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Kirstjen Nielsen
Kirstjen Nielsen official photo.jpg
6th United States Secretary of Homeland Security
In office
December 6, 2017 – April 10, 2019
President Donald Trump
Deputy Elaine Duke
Claire Grady (Acting)
Preceded by John F. Kelly
Succeeded by Kevin McAleenan (Acting)
White House Deputy Chief of Staff
In office
September 6, 2017 – December 6, 2017
President Donald Trump
Preceded by Katie Walsh
Succeeded by Vacant
Chief of Staff to the United States Secretary of Homeland Security
In office
January 20, 2017 – July 31, 2017
President Donald Trump
Preceded by Paul Rosen
Succeeded by Chad Wolf (Acting)
Personal details
Born
Kirstjen Michele Nielsen

May 14, 1972 (1972-05-14) (age 49)
Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States
Political party Independent
Education Georgetown University (BS)
University of Virginia (JD)

Kirstjen Michele Nielsen (born May 14, 1972) is an American government official and national security expert. Nielsen was the 6th United States Secretary of Homeland Security from December 6, 2017 to April 10, 2019. Before, she served as Principal Deputy White House Chief of Staff to President Donald Trump from September 6, 2017 to December 5, 2017. She has informally performed the role of Deputy Chief of Staff since John F. Kelly became White House Chief of Staff on July 31, 2017.

Nielsen is the founder and former President of Sunesis Consulting.

On October 11, 2017, President Donald Trump nominated Nielsen to be the new United States Secretary of Homeland Security. On December 5, 2017, the Senate confirmed her nomination, by a 62-37 vote. She resigned on April 7, 2019.

Early life

Nielsen was born on May 14, 1972 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She was raised in Clearwater, Florida. She graduated from the Georgetown School of Foreign Service and earned a J.D. degree from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1999.

Early career

Nielsen served during the President 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 ran the Transportation Security Administration's offices of legislative policy and government affairs, a section she started.

White House career

Nielsen previously served as John F. Kelly's Chief of Staff at the Department of Homeland Security. She has informally performed the role of Deputy Chief of Staff since Kelly became White House Chief of Staff on July 31, 2017.

United States Secretary of Homeland Security (2017 – 2019)

On October 11, 2017, President Donald Trump nominated Nielsen to be the new United States Secretary of Homeland Security, replacing John F. Kelly. On December 5, 2017, the Senate confirmed her nomination, by a 62-37 vote.

Nielsen created the practice of separating parents and children accused of crossing over the U.S.–Mexico border illegally. Nielsen resigned on April 7, 2019, and Kevin McAleenan, the then U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner, became Acting Secretary.

In a piece summarizing Nielsen's tenure at DHS, Vox's Dara Lind wrote that Nielsen had been "arguably the most aggressive secretary in the department's short history"

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