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Pierson ‘well qualified’ to lead Secret Service, says Napolitano

Julia Pierson

President Obama appointed the first female leader of the Secret Service on March 26, naming Julia Pierson, a 30-year veteran of the service, as its director.

Pierson, who had been the agency’s chief of staff, replaces outgoing director Mark Sullivan, who announced his plans to retire last month. Pierson reports to DHS secretary Janet Napolitano.

"Julia is eminently qualified to lead the agency that not only safeguards Americans at major events and secures our financial system, but also protects our leaders and our first families, including my own," said Obama in announcing his appointment.

“I am proud of the historic decision by President Obama to appoint Julia A. Pierson to be the first female Director of the United States Secret Service,” said Napolitano in a March 26 statement. Napolitano said Pierson’s 30 years of experience with the service made her “exceptionally well-qualified, and well-equipped to lead” the agency.

Napolitano said as chief of staff at the Secret Service, Pierson oversaw the agency’s complex information technology and business process modernization efforts. Before her appointment to that position in 2008, said Napolitano, Pierson was assistant director of the Office of Human Resources and Training where she was responsible for all human resource and training programs for the Secret Service, including policy development and management of the agency’s Personnel Division, Security Clearance Division, Workforce Planning, Work-Life Programs, and the James J. Rowley Training Center.

Pierson had served three years in the Orlando Police Department before joining the Secret Service in 1983.

During her long career at the Secret Service, Napolitano said Pierson has served as special agent in charge within the Office of Protective Operations, deputy assistant director in the Office of Administration, and deputy assistant director in the Office of Protective Operations. She has also been a member of the federal Senior Executive Service since 2003, and was the recipient of the 2008 Presidential Meritorious Executive Award for sustained superior performance in management throughout her career with the Secret Service.

 “I am confident that Julia's background and capabilities will enable her to effectively lead the Secret Service as it continues to protect the safety of our First Families, our nation’s leaders, and the public at large,” said Napolitano.


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