The United States Senate confirmed Russell Deyo to be the Department of Homeland Security’s Under Secretary for Management on April 16, after leaving Deyo’s nomination hanging for months. On a vote of 95-2, Senators finally filled the remaining major DHS leadership position. It’s about time.
Senators Vitter of Louisiana and Lee of Utah provided the two negative votes for reasons that I suspect had nothing to do with Deyo’s qualifications and everything to do with the equivalent of a “temper tantrum” at President Obama’s Executive Actions on immigration. One or both of them were widely rumored to have placed a “hold” on Deyo’s nomination after congressional efforts to overturn the President’s immigration directives were stymied by Senate Democrats earlier this year.
It would be hard to find a person who is more patient with the political shenanigans on Capitol Hill than Russ Deyo, or one who is more necessary at a Department in need of strong management experience. A close personal and professional friend of DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, Deyo brings much needed executive management to the Department, after a storied career at Johnson & Johnson. If anyone understands the frustrations the private sector has with a dysfunctional regulatory system, it is Deyo and his knowledge of the way regulations (in his case, FDA) can hamper innovation.
Unfortunately Deyo doesn’t have much time to accomplish needed changes, unless he stays on at DHS after the end of the Obama Administration. Fortunately, he has the complete trust and confidence of the Secretary with whom he will work. That will give him an opportunity to “Go Big and Be Bold.” I hoped he does.
Congratulations, Mr. Under Secretary. Now it is time for you to show us that the wait was worth it.