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  1. #1
    H. Schoolboy is offline Captain
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    Agency Directors and Political Appointees

    I was giving some thought about how the many agencies are run and looked upon. It seems some agencies are run by career appointees who serve a term and others are more political heads picked by each administration? I know the career types still usually need congressional approval, but I think people get the difference. It’s also is hard to compare the relative power of each agency head. I understand that anything immigration related is political, but it seems to affect everything DHS does sans the Secret Service and the Coast Guard.

    Aside from the FBI, which is completely different animal, do most agency heads (ATF, USSS, and DEA) change with each administration? Are their heads generally career LE types or political people? It just seems like ICE and CBP (i.e. Myers and Basham) are more political than most and is it even fair to compare them with other agency heads?

  2. #2
    FedAgent is offline Sergeant
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    Political Appointees vs. Senior Executive Service

    H. Schoolboy, I believe the most significant difference is the manner in which funding is accessible to the respective agency. The politically appointed agency director has much greater access to the lawmakers/dollar providers than the career service agency director. My experience has been that the appointee will stay through a different administration if the agency has decent morale and a reasonably balanced budget. I think the most frequent appointee changes with new Presidents are Ambassadors, U.S. Attorneys and U.S. Marshals. That's not to say there's no affect on the career service agency directors when an administration changes. Those directors usually just move to a different job within the senior management throes of government. I had an SES boss who left from an operational security position, to director of the holocaust museum, and is now a director at NASA. Speaking of Ralph Basham, he's a highly regarded law enforcement manager who has a reputation of fixing broken agencies. He retired from USSS, was director of ATF, USSS, FLETC and now CBP. I might have missed one or two. I think Myers is well known due to the major immigration issues and media attention at hand. I don't know a whole lot about her.
    Stay safe!

    FedAgent

  3. #3
    ATF SAC's Avatar
    ATF SAC is offline The Moderate Moderator
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    It is a whole new ballgame now. Reorganization after 9/11 has all but done away with appointments from the career service that were expected to remain in place after a change in administration. January will be the first time since these changes and we will have to see.
    ret.

  4. #4
    FedAgent is offline Sergeant
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    New Ballgame

    ATF, I concur. Size obviously matters and I wonder what the next administration might do with DHS...
    Stay safe!

    FedAgent

  5. #5
    ATF SAC's Avatar
    ATF SAC is offline The Moderate Moderator
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    DHS is a cabinet level appointment so will remain entirely political at the Secretary level. Customs and INS were political as far back as I go, so suspect ICE will remain the same, as will Undersecretary positions. Not sure whether the status of USSS changed in the move to DHS. Under Treasury, USSS and ATF by law had to have Directors appointed from the career service. ATF lost that in the move to DOJ although the sitting director was maintained until he retired and the next came from career USSS. Current acting is a sitting United States Attorney. While in a sense they are all "political appointments" in that they are at least acceptable, it makes a difference who does the appointing. Many directors/administrators are named by the Department head rather than the White House, that usually supports naming a career person. Everybody has issues, but there is a strong case that ICE, DEA, ATF and USSS are best served by keeping them as apolitical as possible given either what they do (USSS) or the hostile environment around their mission. Doesn't mean that will happen but most administrations have seen the wisdom around that most of the time.

    Brave new world coming.
    ret.

  6. #6
    autosear is offline Cadet
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    Quote Originally Posted by FedAgent View Post
    Speaking of Ralph Basham, he's a highly regarded law enforcement manager who has a reputation of fixing broken agencies. He retired from USSS, was director of ATF, USSS, FLETC and now CBP. I might have missed one or two.
    Basham was director of ATF?

  7. #7
    satpak77 is offline Chief
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    Bush appointed/chose the last DEA Administrator, FYI

    the FBI director-ship is at the same level (in terms of "political horsepower") as being secretary of Defense or State

    DHS is not, DEA is not, etc etc. It just simply is not.

    well, DHS maybe (8 years into the war on terror) but I still argue that the FBI director-ship carries the most horsepower of all the agencies. He sits across the street from DOJ and the AG himself. Across the STREET.

    every time a new administrator comes, the agency must relearn and change. Not unlike a Coach or CEO, new priorities, lets focus on XXXX, not XXXX, etc etc

    its called "progress"

  8. #8
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    Time Of Service

    FBI Director is appoint to a 10 yr term. Basham was at TSA prior to coming over to CBP, seems nice (met Basham and the wife a few times). Fed Times had list of agency heads who were going to move on and who would act in their place till new appointee came on board.

    (Personal opinion - Heard Myers got her position due to family connections. Didn't president appoint her in recess appointment since congress did not want to confirm her?? I think it is nice to select someone who knows a little about what is going on. Chertoff had to learn OJT.)
    Always do what needs to be done to get home and see the family!

  9. #9
    LRS2FLE's Avatar
    LRS2FLE is offline Rookie
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    The individuals in charge of DoD, DoS, DoJ, and DHS are all filling cabinet level positions and are on the same level. The director of the FBI has more clout than the directors of any of the other LE agencies, but he falls under DoJ and is not on the same level as the secretary of DoD, DoS, or even DHS.

  10. #10
    satpak77 is offline Chief
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    Quote Originally Posted by LRS2FLE View Post
    The individuals in charge of DoD, DoS, DoJ, and DHS are all filling cabinet level positions and are on the same level. The director of the FBI has more clout than the directors of any of the other LE agencies, but he falls under DoJ and is not on the same level as the secretary of DoD, DoS, or even DHS.
    yeah I guess "clout" is the best way to put it, I was at a loss for words last night!

    Don't let friends Type drunk

  11. #11
    mo42 Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by satpak77 View Post
    Bush appointed/chose the last DEA Administrator, FYI

    the FBI director-ship is at the same level (in terms of "political horsepower") as being secretary of Defense or State

    DHS is not, DEA is not, etc etc. It just simply is not.

    well, DHS maybe (8 years into the war on terror) but I still argue that the FBI director-ship carries the most horsepower of all the agencies. He sits across the street from DOJ and the AG himself. Across the STREET.

    every time a new administrator comes, the agency must relearn and change. Not unlike a Coach or CEO, new priorities, lets focus on XXXX, not XXXX, etc etc



    FBI Director may have considerably more political clout than that of other agencies, but is noweher near SecState/SecDef. If you spend any time in DC, you will see that. Or just check the U.S. Constitution for the continuity of goverment. Not sure where the FBI director falls, but I am sure it aint close to SecState or SecDef.
    its called "progress"

  12. #12
    mo42 Guest
    In fact, I would argue that there are many major countries whose leaders could not tell you the who the Director of the FBI was. I can assure you that they al know who Rice and Gates are.


 

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