Bush picks Homeland Security management chief

Paul Schneider would replace Janet Hale, who was credited with helping unite the 22 legacy agencies and 180,000 workers that formed the department.

President Bush announced late Thursday the nomination of a former Defense Department senior executive to lead management efforts at the Homeland Security Department.

If confirmed, Paul Schneider will become the undersecretary for management at DHS, filling a job left vacant with the May departure of Janet Hale, the department's first management chief. Scott Charbo, the department's chief information officer, replaced Hale on an interim basis, spokesman Larry Orluskie said.

The schedule for Schneider's confirmation has yet to be determined. Orluskie said Charbo will continue to serve as both CIO and management undersecretary until Schneider is approved.

"Scott has been through a lot, and made a lot of demanding decisions, during this dual role," Orluskie said.

Schneider currently works as an independent defense and aerospace consultant, and has been a key player in planning for an administration effort to modernize air traffic control and other aspects of air transport. Prior to that, he served as the executive director and senior civilian of the Naval Sea Systems Command and principal deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for research. In 2002, he served as the National Security Agency's senior acquisition executive.

DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff said the department will benefit from Schneider's "expertise in strengthening core management support functions for departmentwide operations."

If confirmed, Schneider will have DHS' line of business chiefs - the chief financial officer, the chief information officer, the chief procurement officer, the chief human capital officer and the chief administrative officer - reporting to him. He also would have input on budget requests and oversee some segments of how the department's new personnel system will be implemented. Schneider was not available for comment.

Hale spent three years as DHS' undersecretary of management, and earned Chertoff's praise for her role uniting the 22 legacy agencies and 180,000 workers that formed the department.

But the position itself has been criticized: the Government Accountability Office and DHS' former inspector general said the departmental structure failed to provide business chiefs with adequate authority. They called for DHS to consider reorganizing the management directorate to provide the chiefs that authority, but officials deflected the criticisms and opted to continue with the existing chain of command, with the exception of the CFO. The financial chief now has a dual report to management chief and the secretary.

"The undersecretary should give the chief financial officer, chief information officer, and chief procurement officer the power to hire, fire, and otherwise direct the work of their counterparts at the component level, who at present report to their respective component heads," said Clark Kent Ervin, the former DHS inspector general. "At present, the structure promotes inefficiency, waste and dysfunction."