(Fifth in a BorderLines' series on the Border Security Industrial Complex.)
Michael Chertoff, former secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, has taken his portfolio over to the private sector. Homeland security is business – an estimated $200 billion in annual revenues – and the newly formed Chertoff Group wants a major stake in this booming industry.
As the latest homeland security consulting firm, Chertoff Group will be competing with two other security companies formed by top Republican Party figures: Ashcroft Group founded by former Attorney General John Ashcroft; and Guiliani Group, formed by former New York City mayor and presidential candidate Rudolf Guiliani. Although not specially focused on homeland security, Ridge Global, formed by the first DHS secretary Tom Ridge, also has a piece of the expanding global security industry.
The Chertoff Group has a leg up on its competitors. The revolving door between government and industry has brought a half-dozen former high government officials of the Bush administration into the Chertoff Group.
Not only does it count on the political and business connections of Chertoff, the new firm has a roster of five other former government officials that can translate government experience into lucrative industry contracts.
Chertoff boasts, “Among the six of us we pretty much have all of those things in DHS, in DoD, and the Department of Justice, law enforcement and finally, in the intelligence community. So we have pretty much every element of homeland security covered.”
The Faces of the New Homeland Security Complex
The Chertoff’s associates who will be covering all the elements of homeland security business include figures with long experience in intelligence, industry contracting, and international banking.
Chad Sweet, Chertoff’s chief-of-staff at DHS, cofounded the Chertoff Group and will direct the firm’s operations. Another principal in the Chertoff Group is Chad Sweet, who served as Secretary Chertoff’s chief-of-staff and is cofounder of this new security group. According to his company profile, Sweet worked at DHS “to restructure and optimize the flow of information between the CIA, FBI and other members of the national security community and DHS. Mr. Sweet also supported the Secretary during numerous operations to detect, disrupt and respond to terrorist plots both in the United States and oversea.” Before joining DHS Sweet was a vice-president at Morgan Stanley and then at Goldman Sachs, with a special focus on international investments. Sweet came to Wall Street after “having helped to fight the threat of Communism” at the CIA, where he was in the agency's Directorate of Operations.
In his new position, Sweet “utilizes his unique background in intelligence, homeland security and investment banking to provide M&A advice to companies wishing to expand within the defense, aerospace and security industries, and to help private capital groups evaluate investment opportunities within the sector."
Other principals at Chertoff Group are also former government heavies, including former CIA director (2005-2009) Michael Hayden, who also directed the National Security Agency (1999-2005); DHS deputy Paul Schneider (who prior to his position at DHS was head of acquisitions for NSA and the U.S. Navy); Ret. Admiral Jay Cohen, who was DHS director of science and technology and previously the Navy’s technology chief, and Charlie Allen, who was the intelligence chief at DHS and, according to Michael Chertoff, “pretty much head of everything you could be for the CIA and head of national collections.”
Photo: Michael Chertoff