Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano speaks about the effects of the sequester from the White House in Washington February 25, 2013. Reuters / Kevin Lamarque

Janet Napolitano, the U.S. secretary of Homeland Security and former governor of Arizona, is expected to resign her Cabinet post today and be named the next president of the University of California system.

An executive search committee of UC regents focused on Napolitano very early on in a very secretive process, according to the LA Times.

Napolitano, 55, is a Democrat and will be the university system's first female leader in its 145-year history, replacing outgoing UC president, Mark G. Yudof.

The search committee believes that Napolitano's Cabinet-level experience, which includes responding to hurricanes and tornadoes and also terror prevention, will help the institutions administer their high-level projects such as federal energy and nuclear weapons labs and federally funded research, according to the search committee's leader, Sherry Lansing.

The UC regents are expected to approve her nomination as 20th president during a meeting in San Francisco July 18, in time for her to be in place by September.

The UC system, which includes UCLA and Cal Berkeley, has an annual budget of $24 billion, 230,000 students, 191,000 faculty and staff, five medical centers and three national laboratories.