Janet Napolitano is the third Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and is leading the collective efforts of the United States to secure the country from threats ranging from terrorism to natural disasters.
To counter the threat of terrorism, Napolitano has forged new partnerships with international allies, and expanded information sharing with federal, state and local law enforcement - building a collaborative effort to detect and disrupt threats early on.
She has initiated a new, more strategic course to strengthen security along the southwest border, deploying additional personnel and advanced technology, while working closely with Mexico to combat violent international drug cartels - resulting in increased seizures of illegal contraband along the border and throughout the interior of the United States.
Napolitano also has forged a smart and effective approach to enforcing immigration laws and prioritizing public safety while targeting criminal aliens and aggressively pursuing employers that knowingly take advantage of illegal labor.
She has strengthened the nation's ability to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters by cutting through red tape and expediting decision-making along the Gulf Coast, providing new resources to build resilient communities and bolster their response capabilities, and calling on all Americans to play a role in the shared responsibility of making their homeland secure.
Prior to becoming Secretary, Napolitano was in her second term as Governor of Arizona and was recognized as a national leader on homeland security, border security and immigration. She was the first woman to chair the National Governors Association and was named one of the top five governors in the country by Time Magazine. Napolitano was also the first female Attorney General of Arizona and served as U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona.
Napolitano was born in New York City and grew up in Pittsburgh, Penn., and Albuquerque, N.M. She graduated from Santa Clara University, where she won a Truman Scholarship and was the university's first female valedictorian, and received her Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law. Before entering public office, Napolitano served as a clerk for Judge Mary M. Schroeder on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and practiced law in Phoenix at the firm of Lewis and Roca.