Dec. 7, 2017: Kirstjen Nielsen was confirmed as the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) by the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. Nielsen, 45, of Virginia, was confirmed by a 62-to-37 vote. Nielsen was previously former DHS Secretary John Kelly’s Chief of Staff at DHS when Kelly led that department. Kelly is now the White House Chief of Staff. At DHS, Elaine Duke moves back to her position as DHS Deputy Secretary, after working as the DHS Acting Secretary for the past five months. Nielsen was a Principal Deputy White House Chief of Staff since Sept. 6, 2017. Nielsen was born in Clearwater, Florida. She graduated with a bachelor of science degree from the Georgetown School of Foreign Service, and she received her law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1999. Nielsen worked during the administration of former President George W. Bush as a Special Assistant to the President and as the Senior Director for Prevention, Preparedness and Response at the White House Homeland Security Council. She also set-up, and led, the Transportation Security Administration's Office of Legislative Policy and Government Affairs at DHS. Before she worked in the Trump administration, Nielsen was a senior member of the Resilience Task Force at the Center for Cyber and Homeland Security at George Washington University, and she worked on the Global Risks Report Advisory Board at the World Economic Forum. Nielsen is the founder and former president of Sunesis Consulting. Before she founded Sunesis Consulting, Nielsen was the General Counsel and President of the Homeland Security and Private Sector Preparedness practice at Civitas Group llc.