Kirstjen Nielsen

Last updated on 22 October 2017

Kirstjen Michele Nielsen (born May 14, 1972)[1] is an American government official and national security expert who has served as Principal Deputy White House Chief of Staff to President Donald Trump since September 6, 2017.[2] Nielsen was nominated on October 11, 2017 to be Secretary of Homeland Security and officially announced by President Trump on October 12, 2017 that she would serve as the next Secretary of Homeland Security.[3][4]

Early life

Nielsen was born on May 14, 1972. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from the Georgetown School of Foreign Service and earned a Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1999.[5]

Early career

Before serving in the Trump administration, she was a senior fellow and member of the Resilience Task Force of the Center for Cyber & Homeland Security think tank at George Washington University and served on the Global Risks Report Advisory Board of the World Economic Forum.

Nielsen served during the George W. Bush administration as special assistant to the president and as senior director for prevention, preparedness and response at the White House Homeland Security Council. She also set-up and led the Transportation Security Administration's Office of Legislative Policy and Government Affairs.

Nielsen is the founder and former President of Sunesis Consulting.[6] Sunesis was awarded numerous government contracts under President Obama's administration. [7]

Deputy Chief of Staff

Nielsen previously served as Elaine Duke's Chief of Staff at the Department of Homeland Security.[8] She has informally performed the role of White House Deputy Chief of Staff since John F. Kelly assumed the office of White House Chief of Staff on July 31, 2017, at which point Duke became acting Secretary of Homeland Security.[9][10]

Secretary of Homeland Security nomination

On October 11, 2017, President Donald Trump nominated Nielsen to be the new United States Secretary of Homeland Security, replacing Elaine Duke.[3][4]


  1. ^ "Person Details for Kirstjen Neilsen, United States Public Records, 1970-2009". Intellectual Reserve, Inc. Retrieved 8 October 2017.
  2. ^ "President Donald J. Trump Announces White House Appointments". The White House. September 6, 2017. Archived from the original on September 8, 2017. Retrieved September 9, 2017. Kirstjen M. Nielsen of Florida will serve as Assistant to the President and Principal Deputy Chief of Staff. Ms. Nielsen formerly served as Chief of Staff of the Department of Homeland Security.
  3. ^ a b Davis, Julie Hirschfeld (2017-10-11). "White House Aide Is Selected to Run Homeland Security Department". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-10-11.
  4. ^ a b Parker, Ashley; Zapotosky, Matt (2017-10-11). "Trump taps Kirstjen Nielsen to lead Department of Homeland Security". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2017-10-11.
  5. ^ "Kirstjen Nielsen '99 Tapped for Top Post at Homeland Security". October 11, 2017.
  6. ^ Kutner, Max. "Who is Kirstjen Nielsen, Trump's reported pick for Secretary of Homeland Security?". Newsweek. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  7. ^ "DHS Federal Emergency Management Agency". Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  8. ^ "Kirstjen Nielson". Center for Homeland Security, George Washington University. Archived from the original on September 7, 2017. Retrieved September 9, 2017. Kirstjen Nielsen is an expert in homeland and national security policy, strategy, and assessment, with a focus in the areas of critical infrastructure protection, including cyber security, preparedness, response and incident management, information sharing, risk assessment, trend analysis and risk management, organizational development, stakeholder requirement analysis, outreach and communication, and training and exercise programs.
  9. ^ Maggie Haberman, Glenn Thrush (September 8, 2017). "New White House Chief of Staff Has an Enforcer". New York Times. p. A16. Archived from the original on September 10, 2017. Retrieved September 9, 2017.
  10. ^ "Kelly bringing DHS deputy to the White House". Fox News. July 29, 2017. Archived from the original on September 3, 2017. Retrieved September 9, 2017. Kirstjen Nielsen, who has served as chief of staff under Kelly at DHS, will follow her boss to the White House, a Trump administration official told Fox News.

External links

Media related to Kirstjen Nielsen at Wikimedia Commons

Political offices
Preceded by
John Kelly
United States Secretary of Homeland Security


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