In February, Megan J. Brennan, U.S. Postal Service chief operating officer and longtime postal employee becomes the nation’s first female Postmaster General, replacing the retiring Patrick Donahoe.
On the face of it, the USPS seems scared to choose outside its ranks right now considering both Donahoe and his predecessor Jack Potter were both postal careerists http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2014/pr14_061.htm.
On the other hand, maybe Brennan will use as a role model Moya Greene, her counterpart at the U.K.’s Royal Mail who’s an avowed fan and practitioner of privatization. Earlier in her career, Greene sold off the Canadian National Railway when she was Assistant Deputy Minister for Transport Canada http://www.royalmailgroup.com/about-us/management-committees/group-executive-team/moya-greene.
But even before she gets her feet wet as the Postmaster General Brennan will have to put out a few fires.
Earlier this month, reports surfaced that Chinese hackers allegedly broke into the U.S. Postal Service’s computer networks and committed a serious data breach on 800,000 or so postal employees, uncovering their names, addresses, social security numbers and other sensitive information.
According to the Washington Post, this alleged data breach was made public just as President Obama opened up trade talks in Beijing http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2014/11/10/china-suspected-of-breaching-u-s-postal-service-computer-networks/.
Who knows how far this data breach really went? So far we know it affected the USPS’s approximately 800,000 employees. Could the intrusion have extended as far as ordinary users of the mail? The FBI is reportedly still investigating the matter.
An even bigger question: how far can the U.S. government pursue this matter when China holds so much debt to the Chinese which in some circles has been accused of essentially owing this country?
The U.S. government even admits as much, estimating that the Chinese hold about $1.2 trillion in U.S. debt tight now http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/moneymatters/ss/How-Much-US-Debt-Does-China-Own.htm.
But all this may be a sideshow when there are a host of core postal issues to deal with such as the closure of distribution facilities slated for early next month as well as the misguided and shortsighted selloff of post offices around the country. Not to mention the USPS’s stalled efforts to sell postal products through Staples office supply stores.
After this, Brennan will undoubtedly have to face a new Republican dominated Congress that will likely be gunning for more privatization of the USPS, which lost $5.5 billion for the year ended Sept. 30.