Jeh Johnson Confirmed as Homeland Security Secretary

He will take over a department that is plagued by low morale and leadership vacancies.

Jeh Johnson speaks after he was nominated by US President Barack Obama to be the next Homeland Security secretary during a press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House on October 18, 2013 in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
National Journal
Jordain Carney
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Jordain Carney
Dec. 16, 2013, 1:35 p.m.

The De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cur­ity has a new Sec­ret­ary Monday, after the Sen­ate voted 78 to 16 to con­firm Jeh John­son.

The vote on the former Pentagon law­yer marks the end of widely ex­pec­ted con­firm­a­tion, which was made al­most in­ev­it­able by Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Harry Re­id’s de­cision to go nuc­le­ar last month.

Twenty-three Re­pub­lic­ans voted for John­son’s nom­in­a­tion. 

Minor­ity Lead­er Mitch Mc­Con­nell, who voted against him, railed against Re­id’s de­cision on Tues­day morn­ing be­fore the Sen­ate took up a slate of nom­in­ees. The Ken­tucky Re­pub­lic­an called it a “grave mis­take” and tied it to what he be­lieves is a lar­ger nar­rat­ive of the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion and Demo­crats not play­ing by the rules.

“This vote isn’t about any one nom­in­ee”¦ It’s about an at­ti­tude on the left that says the ends jus­ti­fy the means,” he said, be­fore the Sen­ate voted on the first nom­in­a­tion.

John­son re­ceived bi­par­tis­an sup­port, though pos­sible holds by Re­pub­lic­an Sens. John Mc­Cain of Ari­zona, and Lind­sey Gra­ham of South Car­o­lina, at times threatened his path to con­firm­a­tion. Gra­ham’s hold wasn’t spe­cif­ic to John­son but against all nom­in­ees in an at­tempt to get sur­viv­ors of the Benghazi ter­ror­ist at­tack to testi­fy be­fore mem­bers of Con­gress.

Mc­Cain battled with John­son dur­ing his con­firm­a­tion hear­ing last month over a re­quest for in­form­a­tion on bor­der se­cur­ity. The Ari­zona Re­pub­lic­an told the As­so­ci­ated Press that the nom­in­ee “re­fused to tell me that he would give me the in­form­a­tion as to what is ne­ces­sary to have 90 per­cent ef­fect­ive con­trol of our bor­der.”

But John­son was passed out of the Sen­ate Home­land Se­cur­ity and Gov­ern­ment­al Af­fairs Com­mit­tee by a voice vote, with Mc­Cain and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., be­ing ad­ded to the re­cord as no votes.

He re­ceived bi­par­tis­an praise dur­ing the com­mit­tee’s vote, with Sen. Tom Coburn, the com­mit­tee’s rank­ing mem­ber, not­ing that while he thinks the Home­land Se­cur­ity De­part­ment is dys­func­tion­al, he con­siders John­son an “open and hon­est broker.”

John­son is tak­ing over an agency with a wide ar­ray of at times dis­join­ted mis­sions that has had to deal with low mor­ale and holes in its lead­er­ship team.

He pre­vi­ously worked in the Pentagon help­ing de­vel­op some of coun­try’s top coun­terter­ror­ism policies. He is re­pla­cing Janet Na­pol­it­ano, who stepped down in Septem­ber to be­come the first fe­male pres­id­ent of the Uni­versity of Cali­for­nia. Rand Beers has stepped in as the act­ing sec­ret­ary since then.

What We're Following See More »
PLENTY OF MISTAKES IN COVERT TESTS
Report: U.S. Ill-Equipped to Detect Dirty Bomb
1 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

A DHS report "found gaping holes in domestic nuclear detection and defense capabilities and massive failures during covert testing." A team put in place to assess our readiness capabilities found significant issues in detecting dangerous radioactive and nuclear materials, failing to do so in 30 percent of covert tests conducted over the course of the year. In far too many cases, the person operating the detection device had no idea how to use it. And when the operator did get a hit, he or she relayed sensitive information over unsecured open radio channels."

Source:
WON’T INTERFERE IN STRUCTURING NSC OFFICE
White House to Give McMaster Carte Blanche
4 hours ago
THE LATEST
RESTROOM ISSUES RETURN
Trump To Rescind Trans Protections
5 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Donald Trump is planning to reverse an Obama-era order requiring that schools allow students to use the bathroom that coincides with their gender identity. Trump "has green-lighted the plan for the Justice Department and Education Department to send a “Dear Colleague” letter to schools rescinding the guidance." A case is going before the Supreme Court on March 28 in which Gavin Grimm, a transgender high school student, is suing his high school for forbidding him to use the men's room.

Source:
NAIVE, RISK TAKER
Russia Compiling Dossier on Trump’s Mind
6 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

Retired Russian diplomats and members of Vladimir Putin's staff are compiling a dossier "on Donald Trump's psychological makeup" for the Russian leader. "Among its preliminary conclusions is that the new American leader is a risk-taker who can be naïve, according to a senior Kremlin adviser."

Source:
“HORRIBLE” AND “PAINFUL”
Trump Addresses Threats On Jewish Community Centers
8 hours ago
THE DETAILS
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login