White House Author
Secretary Janet Napolitano
Janet Napolitano is the former Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and led our nation's collective efforts to secure our country from the threats we face - from terrorism to natural disasters.
To counter the threat of terrorism, Napolitano forged new partnerships with international allies, and expanded information sharing with federal, state and local law enforcement - building a collaborative effort to detect and disrupt threats early on.
She initiated a new, more strategic course to strengthen security along our southwest border, deploying additional personnel and advanced technology, while working closely with Mexico to combat violent international drug cartels - resulting in increased seizures of illegal contraband along the border and throughout our country's interior.
Napolitano also forged a smart and effective approach to enforcing our immigration laws and prioritizing public safety while targeting criminal aliens and aggressively pursuing employers that knowingly take advantage of illegal labor.
She strengthened the nation's ability to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters by cutting through red tape and expediting decision-making along the Gulf Coast, providing new resources to build resilient communities and bolster their response capabilities, and calling on all Americans to play a role in the shared responsibility of making our homeland secure.
In each of these areas - counterterrorism; border security; immigration enforcement; and disaster preparedness, response and recovery - Napolitano built upon the skills and resources of this young department by deploying the best that science and technology have to offer; reinvigorating partnerships with state, local and tribal governments and the private sector - our nation's first detectors and first responders; and implementing a bold Efficiency Review that is making the Department a leaner, smarter agency better equipped to protect the nation.
Prior to becoming Secretary, Napolitano was in her second term as Governor of Arizona and was recognized as a national leader on homeland security, border security and immigration. She was the first woman to chair the National Governors Association and was named one of the top five governors in the country by Time Magazine. Napolitano was also the first female Attorney General of Arizona and served as U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona.
Napolitano was born in New York City and grew up in Pittsburgh, Penn., and Albuquerque, N.M. She graduated from Santa Clara University, where she won a Truman Scholarship and was the university's first female valedictorian, and received her Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law. Before entering public office, Napolitano served as a clerk for Judge Mary M. Schroeder on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and practiced law in Phoenix at the firm of Lewis and Roca.
Follow the Department of Homeland Security on Twitter @DHSgov.