s the first assistant secretary for security policy and planning at the Homeland Security Department's Border and Transportation Directorate, C. Stewart Verdery Jr. evaluates and coordinates policy development for key agencies, including the Transportation Security Administration and two of the three agencies that make up the former Immigration and Naturalization Service-the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Bureau and the Customs and Border Protection Bureau.
Verdery also serves as principal adviser to Border and Transportation Undersecretary Asa Hutchinson and plays a key role in other border policy initiatives, including the Bush administration's revived effort to reform U.S. immigration policy. Verdery notched a big victory in December 2003, when the European Union agreed to share certain information about airline passengers with Homeland Security. He was the lead day-to-day negotiator on the deal, which will give Customs and Border Protection advance information on U.S.-bound airline passengers.
Before joining DHS, Verdery was senior legislative adviser in the Washington office of Vivendi Universal Entertainment, a media and entertainment conglomerate headquartered in Paris.
Prior to that, Verdery, 37, served on the Senate Republican leadership staff as general counsel to Don Nickles, R-Okla., from 1998 to 2002. He specialized there in crime and law enforcement issues. He also has served as counsel to the Rules and Administration Committee, the Judiciary Committee, and Sen. John Warner, R-Va.
Verdery notes that one of the main differences he found, in jumping from the legislative to the executive branch, is that the process of policy-making in agencies is more deliberative than on the Senate floor. "You can't force a vote here," he says.
Yet, Verdery credits his legislative experience with enabling him to win his current position. "I think the main thing that was attractive about me was that I dealt with difficult policy issues," Verdery says. "I'm used to negotiating with various stakeholders, and I come up with good results."
A native of Richmond, Va., Verdery holds a bachelor's degree in history from Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., and received his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law.