Critical leadership positions within the Department of Homeland Security are vacant and until the President acts to fill vital positions, Congressman John Carter, Chairman of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee says he will not approve any administration requests to transfer funds within the DHS budget.
On July 26, Chairman Carter sent Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano a letter in response to several requests by DHS for approval to reprogram appropriations. Chairman Carter told Secretary Napolitano that he is denying the requests until DHS submits a clear plan to address the vacancies in the major leadership positions across DHS.
"The priorities of the Obama Administration are misguided. There are at least 14 key leadership positions that need to be filled as soon as possible," said Chairman Carter. "Why are the President and Secretary Napolitano dragging their feet to fill positions that will help ensure our homeland is protected?"
Those critical leadership vacancies include: the Deputy Secretary, the General Counsel, the Undersecretary for Intelligence and Analysis/Chief Intelligence Officer, the Chief Information Officer, the Chief Privacy Officer, the Inspector General, the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Assistant Secretary of Cybersecurity and Communications, the Chief Medical Officer, the Director of Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Officer, Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs, and the potential vacancy of Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that may emerge.
"This denial is to force the Administration to get these leadership positions filled within DHS before they worry about moving money around for programs that aren't immediately necessary" said Chairman Carter. "The Department of Homeland Security's mission is to keep to the American people safe and having so many leadership vacancies weakens their ability to do that."
Chairman Carter also noted the significance of top vacancies in top position within ICE and USCIS and the central role these agencies will play in immigration reform.
"I am determined to motivate this Administration to fill critical leadership vacancies and will not approve the requested reprogramming until I am assured that qualified leaders will be in place at our essential security agencies."
Ranking Member of the Subcommittee, Representative David Price (D-N.C.4) also supports Chairman Carter's denial.