Who’s who at DHS

Michael P. Jackson

Deputy Secretary
Replacing Adm. James Loy, Michael Jackson was serving as chief operating officer of the Government Services Group, AECOM Technology Corporation in Fairfax, Va., when he was tapped as deputy secretary.
From 2001 to 2003, Jackson served as deputy secretary of Transportation, where he was instrumental in establishing the Transportation Security Administration. Prior to that post, he held several positions at Lockheed Martin IMS, Transportation Systems and Services, including vice president and general manager of Business Development, and chief operating officer. He was previously senior vice president and counselor to the president at the American Trucking Association.
Jackson served in a variety of positions within the executive branch, including chief of staff at the Department of Transportation from 1992 to 1993 and special assistant to the president and executive secretary for Cabinet liaison during the George H.W. Bush administration. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston and his doctorate degree in government from Georgetown University.
John Wood
Chief of Staff, Office of the Secretary
As chief of staff, Wood will oversee DHS’ policy, planning and operations. Wood most recently served at the Department of Justice (DoJ) as counselor to the attorney general, where he oversaw the department’s Civil, Civil Rights, Antitrust, Tax, and Environment divisions and DoJ’s civil terrorism litigation. From 2002 to 2003, Wood served at the White House as deputy general counsel for the Office of Management and Budget, where he helped to develop the administration’s major legislative, regulatory, management and appropriations initiatives, including the legislation that created DHS.
Wood began his service in the administration in 2001 as deputy associate attorney general and counsel to the associate attorney general for DoJ, helping to oversee the department’s five civil litigating divisions. From 1998 to 2001, Wood was an associate in the law firm of Kirkland and Ellis. He clerked at the US Supreme Court for Justice Clarence Thomas from 1997 to 1998, and for Judge J. Michael Luttig on the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit from 1996 to 1997.
Previously, he served on the staff of Sen. John C. Danforth (R-Mo.).
Wood is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia.
Brian Besanceney
Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs
As assistant secretary for public affairs, Besanceney will manage both internal and external communications for DHS and all of its component directorates, as well as provide management and oversight to the Office of Public Affairs.
Prior to joining DHS, Besanceney served as special assistant to the president and deputy director of communications at the White House, where he developed and implemented communication strategies on a wide range of public policy issues. He also acted as principal spokesperson for the White House Homeland Security Council, which coordinates government-wide homeland security policy for the president.
From March 2001 to January 2003, Besanceney served as director of domestic policy communications at the White House. From 1996 to 2001, he worked as communications director for US Rep. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), managing media relations and communications. Previously, he worked for several public affairs consulting firms in the Washington, DC,area. Besanceney earned his bachelor of arts degree in history and political science at Ohio State University. HST

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