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National Defense > Blog > Posts > Thad Allen Tight-Lipped About Possible DHS Secretary Appointment
Thad Allen Tight-Lipped About Possible DHS Secretary Appointment
By Stew Magnuson and Yasmin Tadjdeh
 


Former Coast Guard Commandant retired Adm. Thad Allen in a public appearance Sept. 25 declined to make a comment about his possible nomination as Department of Homeland Security secretary.
 
"I refer those questions to the White House," Allen said at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce cyber-security event in Washington, D.C.
 
Ann M. Beauchesne, vice president of the national security and emergency preparedness department at the Chamber of Commerce, previously said “I know the rumor mill has you as the DHS secretary. I know it's a rumor, but if you did want that, I think you'd have our support, sir.”
 
Former DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano announced July 15 that she would be leaving the high-profile cabinet position. She vacated the position earlier this month. As the Obama administration enters its 73rd day without naming a replacement, there is growing speculation in Washington over who will be tapped to fill the vacancy.
 
Allen’s name has been mentioned as a possible replacement. As the former Coast Guard commandant, he would be the first secretary to have come up through the ranks of one of its 22 agencies. His work — after stepping down as commandant — as the incident commander during the BP oil spill in 2010  was highly regarded. He is now an executive vice president at Booz Allen in its justice and homeland security division.
 
Acting Secretary Rand Beers, who was confirmed by the Senate previously as undersecretary for National Protection and Programs, was Napolitano’s deputy when she left the office Sept. 6. DHS now has a raft of unfilled leadership positions.
 
The following are either vacant or headed by “acting” leaders: deputy secretary; the secretary’s chief of staff, executive secretariat and general counsel; under secretary of the National Protection and Programs Directorate; assistant secretary of the office of cybersecurity and communications; the office of intelligence and analysis; the inspector general; assistant secretary of the office of legislative affairs; director of Domestic Nuclear Detection Office; chief medical officer; chief privacy officer; Customs and Border Protection commissioner;  and the director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
 
As for CBP, Thomas Winkowski took over the role of acting commissioner in August after that position was vacant for a number of months. He is the latest in a line of acting commissioners who has led the 60,000-member agency since the end of 2011 when Alan Bersin, a recess appointment, left the job.

Photo Credit: U.S. Chamber of Commerce

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