Napolitano departure widens DHS leadership gap

July 13, 2013 - 4:35 AM
Napolitano Resigns

FILE - In this April 25, 2012 file photo, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. U.S. officials say Napolitano is resigning to take a senior posting in the University of California system. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The leadership vacancy created by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano's resignation is the latest blow to a department where nearly one-third of the heads of key agencies and divisions have been filled with acting officials or have remained vacant for months.

Napolitano's departure slated for September will create the 15th hole in the department's 45 leadership positions.

Napolitano's chief of staff and the director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement are leaving this month. The deputy secretary, general counsel, heads of Customs and Border Protection, privacy, legislative affairs, intelligence and analysis and more are filled with acting officials.

This swath of vacancies raises questions about how a department depleted of permanent leadership could implement changes, particularly as Congress considers overhauling the nation's immigration system.