Homeland Security

Senate confirms new DHS secretary

Jeh Johnson

Key lawmakers welcomed the confirmation of Jeh Johnson, the newly approved head of the Department of Homeland Security, and hope his ascension marks a turning point in filling a depleted roster of bosses at DHS.

The Senate confirmed Johnson the evening of Dec. 16 on a vote of 78-16. Johnson will be the fourth DHS secretary, filling the vacancy left by Janet Napolitano, who left in September to become president of the University of California System. Johnson, the former general counsel for the Defense Department, was nominated by President Barack Obama in October.

Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) lauded the confirmation and said Johnson's confirmation could be a critical step in filling chronic vacancies in several other top management positions at the department.

"I have been concerned for many months about the high number of senior level vacancies at DHS. In fact, the department has been without a Senate-confirmed deputy secretary since April and without a Senate confirmed secretary since early September," Carper said.

Other crucial vacancies include the heads of Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as well as the inspector general’s post, Carper said. 

Carper’s House counterpart echoed his sentiments.

"Mr. Johnson must tackle the alarming number of vacancies in DHS’s top ranks, and I was pleased to hear that finally filling this leadership void will be one of his top priorities," House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas), said in a statement following the Senate vote.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a staff writer at FCW.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • Social network, census

    5 predictions for federal IT in 2017

    As the Trump team takes control, here's what the tech community can expect.

  • Rep. Gerald Connolly

    Connolly warns on workforce changes

    The ranking member of the House Oversight Committee's Government Operations panel warns that Congress will look to legislate changes to the federal workforce.

  • President Donald J. Trump delivers his inaugural address

    How will Trump lead on tech?

    The businessman turned reality star turned U.S. president clearly has mastered Twitter, but what will his administration mean for broader technology issues?

  • Login.gov moving ahead

    The bid to establish a single login for accessing government services is moving again on the last full day of the Obama presidency.

  • Shutterstock image (by Jirsak): customer care, relationship management, and leadership concept.

    Obama wraps up security clearance reforms

    In a last-minute executive order, President Obama institutes structural reforms to the security clearance process designed to create a more unified system across government agencies.

  • Shutterstock image: breached lock.

    What cyber can learn from counterterrorism

    The U.S. has to look at its experience in developing post-9/11 counterterrorism policies to inform efforts to formalize cybersecurity policies, says a senior official.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group