The Senate on Thursday confirmed Asa Hutchinson as undersecretary of the new Homeland Security Department, where his responsibilities will range from border control to aviation security.
Hutchinson, a former Arkansas congressman, is head of the Drug Enforcement Administration. His voice-vote approval came hours after he was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee, a day after the Senate approved former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge to head the department and a day before the agency formally comes into being.
Hutchinson, 52, will be in charge of border and transportation security, overseeing such agencies as the Customs Service, the Transportation Security Administration and the federal law enforcement training center.
The new department, as it takes shape, will pull together 170,000 civil servants from 22 agencies, which also include the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Coast Guard and other security-related offices.