Katko, Meijer: Unfilled National Security Posts Jeopardize Ability to Respond to Threats
WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. John Katko (R-NY), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, and Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI), Ranking Member of the Oversight Subcommittee, sounded the alarm on the vulnerable security posture of the country as the homeland faces a myriad of threats from the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan, a porous southern border, and an uptick in cyberattacks all while key national security positions in the Biden administration go unfilled.
Ten months into the Biden administration, 76 percent of top national security posts remain vacant, negatively impacting the nation’s ability to effectively respond to or mitigate potential homeland security threats.
In a letter to President Biden, Katko and Meijer wrote, “Despite these facts, what is truly alarming is that the number of national security positions that remain vacant today is greater than the number of national security positions that were vacant just before the terrorist attacks of September 11th. The 9/11 Commission found nearly half of the USG top national security jobs were empty before the attacks and that today, only 26% of your choices for Senate-confirmed national security posts are filled. This is an unacceptable situation, Mr. President. We must work together to tackle this national security vulnerability now.”
The members continued, “The normal timeline of the Senate nomination process where our counterparts rightfully investigate nominees is not the issue that concerns us here. The main problem remains the fact that your administration has not chosen individuals to fill key leadership roles, including even those senior positions that do not require Senate confirmation.”
“DHS is currently tackling several high-profile, critical, and controversial issues, including managing the continuous surge of migrants at the southwest border and serving as the lead coordinating agency in the effort to resettle tens of thousands of Afghans in the U.S. An under-staffed Department threatens the Department’s effectiveness in responding to a rapidly shifting world and its ability to meet homeland security threats head-on.”
Katko and Meijer requested additional details on the unexplainable delay and a timeline for nominations for appointing qualified candidates.
Read the full letter here.