President Trump nominates Kelly aide as new Homeland Security Chief

President Donald Trump has nominated Kirstjen Nielsen to be the new head of the Department of Homeland Security. The Cabinet-level position has been held by Acting Secretary Elaine Duke since July, when General John Kelly was appointed White House chief of staff. Nielsen served as Kelly’s top aide at DHS and followed him to the White House. The appointment will require Senate confirmation.

Kirstjen Nielsen, Chief of Staff of U.S. Department of Homeland Security, center, walks to Air Force One as she departs Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. AP

President Donald Trump has nominated Kirstjen Nielsen, a longtime aide to chief of staff John Kelly, to head the Department of Homeland Security, the White House said on Wednesday.

In an announcement, the White House touted Nielsen’s former homeland security experience, and expertise “in the areas of homeland security policy and strategy, cybersecurity, critical infrastructure, and emergency management.”

The announcement noted that Nielsen is the first nominee for the position to have previously worked in the department.

The Homeland Security Department’s top job has been vacant since July, when Kelly was given the chief of staff role after the ousting of his predecessor, Reince Priebus. Acting secretary Elaine Duke has been leading DHS in the meantime.

Nielsen, 45, is known for her national security and cybersecurity expertise, and previously served in the Transportation Security Administration and on the White House Homeland Security Council under the George W. Bush administration.