Obama Appoints First Woman to Head Secret Service

President Obama today appointed Julia A. Pierson to replace Mark Sullivan as head of the Secret Service.

Sullivan stepped down last months after three decades at the agency. The Center for Investigative Reporting noted yesterday that Sullivan is staring a global security firm with ex-chief of staff to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Chicago White Sox and Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf.

Pierson, who was a police officer in Orlando, Fla., before joining the Secret Service as an agent in 1983, will be the first woman to head the agency.

"Over her 30 years of experience with the Secret Service, Julia has consistently exemplified the spirit and dedication the men and women of the service demonstrate every day. A veteran of the Miami and Orlando field offices, where she began her career at the Secret Service, Julia has served as the Deputy Assistant Director of the Office of Protective Operations, Assistant Director of Human Resources and Training, and most recently as the Chief of Staff," Obama said in a statement.

"Julia is eminently qualified to lead the agency that not only safeguards Americans at major events and secures our financial system, but also protects our leaders and our first families, including my own. Julia has had an exemplary career, and I know these experiences will guide her as she takes on this new challenge to lead the impressive men and women of this important agency.”

“The President’s appointment of Julia Pierson as the new Director of the U.S. Secret Service is welcome news and a proud milestone as Ms. Pierson becomes the first woman to lead the agency," said Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.). "Ms. Pierson’s vast experience has prepared her to lead this agency with its critical protective, investigative and cybersecurity missions. As Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, I look forward to working with Ms. Pierson as she helps usher in a new chapter for the U.S. Secret Service."

Sullivan led the Secret Service for seven years, including during the 2009 White House state dinner party-crashers and 2012 Columbian prostitute scandals.