U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is set to resign in order to take a new position as president of the University of California system. She will be starting her new position in September, an administration official tells CBS News.
Napolitano has served as head of the Homeland Security Department since 2009. She is the first woman to lead the department, which was created after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Before that, Napolitano served as governor of Arizona.
As DHS Secretary, Napolitano oversaw a $60 billion budget and more than 240,000 employees in several agencies, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Coast Guard.
In a statement, Napolitano called serving as DHS secretary the highlight of her professional career.
"The Department has improved the safety of travelers; implemented smart steps that make our immigration system more fair and focused while deploying record resources to protect our nation's borders; worked with states to build resiliency and make our nation's emergency and disaster response capabilities more robust; and partnered with the private sector to improve our cybersecurity," she said.
President Obama said in a statement that Americans are safer and more secure because of Napolitano's leadership.
"She's worked around the clock to respond to natural disasters, from the Joplin tornado to Hurricane Sandy, helping Americans recover and rebuild," he said. "Since day one, Janet has led my administration's effort to secure our borders, deploying a historic number of resources, while also taking steps to make our immigration system fairer and more consistent with our values."
The UC regents are expected to approve Napolitano's nomination on Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reports. The 10-campus university system has typically had leaders with backgrounds in academia or campus administration, but Napolitano's background in politics should help the university system's relationships with lawmakers, alumni and parents at a time of significant budget constraints. Her experience in anti-terrorism and disaster relief should also help the UC system foster its federally-funded research, according to the L.A. Times.