Press Office U.S. Department of Homeland Security Press Release February 16, 2005
WASHINGTON Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff today announced John F. Wood as Chief of Staff and Brian R. Besanceney as Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
As Chief of Staff, Wood will oversee the Departments policy, planning and operations responsibilities. Wood most recently served at the Department of Justice (DOJ) as Counselor to the Attorney General, where he oversaw the Departments Civil, Civil Rights, Antitrust, Tax, and Environment Divisions and DOJs civil terrorism litigation. From 2002 to 2003, Wood served at the White House as Deputy General Counsel for the Office of Management and Budget, where he helped to develop the Administrations major legislative, regulatory, management, and appropriations initiatives, including the legislation that created the Department of Homeland Security. He began his service in the Administration in 2001 as Deputy Associate Attorney General and Counsel to the Associate Attorney General for the Justice Department, helping to oversee the Departments five civil litigating divisions. From 1998 to 2001, Wood was an Associate in the law firm of Kirkland and Ellis. He clerked at the U.S. Supreme Court for Justice Clarence Thomas from 1997 to 1998 and for Judge J. Michael Luttig on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit from 1996 to 1997. Previously, he served on the staff of Senator John C. Danforth (R-Missouri). Wood is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia.
As Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, Besanceney will manage both internal and external communications for the Department and all of its component directorates, as well as provide management and oversight to the Office of Public Affairs. Prior to joining the Department of Homeland Security, Besanceney served as Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Communications at the White House where he developed and implemented communication strategies on a wide range of public policy issues. He also acted as principal spokesperson for the White House Homeland Security Council, which coordinates government-wide homeland security policy for the President. From March 2001 to January 2003, Besanceney served as Director of Domestic Policy Communications at the White House. From 1996 to 2001, he worked as communications director for U.S. Rep. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), managing media relations and communications. Previously, he worked for several public affairs consulting firms in the Washington D.C. area. Besanceney earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in history and political science at the Ohio State University.