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Trump to tap Florida official as homeland security adviser

President Donald Trump has hired Julia Nesheiwat, Florida’s chief resilience officer, to be his new homeland security adviser, according to an administration official and another person familiar with the matter.

Nesheiwat joining the White House means she will work again for Robert O’Brien, Trump’s national security adviser. The two previously worked together at the State Department, where he won credit for helping free dozens of American hostages, a top issue for Trump. Nesheiwat spent four years as the U.S. presidential deputy envoy for hostage affairs and later became acting envoy when O’Brien left.
She replaces Rear Admiral Peter Brown, who only lasted around six months in the job, after taking over from Coast Guard Rear Admiral Doug Fears. Tom Bossert served as Trump’s first homeland security adviser from inauguration until April 2018 and is now an ABC News homeland security analyst.

In Florida, Nesheiwat focused on better preparing the state for its frequent natural disasters, improving the coordination of how the state responds to disasters, and finding ways to help protect its critical infrastructure. In her capacity in her job for Florida governor Ron DeSantis, she attended the Daytona 500 over the weekend, where Trump spoke to racing fans and took a spin around the track in the presidential limo.

Nesheiwat is a former captain in the U.S. Army, where she specialized in military intelligence and spent a stint in Baghdad as a political-military and operations adviser to L. Paul Bremer, who led the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq.

Nesheiwat also worked as chief of staff for policy in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in the Bush administration under John Negroponte and Mike McConnell. Afterwards, she spent seven years at the State Department, eventually rising to be deputy assistant secretary for energy, according to her LinkedIn profile.

She holds a Ph.D from the Tokyo Institute of Technology, writing her dissertation on “Post-Disaster Reconstruction in Energy Technology & Resiliency” and a master’s degree in national energy security from Georgetown University, and studied sociology at Stetson University in Florida. Her resume also says she speaks Arabic, Japanese and Spanish.

“Never in a million years while sitting here on campus as a freshman did I envision one day sitting across a table from the brilliant former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, or serving as a military intelligence officer in Iraq and Afghanistan, living and studying for a doctorate in Japan and surviving an earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown I might add,” Nesheiwat said during a speech at convocation at Stetson in 2017.