Chad Wolf was sworn in on Nov. 13 as the new acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), making him the agency’s fifth leader in three years.
Wolf will replace outgoing acting secretary Kevin McAleenan, whose resignation President Trump announced on Oct. 11.
“Today the United States Senate confirmed Chad F. Wolf to become the Under Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Office of Strategy, Policy, and Plans (PLCY) with a bipartisan vote of 54-41,” the DHS announced in a statement Wednesday.
Wolf was nominated by Trump to his current position in February and was the chief of staff of DHS under Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen until her resignation in April.
“Under Secretary Wolf has served at the Department in various senior leadership positions since its inception and he brings more than 20 years of experience in the government and private sector to the position,” the DHS said.
Wolf will also be joined at the DHS by Ken Cuccinelli, who has been elevated to acting deputy secretary of Homeland Security, according to an internal memo sent by Wolf that was obtained by CNN.
The personnel changes came as Trump has made immigration a central part of his 2020 reelection campaign. The Republican president has railed against illegal immigration, a stance at odds with the Democratic candidates.
Wolf’s predecessor McAleenan resigned in October, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family.
Trump praised McAleenan in a statement on Twitter for having “done an outstanding job as Acting Secretary of Homeland Security.”
Kevin McAleenan has done an outstanding job as Acting Secretary of Homeland Security. We have worked well together with Border Crossings being way down. Kevin now, after many years in Government, wants to spend more time with his family and go to the private sector….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2019
“We have worked well together with Border Crossings being way down,” the president wrote.
McAleenan said on Saturday that he will work with the White House and DHS to ensure a smooth transition.
“I’ve had the privilege of working with Chad for more than two years and know his experience in multiple roles at DHS will be invaluable when confronting the homeland security challenges the Department will face. Chad understands what it takes to run a vast enterprise such as the Department. He is a proven, thoughtful, and principled executive and I am confident he will serve the president and the American people well as Acting Secretary,” he said in a statement.
“I am confident Chad will carry on the important progress we have made,” McAleenan added.
Wolf released a statement Nov. 13 thanking Trump for nominating him and the U.S. Senate “for taking action.”
“I have served the Department since inauguration day and am honored to serve as the first Under Secretary for Policy,” Wolf said in a statement. “I am continually inspired by the tireless and exemplary work of the men and women of the Office of Policy in support of the Department’s mission.”
Reuters and Allen Zhong contributed to this report.