Homeland Security chief wins approval
By Gannett News Service
Published: Monday, Dec. 16, 2013, 8:12 p.m.
WASHINGTON — The Senate voted on Monday to confirm Jeh Johnson to head the Department of Homeland Security as a backlog of vacancies persists among other senior leadership positions.
The vote was 78-16.
Johnson, 56, who is black and grew up in Wappingers Falls, N.Y., adds to the racial diversity of the Obama administration's second-term Cabinet. Attorney General Eric Holder and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, former mayor of Charlotte, are black.
Johnson was general counsel for the Defense Department during President Obama's first term. He served as general counsel to the Air Force during the last 27 months of the Clinton administration.
He succeeds Janet Napolitano, who was the department's secretary for more than 41⁄2 years before resigning in September to become president of the University of California.
The Homeland Security Department has been a cabinet-level agency since March 2003 as part of the response to the 2001 terrorist attacks. It serves as a central bureaucracy for a number of agencies, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Coast Guard, the Secret Service, the Transportation Security Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Fourteen other senior administrative positions at the department, all subject to Senate confirmation, are vacant.
The Customs and Border Protection agency is being run by its fourth acting director in five years, and the Homeland Security Department's Office of Intelligence and Analysis divisions has been run by acting leaders for nearly a year, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul, R-Texas, said at a hearing last week.
“Over 40 percent of the department's senior leadership positions are either vacant or have an acting placeholder,” McCaul said.
Last month, the White House announced a nominee to become Homeland Security inspector general, filling a position that has been without a permanent office-holder since February 2011.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Expats renounce citizenship over U.S. tax hassles
- Obama losing close adviser to end 9 years of service
- Flubbed ‘stifling’ finally ends 29-round spelling bee
- John Denver tune finally an ‘official’ W.Va. state song
- Immigrant detainees on hunger strike
- Oklahoma governor’s daughter regrets wearing Native American headdress
- Parents of ‘spoiled’ teen urge her to return home
- Wikileaks founder teases about more secrets to be released
- Obama gets in some golf on family trip to Key Largo
- Shutdown cost national parks at least $414M
- Spyware in government computers ‘has Russian paw prints all over it’