Dr. Joseph Cuffari (Photo: Office of the Arizona Governor)

Nielsen: DHS Inspector General Nominee Will Be ‘Invaluable Member’ of Her Team

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen applauded the White House’s intention to nominate Joseph Cuffari as inspector General at the Department of Homeland Security today, and said his long experience with the U.S. military and Department of Justice will make him an important member of her leadership team.

“Dr. Cuffari’s leadership will help to provide crucial oversight to ensure excellency, integrity and accountability throughout all programs and operations,” Nielsen said. “The department has a long-standing commitment to combating waste, fraud and abuse, and Dr. Cuffari has demonstrated his resolve to do so throughout a variety of roles. His decades of experience, including more than 40 years in the U.S. Air Force and more than 20 years at the Department of Justice (DOJ), will make him an invaluable member of the Department’s leadership team. I thank Dr. Cuffari for his willingness to serve in government again and urge the Senate to swiftly confirm him to this important position.”

The post has far-reaching implications that can directly affect the leadership of the department. If confirmed, Cuffari would replace Acting IG John V. Kelly, who assumed the role in December 2017. In fiscal year 2017, the office issued 120 reports, made 321 recommendations, received nearly 24,000 whistleblower complaints and referred more than 300 cases for prosecution, which led to the conviction of 118 individuals. Additionally, Cuffari would have to testify in front of congressional committees, and in amendments adopted into the FY2019 Homeland Security Bill, the office was directed to oversee DHS’s efforts in overseeing the protection of the country’s election infrastructure during the midterms.”

Cuffari, who spent the past five years as a military and veterans affairs adviser to Republican Arizona governors Doug Ducey and Jan Brewer, joined the U.S. Air Force out of high school, and served actively and in the reserves for over four decades. After the military, he joined the U.S. Justice Department, and after 20 years retired in 2013 as assistant special agent in charge for the Office of the Inspector General in Tucson, Ariz. He received his master’s degree from Webster University and doctorate in philosophy from California Coast University.

“Dr. Cuffari has been an important part of our team,” Ducey spokesman Daniel Ruiz told the Arizona Republic. “Our loss is their gain, and we couldn’t be happier for Joe as he begins this new opportunity.”

Multimedia journalist James Cullum is Managing Editor of Homeland Security Today's Federal Pages. He has reported for over a decade to newspapers, magazines and websites in the D.C. metro area. He excels at finding order in chaotic environments, from slave liberations in South Sudan to the halls of the power in Washington, D.C.

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