Johnson Named Homeland Security Secretary

Spring 2014

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Jeh C. Johnson ’82 was recently named head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. In this role, he leads the country’s national security efforts, including protection against foreign and domestic terrorism, cyberattacks, and border threats.

“I am honored to assume the important responsibilities of this office,” Johnson said during his swearing-in ceremony. “The men and women of the Department of Homeland Security deserve strong leadership, and I look forward to supporting them every day as we work together to make our communities and our nation safer, more secure, and more resilient.”

Since assuming his post, Johnson has worked on initiatives related to U.S. border security and emergency preparedness and response. He recently traveled to Poland to attend the G6 ministerial meeting, and has met with state and local officials to ensure continued coordination of homeland security efforts.

Prior to joining the Department of Homeland Security, Johnson served as general counsel of the U.S. Department of Defense, where he oversaw more than 10,000 military and civilian lawyers. From 2009 to 2012, he developed the legal facets of U.S. counterterrorism policy, and, in 2010, he co-authored a report that is widely credited with paving the way for the repeal of the U.S. military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

Prior to joining the Defense Department, Johnson was a partner and litigator at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in New York City. He also previously served as an assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and as general counsel of the Department of the Air Force.

In 2012, Columbia Law School awarded Johnson the Medal for Excellence, the Law School’s highest honor. He received the Lawrence A. Wien Prize for Social Responsibility in 2009.

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Jeh. C. Johnson