President Donald Trump is reportedly considering shuffling people around in his administration. One of the most high-profile people who could be the first one to either resign or be fired is Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
Nielsen served in the George W. Bush administration and is viewed as an ally of current Chief of Staff John Kelly. The Washington Post, citing White House officials, has reported that the president is less than thrilled with Nielsen’s performance because he feels she could have been much tougher on immigration.
There is no current deputy secretary of Homeland Security. That means that if Nielsen leaves and there is not an immediate replacement in mind, the person who would temporarily fill that role is Claire M. Grady. She is the Under Secretary for Management, which is the third most senior position at the department.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Claire Grady Has Been in Her Current Role at Homeland Security Since August 2017
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Claire Grady has been serving in her current role as Under Secretary for Management since August 8, 2017. According to her biography on the Homeland Security website, Grady was already familiar with the department, having served in various other roles throughout her more than 20 years of public service.
Grady’s primary job as Under Secretary for Management is handling the department’s finances. She is responsible for managing the $60 billion budget.
Her bio also states that her current role includes people management. Homeland Security is the third-largest government agency, with more than 240,000 employees. Grady is responsible for overseeing this workforce.
When accepting the nomination, Grady described the role of Homeland Security in a prepared statement. It reads in part, “More than 15 years after 9/11, the threats to our nation, our people and our way of life remain. The world is a dangerous place and the velocity of those threats is ever changing and accelerating. Round the clock, whether at a computer, in our communities, at an airport, in a port, at sea, at a desk, in the air, in the classroom, on the border, in a command center, or in a lab, the professionals of DHS valiantly serve our nation and keep us safe. They have committed themselves to thwarting our nation’s adversaries (natural or man-made) in an environment where
a single incident can have devastating consequences. And if tragedy were to befall our nation, they are prepared to respond and aid in the recovery.”
2. Grady Has Had to Step In to the Role of Deputy Secretary Since Taking Office
GettyFrench Minister attached to the Interior Minister Jacqueline Gourault welcomes US Under Secretary for Homeland Security Claire M. Grady (R) in Groupama Stadium in Decines-Charpieu, near Lyon, on October 9, 2018 during the G6 Summit of Interior Ministers.
The Department of Homeland Security does not currently have an acting Deputy Secretary. The former person in that role, Elaine Duke, retired in April of 2018. Duke also served as the Acting Secretary from July 31, 2017 through December 6 of that year. No one has been confirmed in the months since she stepped down.
Grady already has some experience carrying out the responsibilities of the second highest position in the department. Her bio on the Homeland Security website states that was asked to serve as the Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Deputy Secretary.
Grady has also recently represented the United States on the world stage. In October 2018, she attended the G6 Summit of Interior Ministers in France. Representatives from France, Germany, United Kingdom, Spain, Italy and Poland were all there. The purpose of the event was to discuss the fight against terrorism, and how best to handle migration issues.
3. Grady Served in Several Leadership Roles at the Department of Defense, Including With the Coast Guard
Defense DepartmentClaire M. Grady
Claire Grady worked as a Director within the Department of Defense before moving over to Homeland Security for her current job. In 2015, she was named as the Director of Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy. The job is stationed in the Pentagon in the office of the Under Secretary of Defense, Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.
In a statement Grady gave when she was nominated for her current job, she described her previous duties at the Department of Defense. She explained that she had been “responsible for over 30,000 procurement professionals throughout the world, who, in 2017, did brilliant work in obligating $297 billion in support of the warfighter. I also advise senior DoD leadership on acquisition strategies for major defense acquisition programs and major automated information systems.”
Before that promotion, Grady served in leadership roles within the Coast Guard for several years. Her titles at the Coast Guard included:
* Deputy Assistant Commandant for Acquisition
* Director of Acquisition Services
* Head of Contracting Activity
Other management roles on her resume include:
* Director of Strategic Initiatives in the Management Directorate’s Office of the Chief Procurement Officer.
* Deputy Director of the Navy’s surface weapon systems division
Grady is also the recipient of an executive honor. In 2010, she was given the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive.
4. Claire Grady Holds Two Master’s Degrees
Claire Grady holds multiple degrees. She attended Trinity University for her undergraduate education.
She earned two Master’s degrees. Grady has an MBA from the University of Maryland.
She later obtained a Master of Science in national resource strategy. That came from the National Defense University’s Industrial College of the Armed Forces in Washington, D.C.
Her various bios from Homeland Security, the Department of Defense and the White House all state that she holds “Level III acquisition professional certifications in contracting and program management.”
5. Claire Grady Is Married & Has One Daughter & Five Nieces
Claire M. Grady has kept her personal life private. She does not appear to have social media accounts. An online search shows that she was born August 2, 1967. When she was named Under Secretary of Management for Homeland Security, a White House press release identified Grady as being from Pennsylvania. Her parents still live there.
Grady gave a statement when she was nominated to her current position. In it, she identified her husband as Colonel Rick Cornelio, who served in the Air Force for 34 years. She explained that he has always been her biggest champion. “His love and support have been unwavering. With three simple words “not big enough”, he reminds me that while challenges may be serious and daunting, they still can be tackled.”
Grady’s mother, Mary Grady, was in attendance during her nomination in June of 2017. Other family members included her son-in-law, Lieutenant Michael Berl, older sister Kelly Grady and her husband, Michael Zuckerman. Grady also mentioned having five nieces, “each of whom is amazing in their own right.”