Chad F. Wolf

Chad F. Wolf

Former Visiting Fellow, Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy

Chad Wolf was a visiting fellow in the Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy at The Heritage Foundation.

This expert is no longer a staff member at The Heritage Foundation.

Chad Wolf joined The Heritage Foundation as a visiting fellow in February 2021 after serving as Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in the Trump administration. In his role at Heritage, Wolf worked on projects related to national security, China, and cyber policy.

Wolf served at the Department of Homeland Security under both President George W. Bush and President Donald J. Trump. He held numerous senior-level positions, including Assistant Administrator for Transportation Security, Assistant Secretary, Chief of Staff, and was the first Senate-confirmed Under Secretary for Policy. 

From November 2019 to January 2021, Wolf served as the Acting Secretary. He oversaw an annual budget of approximately $47 billion, managed over 240,000 employees in 22 operating components and agencies, including the fifth branch of the armed services, the U.S. Coast Guard.  

Wolf is a nationally recognized expert in counterterrorism, law enforcement, border security, immigration, emergency management, critical infrastructure, and economic security. During his time at DHS, he successfully navigated numerous global and domestic challenges to the nation’s security, including COVID-19, civil unrest, numerous border and immigration crises, historic natural disasters, and threats to global aviation security.  

In addition to providing operational direction to DHS, Wolf advanced many of the department’s critical priorities across the entire homeland security enterprise. His strategic guidance led to the department’s first ever 2019-2022 Strategic Plan and Strategic Framework for Countering Terrorism and Targeted Violence. He also directed the development of the department’s 2020 Homeland Threat Assessment, inaugural Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking, the Importation of Goods Produced with Forced Labor, and Child Sexual Exploitation and created the department’s first-ever Center for Countering Human Trafficking.  

Recognizing the rise in e-commerce, changing global trade dynamics, and complex threats, Wolf personally led efforts to ensure the department properly defined, resourced, and focus on the evolving economic challenges and threats facing the nation. Under his leadership, DHS established the Economic Security Policy Council, published the 2020 Economic Security Assessment, and directed the implementation of the Homeland Security Advisory Council Economic Security Report’s recommendations.

Wolf has testified numerous times before Congress and appears regularly on cable and network news to discuss homeland security threats, policies and issues.  

He has received the U.S. Secretary of Transportation 9/11 Medal, the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Distinguished Service Medal, and the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal.  

Prior to his service at DHS, he spent over 10 years in the private sector helping clients manage risks and shaping policy outcomes on key legislative, regulatory, and commercial issues. During this time, Wolf focused on a range of issues including homeland security, defense, financial services as well as corporate reputation and political branding. Earlier in his career, Wolf worked on Capitol Hill.

Wolf earned his bachelor of arts in history from Southern Methodist University and holds a master’s certificate in government contract management from Villanova University.