DHS Head Janet Napolitano Steps Down; Will Become University of California President

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano has resigned,  only days after Canada’s Public Safety Minister Vic Toews stepped down.

While Canada and the United States continue to make progress on the Beyond the Border (BTB) Action Plan and Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC), these departures highlight the continuing need of bilateral stakeholders to show these initiatives’ economic and security value to Canada and the United States.

Public Safety Canada and DHS are the lead agencies tasked with BTB Action Plan initiatives.

And when you add to the mix the departure of U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Jacobson, there will be new opportunities to complete and enhance current BTB and RCC initiatives.

From the L.A. Times’ Larry Gordon, offering the best coverage (found so far) on what’s behind Napolitano’s move:

Janet Napolitano, the U.S. secretary of Homeland Security and former governor of Arizona, is being named as the next president of the University of California system, in an unusual choice that brings a national-level politician to a position usually held by an academic, The Times has learned. Her appointment also means the 10-campus system will be headed by a woman for the first time in its 145-year history.

Napolitano’s nomination by a committee of UC regents came after a secretive process that insiders said focused on her early as a high-profile, although untraditional, candidate who has led large public agencies and shown a strong interest in improving education.

A source close to Napolitano, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, said that Napolitano deliberated for a long time after the executive search firm hired by UC quietly contacted her.

“I think she loves working for President Obama and serving the American people, but at the same time, this is a unique opportunity,” he said. Napolitano knows “UC is probably the premier institution in the country. She is motivated by the fact that being a part of UC, she will be a part of educating future leaders of tomorrow and be part of a state that sets so much of the agenda nationally.”

Napolitano, 55, is no stranger to California colleges since she attended Santa Clara University and was its first woman valedictorian before earning her law degree at University of Virginia. Her father was dean of the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, a family connection that UC regents also liked since they oversee medical centers. In Arizona, she helped to enact plans to provide full-day kindergarten and to renovate university buildings, winning fans among educators.

The Napolitano friend insisted that nothing was pushing her out of Washington now, although the Senate’s recently approved compromise plan on immigration faces an uncertain fate in the Republican-controlled House.

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