Rand Beers : biography
Rand Beers is the current Under Secretary of Homeland Security for National Protection and Programs. Beers was appointed as Under Secretary by President Barack Obama on June 19, 2009.
As Under Secretary, Beers direct the Department’s integrated efforts to reduce risks to physical, cyber and communications infrastructures. NPPD collaborates with all levels of government, the private sector, non-government organizations, and international bodies to prevent, respond to, and mitigate threats to U.S. national security from acts of terrorism, natural disasters, and other catastrophic events.
As Under Secretary for NPPD, Beers oversees the coordinated operational and policy functions of the Directorate’s subcomponents – Federal Protective Service (FPS), Cybersecurity and Communications (CS&C), Infrastructure Protection (IP), Risk Management and Analysis (RMA), and the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) program – in support of the Department’s critical mission.
Beers has served as Counselor to Secretary Janet Napolitano since January 21, 2009 and will continue in that capacity while directing the activities of NPPD. Before his appointment, he was the co-leader of the Department of Homeland Security Transition Team for the incoming Obama administration. Prior to the 2008 election, Beers was president of the National Security Network, a Washington, D.C.-based foreign policy think tank he founded in 2006 to foster discussion of progressive national security ideas around the country, and an Adjunct Lecturer at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
Beers began his professional career as a Marine officer and rifle company commander in Vietnam (1964–1968). He entered the Foreign Service in 1971 and transferred to the Civil Service in 1983. He served most of his career in the Department of State, including as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Regional Affairs in the Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs, focusing on the Middle East and Persian Gulf (1992–1993). He was Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (1998–2002).
Beers also served on the NSC Staff under the previous four Presidents: Director for Counter-terrorism and Counter-narcotics (1988–1992), Director for Peacekeeping (1993–1995), and Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Intelligence Programs (1995–1998), and Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Combating Terrorism on the NSC Staff (2002–2003). He resigned from the NSC Staff in March 2003, retired from government service in April 2003, and served as national security advisor for the Kerry-Edwards campaign (2003–2004).
Beers earned a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and a master’s degree from the University of Michigan.
John McCain controversy
Beers stirred up controversy with remarks he made at an event hosted by the Center for American Progress in June 2008. The event, dubbed "McCain University," was a comprehensive effort to illustrate John McCain’s policy proposals in the context of the 2008 Presidential Election. During the Question and Answer portion of the event, Beers noted that "his [John McCain’s] national security experience […] is sadly limited" due to the fact that "he was in isolation essentially for many of those years and did not experience the turmoil here or the challenges that were involved for those of us who served in Vietnam during the Vietnam war." These comments elicited widespread criticism from conservative observers such as Rush Limbaugh and Karl Rove, as well as a variety of right-wing blogs.