Asa Hutchinson, who served as head of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as well as the first Border Czar (though the term Czar was less trendy then and he took the more staid title of “Undersecretary”), interviews with the Associated Press and notes that the oddity of the Administration announcing a new push to take on the drug cartels and the smuggling of narcotics and guns along the Southwest Border while there still hasn’t even been nominations for the heads of key border security agencies — DEA, ATF and CBP.
Hutchinson is joined by the former head of the ATF, as well as Mike Braun, another Security Debrief contributor and former Chief of Operations of the DEA, in urging the Administration to appoint permanent leadership into these critical agencies.
In any new administration, most government agencies go for a few weeks or months without a presidentially selected leader. But the continued vacancies, particularly as the drug cartel campaign begins, worries past agency chiefs.
Asa Hutchinson, who at different points led the DEA and border security efforts under the previous Republican administration, said the DEA must be the centerpiece of any push against the cartels.
“Just as you would not want to go without a high-level Defense Department official during a time of war, you would not want to go without the lead DEA official being confirmed for the fight we have with the cartels,” said Hutchinson.
Michael Braun, a former DEA official, said the lack of confirmed leaders weakens the agencies in dealing with foreign countries, as well as other parts of the U.S. government.
“When you have a presidentially appointed administrator in place, with that position comes the power,” he said.