DHS leadership roles vacant with Loy's resignation

James Loy, deputy Homeland Security secretary and first administrator of the Transportation Security Administration, is retiring effective March 1.

His departure, combined with the previously announced resignation of DHS secretary Tom Ridge, means the department will suffer a leadership vacuum for an unknown time.

"The loss of two key leaders in rapid succession has to be worrisome, and replacements of their caliber will be hard to find," said Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Select Committee on Homeland Security, in a statement yesterday. "In the past year at DHS, Jim Loy has been the focal point of strategic planning for the 22 agencies incorporated into the department."

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), chairwoman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, added, " I am confident that the White House will act quickly to nominate strong and capable candidates for the secretary and deputy secretary positions, and my committee will consider them as expeditiously as possible."

Loy will step down before March if a successor is appointed and confirmed.

Ridge said in a statement: "Jim was the first federal official to offer me his support. His presence, leadership and counsel have been invaluable to the country and to me during my tenure."

Collins praised Loy's commitment to her state's residents. "He was particularly responsive to needs of the people of Maine, working to help residents living along the Canadian border who needed greater access to border crossings and communities who asked for a delay to new licensing requirements so that skilled nurses from Canada could continue to work in Maine hospitals," she said. "I hope that the person nominated to be the next deputy secretary at DHS will be as sensitive to the needs of states with significant coastlines, as was Admiral Loy."

The White House has yet to nominate a candidate for Ridge's position, following the high-profile collapse of former New York Police commissioner Bernard Kerik's nomination two weeks ago. It is likely that the administration will not name a successor for Loy's position but leave it to the next secretary to pick a deputy.

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