Can anyone fill Janet Napolitano’s shoes? 

It’s been two months since the Homeland Security secretary announced her plans to resign, but the White House still isn’t close to settling on a replacement, according to administration officials familiar with the search.

At least two potential candidates have rebuffed their advances. One of those is Michele Flournoy, a former deputy secretary of Defense who is deeply respected for both her policy and management skills. It’s unclear why Flournoy wasn't interested in the position (she was traveling and did not respond to a request for comment) but one possibility is that Flournoy, who was among those in the running this year to replace Leon Panetta as Defense secretary, would rather wait out the possibility of getting the top Pentagon job—either later in the Obama administration or in a future Democratic administration.

The sources did not reveal the name of the second potential candidate, apart from saying it was an individual who has experience running a large organization.

At the same time, two names that have repeatedly been mentioned in media reports as top candidates have not been in the running at all, according to administration officials. Thad Allen, a retired admiral and the ex-commandant of the Coast Guard, was assumed to be a likely candidate in part because of his widely praised response to Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill in 2010. Allen is also said to be a skilled manager and has considerable bipartisan support on Capitol Hill. But according to two administration officials, Allen has not been interviewed for the job. 

Nor has John Pistole, the administrator of the Transportation Security Administration, a DHS sub-agency, who has quietly expressed interest in succeeding Napolitano, according to a senior administration official. Pistole also served as deputy FBI director until 2010.

Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill and among former DHS officials, the delay in filling in the role is beginning to provoke some anxiety.

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