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DHS Staffing: A Homeland Who’s Who

Mar 01, 20033 mins
CareersComplianceCritical Infrastructure

The Department of Homeland Security is staffing up. Here's a look at the talent pool.

President Bush is appointing leaders to run the new Homeland Security Department. Included in those appointments are a former congressman and governor, two former presidents of a major military supplier, and a corporate CIO

a diverse mix for a department whose aim is to pull together the technologies of 22 government agencies with 170,000 employees.

The most familiar appointee is Tom Ridge, who has been formally appointed as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Ridge’s background comes primarily from Capitol Hill, where he served six terms in the House of Representatives as a Pennsylvania congressman and governor for the Keystone state from 1995 to 2001.

Spearheading the technological challenges is Steven Cooper, the former CIO of materials pioneer Corning. Cooper has been appointed CIO of Homeland Security. Prior to Corning, Cooper was director of corporate IS for pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly.

Jim Flyzik, former senior adviser to Ridge, previously worked with both Cooper and Ridge, and diplomatically calls them “wise appointments.” According to Flyzik, both Ridge and Cooper will work well with the business and technology communities.

Flyzik admits that differing work culture issues and the diversity of the Bush appointees could initially make things difficult. However, the department will be a merger of many cultures, and a diverse leadership team is necessary. “This is a momentous challenge for everyone, and I think it’s going to take a mix of talent. Things that don’t work well will require some tweaking. It’s going to take years to get the department running smoothly,” Flyzik says.

Rounding out the recent appointments are two former General Dynamics business unit presidents. Gordon England, who also served as the secretary of the Navy, was appointed deputy secretary of DHS, and Charles McQueary was appointed undersecretary of science and technology for Homeland Security. General Dynamics is a leading supplier of defense systems to the United States and its allies; it’s responsible for building jets, warships, tanks and the IS technologies behind military equipment.

Phil Anderson, senior fellow in the international security program for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, thinks the president’s appointments are pretty solid. Anderson says Ridge has the leadership skills needed to pull this department together; England will use his connections with the Department of Defense and the private sector to marry these two powers; Cooper has IT experience that few can rival; and McQueary brings rich private sector experience.

“It’s clear, in the early days of this department and in the next few years, that the key to success is going to rely on leadershipon effective, capable, technically competent leadership…. It would appear that the government is moving in the right direction,” says Anderson.