President Donald Trump announced today in a tweet that he will nominate Chad Wolf as Secretary of Homeland Security.

Key points:

  • Wolf has served as Acting Secretary of Homeland Security since November 2019, and has not gone through the Senate confirmation process because he was never officially nominated to the cabinet-level position.
  • The announcement of the formal nomination comes after a Government Accountability Office report found that Wolf’s appointment as Acting DHS Secretary was unlawful in violation of agency succession rules.
  • Multiple lawsuits are in progress that challenge DHS regulations, memoranda and policies, and some allege that they are invalid because they were introduced under an improperly appointed Acting Secretary.

Background: On Aug. 14, the Government Accountability Office concluded in a report that Acting Secretary Wolf and Ken Cuccinelli, who serves as Senior Official Performing the Duties of Deputy Secretary, were improper. DHS issued a response opposing the report, and last week the GAO denied the agency’s request to change its decision.

BAL Analysis: Wolf’s confirmation will now need to be approved by the Senate. It remains unclear whether DHS policies during Wolf’s tenure as Acting DHS Secretary are at risk of being overturned by courts. BAL is following the various lawsuits and will report developments as they progress through the courts.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact

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