The U.S. Senate yesterday confirmed Kirstjen Nielsen as the next secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), succeeding John Kelly, who departed the agency at the end of July to become White House chief of staff. Nielsen served as Kelly’s chief of staff at DHS before moving with him over to the White House to become principal deputy chief of staff. She was among the team that originally set up the Transportation Security Administration.
Citing a substantial background in security issues, NBAA welcomed Nielsen to her new role, saying the association looks forward to working with her. NBAA noted that she played an instrumental role in shaping the framework for a number of TSA initiatives, including those related to aviation. Also during the George W. Bush administration, she helped coordinate security policies across a federal interagency as special assistant to the President for prevention preparedness and response on the White House Homeland Security Council. Nielsen further served in the private sector as president of a consulting firm that specialized in security preparedness.
"NBAA has always had a productive and collaborative relationship with the Department of Homeland Security in the development of effective, risk-based policies, which recognize the characteristics that are unique to business aviation operations," said NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen. "Secretary Nielsen has extensive experience in the security arena, including in matters related to aviation, and we look forward to working with her, as we have with her predecessors."