The board of directors, which met several times a year, was set up to provide advice and expertise from those in the Homeland Security world to the DHS Secretary to consult with decisions across the department. Council subcommittees also have published reports on various subjectslike economic security. According to a former senior Trump DHS official familiar with the board, the council was also key to securing additional funds from the DHS if there was a limit rise by asking Congress to allocate such funds.
The dismissal of the unpaid members indicates that the Biden government continues to put its stamp on the DHS, whose immigration and customs control component protested early on against a temporary suspension of deportations. The fire also comes as the Biden government struggles to combat an increase in migrants at the border.
Mayorkas also announced that William Bratton, former New York Police Commissioner, and Karen Tandy, former administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, will continue to serve as chairpersons and vice-chairpersons, respectively. William Webster, a former FBI and CIA director, will continue to serve as chairman emeritus.
Members of the DHS Advisory Board On Friday, former NSA director Keith Alexander, former acting DHS secretary Ken Cuccinelli, former acting director of Immigration and Customs Control, Tom Homan, former DC chief of police Cathy Lanier, former star FBI agent Ali Soufan , Heritage Foundation foreign policy expert James Carafano, and former DHS official Stewart Baker. The 32 council members who were ousted Friday were appointed by a number of former DHS secretaries, both Democratic and Republican.
“I am really disappointed,” said Carafano, who was appointed to the board for the first time under the former DHS secretary Michael Chertoff. “I thought this was the most talented board they have ever had in terms of the breadth of expertise they brought to the department. I think it’s a loss to the department.”
He said that “there are a lot of super-projects coming up,” such as the role of DHS in combating Chinese government influence in American universities. When asked about some of the board’s past achievements, he said the board had an influence on changing the much-criticized color-coded terror alert system.
Former DHS acting secretary Chad Wolf, who appointed a number of board members, also criticized the move. tweet: “While I respect a DHS secretary’s right to change the HSAC to meet his needs, dismissing the entire council immediately and stopping a lot of important work (that was in progress) is not the right approach.”
In Friday’s letter, Mayorkas said he would reconstitute the council in the next few weeks as it moves on to a new model for the committee. A DHS spokesman said a new council with “a diverse representative of the members of America and the communities served by the DHS” will be established and will continue to be non-partisan.
The spokesman said Mayorkas “will conduct a full review to assess how best to use HSAC to advise the department and advance its broad mission.”
The spokesman also said that after the reconstruction, Mayorkas intends to work closely with the council and “to work regularly with respected leaders who are recognized experts in the various roles of the ministry and who reflect the diversity of the country in which the ministry operates”.
At the beginning of Biden’s tenure, the administration dismissed several Trump-appointed members of numerous DOD advisory boards.