Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano has officially tendered her resignation today and will be leaving the hugely influential post.
Here is what you need to know:
1. She Was the First Woman Secretary of Homeland Security
Napolitano, 55, was appointed the third Secretary of Homeland Security in 2009, at which point she became the first woman to hold that position. With the Department of Homeland Security, Napolitano oversaw 240,000 employees and managed an annual budget of around $60 billion.
2. She is Becoming the First Woman President of University of California
Always one to break barriers, Napolitano is becoming the first female president of the University of California system in its almost 150 year history. At the University of California, she will control 10 college campuses, and oversee over 234,464 students.
Sherry Lansing, who headed the search committee for the new University president said in a public statement:
While some may consider her to be an unconventional choice, Secretary Napolitano is without a doubt the right person at the right time to lead this incredible university. She will bring fresh eyes and a new sensibility — not only to UC, but to all of California. She will stand as a vigorous advocate for faculty, students and staff at a time when great changes in our state, and across the globe, are presenting as many opportunities as challenges.
Napolitano graduated from Santa Clara University in California in 1979.
3. UC Thinks Napolitano Can Help With Federal Issues
The Los Angeles Times writes that Napolitano’s federal government and defense experience makes her an ideal candidate for the ambitious University of California. Her work with the Department of National Security could make her an important asset as UC continues to seek federal funding for research and federal approval of their nuclear weapons and energy labs.
4. Most of Obama’s Original Cabinet is Gone
Napolitano’s resignation marks the loss of one of the last remaining members of President Obama’s original cabinet. With the recent loss of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Napolitano looked as if she was going to be the Obama’s rock in the cabinet.
CNN reported earlier this year that she would stay for the entirety of the second term.
There is no official word on why Napolitano has chosen to peruse this new position, but the Los Angeles Times quotes an anonymous source close to Napolitano as saying, “I think she loves working for President Obama and serving the American People, but at the same time, this is a unique opportunity, UC is probably the premier institution in the country.”
There is some speculation that the new Immigration Reform bill that is being stalled in the Republican-dominated House of Representatives might have something to do with her leaving. Napolitano has been a very outspoken advocate for immigration reform since her time as Governor of Arizona from 1999 to 2003.
5. There’s No Word on Who Will Replace Her
We will have to see in the coming days and weeks who President Obama will propose to replace Napolitano.