On October 11, 2017, it was announced that Kirstjen Nielson would be Trump's nominee for Secretary of Homeland Security.
Nielson is a graduate of Georgetown and the University of Virginia School of Law. She previously worked for the Center for Cyber and Homeland Security at George Washington University where she was a senior fellow. This is not Nielson's first foray into the White House; she previously served on the Homeland Security Council under the George W. Bush administration as a senior director for prevention, preparedness and response. She also founded Sunesis Consulting, which advertises itself as a "governance and compliance consulting firm." She also chaired the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Risk and Resilience.
In the Know
Nielson has been serving as John Kelly's chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security. After he was picked to be Trump's Chief of Staff. Nielson's appointment to Secretary of Homeland Security, though externally uncontroversial compared to some of his other appointments, internally ruffled some feathers. Nielson evidently has garnered a reputation for being a brusque authoritarian. Nielson is largely seen as an extension of Kelly and having a confidant relaying issues of national security directly to him is no doubt part of his attempt to streamline the inefficiency of the White House. As far as strategy goes, this is a smart move. Whether or not you agree with his politics, it's reassuring to know that someone close to Trump has a grasp on issues of national security.
Kelly and Nielson have been cracking down on meetings within the White House, even going so far as to have a "no fly list" of aides who are not allowed to attend serious meetings. Though done with Kelly's oversight, Nielson is the one who executes the agendas for the meeting and lets everyone know who is not welcome, in part contributing to her less than popular reputation (though if it keeps imbeciles with a penchant for leaking out, I don't disagree).
Nielson, as the new Secretary of Homeland Security, would inherit an especially interesting set of issues in her new role. Perhaps the most delicate would be the interference by the Russian government in the 2016 election, as Russian hacking information is expected to be managed by Homeland Security. Policies of cyber security no doubt have to be revised, and Nielson will be called on to do so, though may face pressure from the President to either not to or to downplay her actions. Issues of immigration and foreign threats also fall under Homeland Security, so no big deal.
She is the first nominee to lead the Department of Homeland Security who has previously worked there. Something about that seems wrong, but welcome to 2017.