Kirstjen Nielsen, John Kelly's principal deputy chief of staff, is expected to be named secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, according to a source close to Kelly, an administration official and a GOP source close to the White House.
Sources caution, however, that President Donald Trump has not made a final decision and could change his mind. The White House officially declined to comment and Nielsen has not responded to a request for comment.
"The decision wouldn't have been made without the chief of staff's endorsement," a source close to Kelly said, referring to his involvement.
This source adds that Nielsen will be the first person to be nominated who used to work in the department.
"She would have far more knowledge than any secretary entering that job," the source said, adding that she has built relationships with every member of the Cabinet and all the senior DHS staffers, travels with the President, and is in every meeting that Kelly attends.
"The President has confidence in her," the source added.
News of Nielsen's expected selection was first reported by Politico.
Nielsen previously worked as Kelly's chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security and then followed him into the White House when he replaced Reince Priebus as Trump's White House chief of staff at the end of July. However, this was not her first time working in the White House, as she previously served in President George W. Bush's administration as the special assistant for prevention, preparedness and response on the Homeland Security Council.
Before being named DHS chief of staff in January, Nielsen was the president of Sunesis Consulting, a risk and security management consulting firm.
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