DHS Secretary Nominee Testifies Before Key Committee With Strong Bipartisan Support

WASHINGTON – Today, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, chaired by Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), held a hearing to consider the nomination of Jeh Johnson, President Obama’s pick to be the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

If confirmed, Mr. Johnson would be the fourth Secretary of the agency, which was established in March 2003. During the hearing, he answered Committee members’ questions regarding current and potential DHS policies, existing and emerging challenges within the Department and the state of our nation’s security, as well as his vision and plans for leading this critical agency.

He has received bipartisan support from a number of prominent former government officials, including former DHS Secretaries Tom Ridge, Michael Chertoff and Janet Napolitano, former DoD Secretaries Robert Gates and Leon Panetta, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Admiral Mike Mullen, Frances Townsend, the former Homeland Security Advisor for President George W. Bush, and several law enforcement groups. Click here for copies of letters of support received by the Committee.

Mr. Johnson’s career has included both private practice and distinguished public service, including serving as Assistant United States Attorney from the Southern District of New York, General Counsel of the Department of the Air Force, and General Counsel of the Department of Defense.

Chairman Carper: “As we all know, the President has asked Jeh Johnson to take on a difficult and demanding job. Fortunately for our nation, he is a strong leader and well-prepared to face the challenges that will await him. He has been confirmed by the Senate twice before–once as the Air Force’s top lawyer and once as the top lawyer for the entire Department of Defense (DoD).  For four years, he was a major player in running the Defense Department, where he provided key advice and strategic counsel to two exceptional Defense Secretaries – Bob Gates and Leon Panetta – giving him invaluable experience for the huge task to which he has been nominated. I appreciate his willingness to serve the people of this country in this new role. I strongly support Mr. Johnsons’ nomination and call on my colleagues – both Democrat and Republican – to join me in voting to confirm him as soon as possible.” 

Joint Statement of Former DHS Secretaries Tom Ridge, Michael Chertoff, and Janet Napolitano: “Mr. Johnson’s experience and ability make him an eminently qualified nominee. His service at the highest levels of the U.S. Department of Defense, the largest government agency in the world, provided him a keen understanding of and the logistics required to successfully execute large-scale, operational missions of varying complexity and purpose.”

Former DoD Secretary Robert Gates: “Take my word for it: [Jeh Johnson] has successfully managed an array of major initiatives across the biggest bureaucracy in the government – and, in so doing, won the esteem of virtually everyone with whom he worked.”

Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen: “Jeh Johnson is as fine a person and professional as I have ever met. I am confident in his choice and that he will succeed in leading this most complex organization at a critical time in our country.”

U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey: “Johnson will bring to DHS not only experience but also a frame of mind that should be a source of assurance to anyone concerned with the security of this country.  He understands both the issues and the stakes, and will make an excellent Secretary.”