Janet Napolitano is the third secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. She leads the nation’s collective efforts to secure it from various threats, including terrorism and natural disasters.
To counter the threat of terrorism, Napolitano has forged new partnerships with international allies and expanded information sharing with federal, state and local law enforcement. She has initiated a course to strengthen security along the southwest border, deploying additional personnel and advanced technology, while working with Mexico to combat violent international drug cartels.
Napolitano also has implemented an effective approach to enforcing immigration laws and prioritizing public safety while targeting criminal aliens and pursuing employers that take advantage of illegal labor. She has 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 urging Americans to take part of the shared responsibility of making the nation secure.
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 graduated from Santa Clara University, where she won a Truman Scholarship and was the university’s first female valedictorian, and received her law degree 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.