US President Donald Trump nominated Kirstjen Nielsen on Wednesday as secretary of Homeland security. The designation must be confirmed by the Senate, where the process is expected to progress smoothly. Nielsen is an expert in cybersecurity and is the right hand of John Kelly, Trump's chief of staff. Kelly was in charge of the internal security position until Trump appointed him in July as responsible for coordinating and placing order on the day to day of the White House.
When he assumed the position of Chief of Staff of the President, Kelly named Nielsen as his number two. She is, therefore, a person of Kelly's utmost confidence and was her chief of staff when retired general was secretary of Security. That closeness is what has earned him his appointment now in the face of other options considered more extreme. Kelly embodied Trump's heavy-handed policy against irregular immigration and had speculated that he could replace someone with a similar profile. His position has been occupied since then on an interim.
The Department of Homeland Security, created after the 11-S attacks, is in charge of policing America's borders and detecting terrorist threats. For example, it manages the policy of deportation of undocumented immigrants, the veto of visitors from certain countries and the protection against external interference. In this sense, cybersecurity functions are becoming more and more important. For example, it was the department responsible for communicating Russian hacking attempts to polling stations during the past election campaign.
American intelligence services accuse Russia of stealing emails from the Democratic Party, which Wikileaks published, and to propagate information on the Internet in order to help Trump win the November 2016 elections. Moscow denies that accusation. A special prosecutor and Congress investigate whether Trump's environment could be coordinated with Russian interference. The president denies it.
"Nielsen has extensive professional experience in the areas of security and internal strategy, cybersecurity, critical infrastructure and emergency management," highlighted the White House in a statement. The nominee has already worked for the Department of Homeland Security during the George W. Bush administration and as special advisor to the former Republican president on security matters.