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}} The United States Secretary of Homeland Security is the head of the United States Department of Homeland Security, the body concerned with protecting the U.S. and the safety of U.S. citizens. The secretary is a member of the President's Cabinet. The position was created by the Homeland Security Act following the attacks of September 11, 2001. The new department consisted primarily of components transferred from other cabinet departments because of their role in homeland security, such as the Coast Guard, the Federal Protective Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (which includes the Border Patrol), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (which includes Homeland Security Investigations), the Secret Service, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). It did not, however, include the FBI or the CIA.<ref>Homeland Security Act,


On January 20, 2009, the Senate confirmed Barack Obama's appointment of Janet Napolitano to be the third Secretary of Homeland Security,<ref>

</ref> <!–To assure a smooth transition however, Michael Chertoff was asked not to resign until the morning of–>effective January 21, 2009.<ref>Chertoff: Inauguration security forces 'ready' -</ref> Napolitano resigned effective August 2013 to head the University of California. On October 17, President Obama announced his intention to nominate former Pentagon official Jeh Johnson, and on December 16 the US Senate confirmed the nomination.<ref>Senate confirms new homeland security secretary</ref> The current Secretary, sworn in on January 20, 2017, is retired United States Marine Corps general John F. Kelly.<ref name=emerges>


Inclusion in the presidential line of succession

Traditionally, the order of the presidential line of succession is determined (after the Vice President, Speaker of the House, and President pro tempore of the Senate) by the order of the creation of the cabinet positions, and the list as mandated under

follows this tradition.

On March 9, 2006, 43rd President George W. Bush signed


, which renewed the still controversial Patriot Act of 2001 and amended the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 to include the newly created Presidential Cabinet position of Secretary of Homeland Security in the line of succession after the previously authorized Secretary of Veterans Affairs (§ 503) (which are listed and designated in the order that their departments were created). In the 109th Congress, legislation was introduced to place the Secretary of Homeland Security into the line of succession after the Attorney General but that bill expired at the end of the 109th Congress and was not re-introduced.

List of Secretaries of Homeland Security

Prior to the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security, there existed an Assistant to the President for the Office of Homeland Security, which was created following the September 11, 2001, attacks.


|Republican|border=1px solid #AAAAAA}} (2)

|Democratic|border=1px solid #AAAAAA}} (2)



No. Portrait Name State of Residence Took Office Left Office President(s)

;” |

Tom Ridge Pennsylvania January 24, 2003 February 1, 2005 rowspan=3 style=“background:

;” |

George W. Bush

James Loy Pennsylvania February 1, 2005 February 15, 2005

;” |

Michael Chertoff New Jersey February 15, 2005 January 21, 2009

;” |

Janet Napolitano Arizona January 21, 2009 September 6, 2013 rowspan=3 style=“background:

;” |

Barack Obama

Rand Beers District of Columbia September 6, 2013 December 16, 2013

;” |

Jeh Johnson New Jersey December 23, 2013 January 20, 2017

;” |

File: John Kelly official DHS portrait.jpg

John F. Kelly Virginia January 20, 2017 present style=“background:

;” |

Donald Trump

James Loy served as acting secretary in his capacity as Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security February 1—February 15, 2005.

Rand Beers served as acting secretary in his capacity as confirmed Undersecretary of Homeland Security for National Protection and Programs and Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security; Beers was the highest ranking Senate-approved presidential appointee at the Department of Homeland Security from September 6, 2013 to December 23, 2013.

Living former Secretaries of Homeland Security

As of

, there are four living former Secretaries of Homeland Security, the oldest being Tom Ridge (served 2003-2005, born 1945).

Name Term Date of birth (and age)
Tom Ridge 2003–2005

Michael Chertoff 2005–2009

Janet Napolitano 2009–2013

Jeh Johnson 2013-2017

Order of succession

The order of succession for the Secretary of Homeland Security is as follows:<ref>


  1. Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Policy (acting as Under Secretary-equivalent)
  2. General Counsel of the Department of Homeland Security
  3. Chief Financial Officer
  4. Regional Administrator, Region V, Federal Emergency Management Agency
  5. Regional Administrator, Region VI, Federal Emergency Management Agency
  6. Regional Administrator, Region VII, Federal Emergency Management Agency
  7. Regional Administrator, Region IX, Federal Emergency Management Agency
  8. Regional Administrator, Region I, Federal Emergency Management Agency

Administration-cited potential nominees

Bernard Kerik

George W. Bush nominated Bernard Kerik for the position in 2004. However a week later, Kerik withdrew his nomination, explaining that he had employed an illegal immigrant as a nanny.<ref>


Raymond Kelly

By July 2013, Raymond Kelly had served as Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) for nearly 12 straight years. Within days of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano's announcement that she was resigning, Kelly was soon cited as an obvious potential successor by New York Senator Charles Schumer and others.<ref>“Names already popping as possible Janet Napolitano replacements” By KEVIN ROBILLARD and SCOTT WONG, Politico', July 12, 2013, Retrieved 2013-07-13</ref>

<!–Kelly's proponents noted that, in addition to supervising one of the largest law enforcement organizations in the world (with nearly 50,000 uniformed and civilian personnel in the NYPD), Kelly has Clinton administration experience overseeing federal agencies as a Senate-confirmed presidential appointee, including as Commissioner of the U.S. Customs Service and as the “Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (Under Secretary for Enforcement)”, a position which at the time oversaw the Customs Service, the U.S. Secret Service, and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glencoe, Georgia; all are now part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security since 2002. –> During a July 16, 2013 interview, President Obama referred generally to the “bunch of strong candidates” for nomination to head the Department of Homeland Security, but singled out Kelly as “one of the best there is” and “very well qualified for the job”.<ref>“Obama would consider Ray Kelly to replace Janet Napolitano” By JENNIFER EPSTEIN, “Politico”, July 16, 2013, Retrieved 2013-07-17</ref>

Later in July 2013, the online internet news website/magazine Huffington Post detailed “a growing campaign to quash the potential nomination of New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly as the next secretary of the Department of Homeland Security” amid claims of “divisive, harmful, and ineffective policing that promotes stereotypes and profiling”.<ref>“Muslims Oppose Raymond Kelly Bid For Homeland Security Secretary” By Omar Sacirbey, “Huffington Post”, August 1, 2013, Retrieved 2013-08-04</ref> Days after that article, Kelly penned a statistics-heavy Wall Street Journal opinion article defending the NYPD's programs, stating “the average number of stops we conduct is less than one per officer per week” and that this and other practices have led to “7,383 lives saved—and… they are largely the lives of young men of color.”<ref>“Ray Kelly: The NYPD: Guilty of Saving 7,383 Lives” by Ray Kelly, “Opinion: The Wall Street Journal”, July 22, 2013, Retrieved 2013-08-04</ref>

Kelly was also featured because of his NYPD retirement and unusually long tenure there in a long segment on the CBS News program “Sunday Morning” in December 2013, especially raising the question of the controversial “stop and frisk” policy in New York City and the long decline and drop of various types of crimes committed.


homeland_security_secretary.txt · Last modified: 2020/03/12 18:34 (external edit)