Florida’s 1st Chief Resilience Officer To Become Trump’s Homeland Security Adviser

Feb 21, 2020

Florida’s first-ever chief resilience officer, Julia Nesheiwat, has been hired as President Donald Trump’s new homeland security adviser.

Nesheiwat's appointment was announced by Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Trump ally, in August of 2019 to help Florida prepare for the effects of climate change and sea level rise. 

Since she took office, in late July, Nesheiwat has been traveling around the state and meeting with local leaders as she compiles a list of vulnerability assessments and best-practices to be included in a state-wide resilience plan that’s in the works. 

Related: Florida’s First-Ever State Resilience Officer Is In Listening Mode

Before coming to Florida, Nesheiwat served as the Deputy Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, overseeing diplomatic efforts to secure the safe return of American hostages being held overseas. She has held various positions at the federal level since 2004, mostly working on issues related to energy, the environment, and intelligence.

Earlier in her career, Nesheiwat served consecutive tours in Afghanistan and Iraq as a U.S. Army Military Intelligence officer.

Now she will be replacing Coast Guard Rear Adm. Peter Brown, who served about six months  as Trump’s homeland security adviser. In her new role, Nesheiwat will be tasked with advising the President on homeland security and counterterrorism issues.

In a text message to WJCT News, Nesheiwat wrote she’ll also “be covering resiliency for the nation.”

Nesheiwat said now that she will be overseeing FEMA and other agencies working on issues related to resiliency, she’ll be able to help Florida and other states with coordination, which she focused on during her time as CRO.

“The key is communities working together,” she said in an earlier interview with WJCT’s digital magazine ADAPT about her role as Florida’s resilience officer. “That really makes a difference, based on what I’ve seen.”

Meanwhile, legislation is moving in the Florida House and Senate that would establish a state-wide resiliency office under the governor.

Nesheiwat joining the White House was first reported by POLITICO.

Brendan Rivers can be reached at brivers@wjct.org, 904-358-6396 or on Twitter at @BrendanRivers.