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Janet Napolitano: Secretary of Homeland Security

Department of Homeland Security Biography

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Janet Napolitano

Janet Napolitano

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Janet Napolitano was sworn in on January 21, 2009 as the third Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Napolitano was mid-way through her second term as governor of the state of Arizona. While governor, Napolitano became the first woman to chair the National Governors Association, where she was instrumental in creating the Public Safety Task Force and the Homeland Security Advisors Council. She also chaired the Western Governors Association. Napolitano previously served as the Attorney General of Arizona and the U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona.

Napolitano's homeland security background is extensive. As U.S. Attorney, she helped lead the domestic terrorism investigation into the Oklahoma City Bombing. As Arizona Attorney General, she helped write the law to break up human smuggling rings. As governor, she implemented one of the first state homeland security strategies in the nation, opened the first state counter-terrorism center and spearheaded efforts to transform immigration enforcement. She's also been a pioneer in coordinating federal, state, local and bi-national homeland security efforts, and presided over large scale disaster relief efforts and readiness exercises to ensure well-crafted and functional emergency plans.

Napolitano graduated from Santa Clara University in 1979, where she won a Truman Scholarship, and received her Juris Doctor (J.D.) in 1983 from the University of Virginia School of Law. After law school she served as a law clerk for Judge Mary M. Schroeder of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit before joining the law firm of Lewis and Roca.

Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security

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