DHS to lose Verdery

Another high-ranking official announced he is leaving the Homeland Security Department in March.

Department officials announced that Stewart Verdery, the first assistant secretary for border and transportation security policy and planning, is resigning his post effective March 4. His departure is the latest in a string of resignations that includes Verdery's boss, Asa Hutchinson, who is undersecretary of the Border and Transportation Security Directorate. Hutchinson said he will resign March 1.

Verdery "championed policy development in substantive areas under border and transportation security. He served as a familiar DHS representative before Congress, private-sector bodies, as well as on official government policy review boards and working groups," Adm. James Loy, acting DHS secretary, said in a statement.

Loy, who was deputy secretary and is also leaving in March, is temporarily heading the department while President Bush's nominee, Michael Chertoff, is confirmed by the Senate. The prevailing wisdom indicates Chertoff, a federal appeals court judge, is likely to be approved.

Verdery is responsible for creation, evaluation and promotion of major policy initiatives, including the nation's entry/exit system called the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) program, airline passenger screening, cargo and container security, and visa security.

He has also chaired or served on several committees, including the Data Management Improvement Act Task Force, US-VISIT Advisory Committee, and the Customs and Border Protection Modernization Executive Steering Committee. Other top officials who have left the department include former Secretary Tom Ridge, Gen. Frank Libutti and Robert Liscouski. Libutti and Liscouski were top officials in the Infrastructure Protection and Information Analysis Directorate.

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