Johnson plans DHS departure

Jack Johnson Jr., the Homeland Security Department's chief security officer, announced he will resign effective Feb. 19.

He served in that capacity since January 2003 as a detailee from the U.S. Secret Service, where he was deputy assistant director until he was formally appointed by Secretary Tom Ridge in December 2003.

"Jack has worked tirelessly to create the security infrastructure for the department's personnel, information and facilities," said Ridge, who himself will resign Feb. 1, in a prepared statement. "In building the framework for our security practices, he has contributed not only to a successful first two years, but to the future operations of the department."

The chief security officer directs the department's security-related activities, including personnel, administrative, physical, technical, counterintelligence, and operational security policies and procedures as well as investigations, inspections and special security related programs. Johnson's office also supports the chief information officer in security policies and procedures as they relate to classified information technology.

One of Johnson's main initiatives is to develop a single database for departmental security clearances nationwide that would include employees, contractors, detailees, and state and local as well as private-sector individuals. He was also collaborating with the CIO's office in developing a cyber and physical access control card system.

"Many of the initiatives we are involved with remind me of the old 'Star Trek' commercials," he said at a security symposium in Washington, D.C., last November. "In other words, go where no man has gone before. Quite frankly that's where we're going in DHS."

Johnson is the latest administrative official to announce his departure from DHS. Last week, Robert Liscouski, assistant secretary for infrastructure protection within the Office of Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection, announced he would be leaving in early February to return to the private sector. Also Gen. Frank Libutti, who is the office's undersecretary, will be leaving in February.

Other high-profile resignations include Adm. James Loy, the department's second in command who will step down March, and Suzanne Mencer, who headed the state and local coordination and preparedness office. She will leave Jan. 31.

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