not politics or ideology. That sets her apart.”

Nielsen said if she is confirmed, it will be “the highest honor” of her life.

“If confirmed as the sixth Secretary of Homeland Security, I will work every day to enforce the law, secure our borders, our coasts and our waterways and to protect Americans from dangerous criminals, terrorists, cyberattacks and all the other threats facing our homeland today,” Nielsen said.

The DHS  was created following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001.

Nielsen, who is a cybersecurity expert, is the second University Law School graduate to lead the department, following Class of 1983 alumna Janet Napolitano, who served from 2009 to 2013. Nielsen is the first nominee to have previously worked in the DHS, having served in both the Trump and President George W. Bush’s administration.

Nielsen holds a bachelor’s degree from the Georgetown School of Foreign Service. She has previously served on the Global Risks Report Advisory Board of the World Economic Forum, and she is a senior fellow at the Center for Cyber and Homeland Security and the founder and former president of Sunesis Consulting. 

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