Trump To Nominate John Kelly Deputy As Next DHS Chief

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The White House will nominate Kirstjen Nielsen to head the Department of Homeland Security, a senior USA government official confirmed to FedScoop.

Nielsen went to work at the White House in September, after Trump named Kelly, then DHS Secretary, as his chief of staff. Neither the White House nor Nielsen responded to requests for comment, however, and sources cautioned against jumping to conclusions.

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But Nielsen had one crucial advantage - the absolute trust and support of Kelly, who she grew close to after volunteering to help "sherpa" him through the confirmation process earlier this year. Now, with Kelly's urging, President Trump will nominate Nielsen to head DHS, which has been run by acting director Elaine Duke since Kelly's departure. Prior to that, she worked as president and general counsel for the homeland and national security arm of the Civitas Group, a consulting firm.

Nielsen has developed a reputation as a bit of hard-ass in her short stint working under Kelly. A case challenging some aspects of the president's controversial ban on travelers from certain countries will soon be heard before the Supreme Court.

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She previously served as special assistant to the president for prevention, preparedness and response on the White House Homeland Security Council under President George W. Bush and launched the Offices of Legislative Policy and Government Affairs at the Transportation Security Administration.

Kirstjen Nielsen, left, will be nominated to replace her former boss, John Kelly, as Secretary of Homeland Security.

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