A low-profile office in the Department of Homeland Security can steer the Biden administration’s major decisions on immigration, cybersecurity, and other vexing issues. Much will hinge on how its new leader exerts his influence.
Robert Silvers has been on the job just four months as DHS’s under secretary for strategy, policy, and plans, a role Congress elevated in 2016 to strengthen headquarters’ coordination. It’s a potentially significant but untested title — going largely unfilled during the Trump administration.
Silvers aims to untangle some of DHS’s most complicated problems, including combating ransomware and securing the southern border as migrants have crossed into the U.S. in record numbers.
“I see our office as the nerve center of this department,” he said in an interview. “We’re the office that says, ‘This is what we want to do, and this is how we do it.’”
Former officials and advocates say they hope Silvers can boost the office’s clout and use it to improve decision-making in the disjointed Cabinet agency, the third largest.
“The policy office has a real opportunity to be that connective tissue for the department,” said Carrie Cordero, a senior fellow at the research group Center for a New American Security.
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