The background of President-elect Barack Obama‘s pick to head the Department of Homeland Security will reveal a lot about how his nascent administration views the future of the troubled agency, according to Washington insiders.
“There are any number of excellently qualified candidates,” P.J. Crowley, director of homeland security at the Center for American Progress, told United Press International. “It will be interesting to see the selection. The skill set will tell us a lot about the future direction [of the department] in an Obama administration.”
Mr. Crowley was a senior national security official under President Clinton, and John Podesta, the head of CAP, is co-chairman of Mr. Obama’s transition team.
Mr. Crowley and other security experts said in interviews that the Homeland Security Department, with the second-largest work force in the federal government, has responsibilities in areas of potentially enormous political significance for the new government – counterterrorism, disaster recovery and immigration.
“That is why the skill set is interesting … you can compare it to the challenges in these … diverse areas,” said Mr. Crowley.
“How do you lead an agency that is still searching for a common identity?” asked Mr. Crowley, adding that the department’s agenda was “still a work in progress.”
By Shaun Waterman, UPI