DHS CHCO to be appointed by department, not president

President Bush signed a bill into law today that will place the Homeland Security Department’s secretary, rather than the president, in charge of appointing DHS’ top human resources official.

The 2002 Homeland Security Act tasked the president with appointing the department’s chief human capital officer. But as Congress has expressed its concerns about continuity at DHS during what will be the department’s first transition to a new administration, lawmakers have pushed for the department to handle that appointment.

For example, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s report on the legislation stated that during the past five years DHS has had seven CHCOs, three of whom served in an acting capacity for an average of two and half months each.

“This turnover highlights the need for the secretary of homeland security to have the authority and flexibility to designate a career DHS CHCO who can remain at DHS beyond the end of any given presidential administration,” the report states.

President Bush appointed Thomas Cairns to be DHS current CHCO in May.

Paul Schneider, DHS’ deputy secretary, has also expressed his support for giving DHS secretary the authority to appoint a career executive as CHCO.

“Having a career civil servant in that job — especially…at this point in time — somebody that could carry over to the next administration would be absolutely essential, I think, to improve national operations [in the] department,” Schneider said during his May confirmation hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

Featured

  • Cybersecurity

    DHS floats 'collective defense' model for cybersecurity

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wants her department to have a more direct role in defending the private sector and critical infrastructure entities from cyberthreats.

  • Defense
    Defense Secretary James Mattis testifies at an April 12 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee.

    Mattis: Cloud deal not tailored for Amazon

    On Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sought to quell "rumors" that the Pentagon's planned single-award cloud acquisition was designed with Amazon Web Services in mind.

  • Census
    shutterstock image

    2020 Census to include citizenship question

    The Department of Commerce is breaking with recent practice and restoring a question about respondent citizenship last used in 1950, despite being urged not to by former Census directors and outside experts.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.