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.
On January 20, 2009, the Senate confirmed Barack Obama's appointment of Janet Napolitano to be the third Secretary of Homeland Security, effective January 21, 2009. Napolitano resigned effective August 2013 to head the University of California. On October 17, President Obama announced his intention to nominate former General Counsel of the Department of Defense Jeh Johnson, and on December 16, the US Senate confirmed the nomination.
The current Secretary of Homeland Security is Kirstjen Nielsen following the appointment of the then-incumbent secretary, John F. Kelly, to the post of White House Chief of Staff by President Donald Trump. It was announced on October 12, 2017, that Kirstjen Nielsen was nominated as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security by President Donald Trump. She was confirmed by the Senate on December 5, 2017. The Senate confirmation vote was 62-37.
|United States Secretary of Homeland Security|
Seal of the Department of Homeland Security
Flag of the Secretary of Homeland Security
since December 6, 2017
|United States Department of Homeland Security|
Homeland Security Council
|Reports to||President of the United States|
with Senate advice and consent
|Term length||No fixed term|
|Constituting instrument||6 U.S.C. § 112|
|Formation||January 24, 2003|
|First holder||Tom Ridge|
|Deputy||Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security|
|Salary||Executive Schedule, level 1|
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 3 U.S.C. § 19 follows this tradition.
On March 7, 2006, 43rd President George W. Bush signed H.R. 3199 as Pub.L. 109–177, which renewed the 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.
Prior to the establishment of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, there existed an Assistant to the President for the Office of Homeland Security, which was created following the September 11 attacks in 2001.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Denotes
|№||Secretary of Homeland Security||Took office||Left office||Time in office||Party||State of residence||President|
|January 24, 2003||February 1, 2005||2 years, 8 days||Republican||Pennsylvania||George W. Bush (Rep)|
|February 1, 2005||February 15, 2005||14 days||Independent||Pennsylvania||George W. Bush (Rep)|
|February 15, 2005||January 21, 2009||3 years, 341 days||Republican||New Jersey||George W. Bush (Rep)|
|January 21, 2009||September 6, 2013||4 years, 228 days||Democratic||Arizona||Barack Obama (Dem)|
|September 6, 2013||December 16, 2013||101 days||Democratic||District of Columbia||Barack Obama (Dem)|
|December 23, 2013||January 20, 2017||3 years, 28 days||Democratic||New Jersey||Barack Obama (Dem)|
|5||John F. Kelly|
|January 20, 2017||July 31, 2017||192 days||Independent||Massachusetts||Donald Trump (Rep)|
|July 31, 2017||December 6, 2017||128 days||Independent||Ohio||Donald Trump (Rep)|
|December 6, 2017||Incumbent||1 year, 104 days||Independent||Florida||Donald Trump (Rep)|
2 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.
As of November 2018, all five former Secretaries of Homeland Security are still living, as are all three former acting Secretaries of Homeland Security. The oldest being former acting Secretary James Loy (born 1942).
|Name||Term||Date of birth (and age)|
|Tom Ridge||January 24, 2003 – February 1, 2005||August 26, 1945|
|Michael Chertoff||February 15, 2005 – January 21, 2009||November 28, 1953|
|Janet Napolitano||January 21, 2009 – September 6, 2013||November 29, 1957|
|Jeh Johnson||December 23, 2013 – January 20, 2017||September 11, 1957|
|John F. Kelly||January 20, 2017 – July 31, 2017||May 11, 1950|
The order of succession for the Secretary of Homeland Security is as follows:
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.
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".
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". 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."
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.
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
as Secretary of Veterans Affairs
| Order of Precedence of the United States
as Secretary of Homeland Security
John F. Kelly
as White House Chief of Staff
|U.S. presidential line of succession|
Secretary of Veterans Affairs
|18th in line||Last|
The 49th Arizona State Legislature, consisting of the Arizona State Senate and the Arizona House of Representatives, was constituted in Phoenix from January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2010, during the final month of Janet Napolitano's second term in office, prior to her resignation to become United States Secretary of Homeland Security, and the first two years of her successor, Jan Brewer. Both the Senate and the House membership remained constant at 30 and 60, respectively. The Republicans gained a seat in the Senate, increasing the majority to 18-12. The Republicans also gained two seats in the lower chamber, giving them a 35–25 majority.Charles S. Johnson
Charles Spurgeon Johnson (July 24, 1893 – October 27, 1956) was an American sociologist and college administrator, the first black president of historically black Fisk University, and a lifelong advocate for racial equality and the advancement of civil rights for African Americans and all ethnic minorities. He preferred to work collaboratively with liberal white groups in the South, quietly as a "sideline activist," to get practical results.
His position is often contrasted with that of W. E. B. Du Bois, who was a powerful and militant advocate for blacks and described Johnson as "too conservative." During Johnson's academic studies and leadership of Fisk University during the 1930s and 1940s, the South had legal racial segregation and Jim Crow discriminatory laws and practices, including having disfranchised most black voters in constitutions passed at the turn of the century. Johnson was unwavering in personal terms in his opposition to this oppressive system, yet worked hard to change race relations in terms of short-term practical gains.
His grandson Jeh Johnson served as the United States Secretary of Homeland Security from 2013 to 2017.Elaine Duke
Elaine Costanzo Duke (born June 26, 1958) is an American civil servant and former United States Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, serving from April 10, 2017 until April 15, 2018. She became acting Secretary of Homeland Security on July 31, 2017, when John F. Kelly assumed the office of White House Chief of Staff. She left the acting position on December 6, 2017, upon the confirmation of Kirstjen Nielsen.Forbes list of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women
Since 2004, Forbes has compiled a list of the 100 most powerful women in the world. It is edited by notable Forbes journalists, including Moira Forbes, and is based on visibility and economic impact. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has remained at the top spot since 2006, with the brief exception of 2010 where she was temporarily supplanted by the then U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama.Global Trade Exchange
The Global Trade Exchange (GTX) is, or was, a controversial Homeland Security intelligence project, related to maritime-ports data-mining, being one of three pillars of the Safe Ports Act-related Secure Freight Initiatives. The Global Trade Exchange has a mysterious history dating from conception in 2004, a 2007-2008 year of hype, and sudden placement on "hold" status. Described as a ready-to-buy, commercially available database, the GTX was rush-funded by Congress as part of and championed relentlessly by then-United States Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff in evident disregard of objections of confused and frustrated U.S. private sector trade groups. After a year-long spate of official support, media hype, and after award of Congressional funding of $13 million, the GTX was put "on hold for further study by the [U.S.] Navy" in April 2008, for reasons still yet to-be explained. Touted by senior U.S. officials and Congress in 2007 as an anti-terrorism database for tracking long-haul shipping containers, the Global Trade Exchange's principal focus appears to have a different focus, notably advance trade-finance information for market-making purposes.
The Global Trade Exchange (GTX) was mentioned in a 2007 Wikileaks cable as an intelligence agency trade data project, run by the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Patrol, intended to involve many other intelligence agencies worldwide.H-2B visa
The H-2B visa nonimmigrant program permits employers to hire foreign workers to come temporarily to the United States and perform temporary nonagricultural services or labor on a one-time, seasonal, peakload or intermittent basis.The H-2B visa classification requires the United States Secretary of Homeland Security to consult with appropriate agencies before admitting H-2B non-immigrants. Homeland Security regulations require that, except for Guam, the petitioning employer first apply for a temporary labor certification from the United States Secretary of Labor indicating that: (1) there are not sufficient U.S. workers who are capable of performing the temporary services or labor at the time of filing the petition for H-2B classification and at the place where the foreign worker is to perform the work; and (2) the employment of the foreign worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers. The Department of Labor will review and process all H-2B applications on a first in, first out basis.Employers seeking to employ temporary H-2B workers must apply for Temporary Employment Certification to the Chicago National Processing Center (NPC). An employer may submit a request for multiple unnamed foreign workers as long as each worker is to perform the same services or labor, on the same terms and conditions, in the same occupation, in the same area of intended employment during the same period of employment. Certification is issued to the employer, not the worker, and is not transferable from one employer to another or from one worker to another.James Loy
James Milton Loy (born August 10, 1942) is a retired United States Coast Guard admiral who served as Acting United States Secretary of Homeland Security in 2005 and U.S. Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) from December 4, 2003, to March 1, 2005. Prior to his appointment as the DHS Deputy Secretary, he served as the second administrator of the Transportation Security Administration from 2002 to 2003, and before that as the Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard from 1998 to 2002.Janet Napolitano
Janet Ann Napolitano (; born November 29, 1957) is an American politician, lawyer, and university administrator who served as the 21st governor of Arizona from 2003 to 2009 and United States secretary of homeland security from 2009 to 2013, under President Barack Obama. She has been president of the University of California system since September 2013, shortly after she resigned as Secretary of Homeland Security.
Prior to her election as governor, she served as Attorney General of Arizona from 1999 to 2003. She was the first woman and the 23rd person to serve in that office. Napolitano is the 1977 Truman Scholar from New Mexico.
She has been the first woman to serve in several offices, including Attorney General of Arizona, Secretary of Homeland Security, and president of the University of California.
Forbes ranked her as the world's ninth most powerful woman in 2012. In 2008, she was cited by The New York Times to be among the women most likely to become the first female President of the United States. Some political commentators had suggested a possible candidacy in the 2016 election.
She was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 2018.Jeh Johnson
Jeh Charles Johnson ( "Jay"; born September 11, 1957) is an American lawyer and former government official who served as the fourth United States Secretary of Homeland Security from 2013 to 2017. He previously was the General Counsel of the Department of Defense from 2009 to 2012 during the first years of the Obama Administration. He is currently a partner at the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and a board of directors member at Lockheed Martin Corporation.Johnson is a graduate of Morehouse College (B.A.) and Columbia Law School (J.D.), and is the grandson of sociologist and Fisk University President Charles S. Johnson. Johnson's first name is taken from a Liberian chief, who reportedly saved his grandfather's life while he was on a League of Nations mission to Liberia in 1930.Kirstjen Nielsen
Kirstjen Michele Nielsen (born May 14, 1972) is an American attorney and national security expert serving as the sixth and current United States Secretary of Homeland Security since 2017. She is a former Principal Deputy White House Chief of Staff to President Donald Trump and was chief of staff to John F. Kelly during his term as Secretary of Homeland Security. She was confirmed on December 5, 2017, as the Secretary of Homeland Security.Madam's Organ Blues Bar
Madam's Organ Blues Bar is a restaurant and nightclub located at 2461 18th Street NW in Washington, D.C.'s Adams Morgan neighborhood. A local landmark, the bar is popular for its nightly live music, especially blues and bluegrass. Regular performers include Bobby Parker, Ben Andrews, Catfish Hodge, and Bob Perilla & Big Hillbilly Bluegrass. The bar offers billiards, has a rooftop deck and serves soul food. Notable regular patrons have included Euan Blair, son of Tony Blair, and the late Soviet dissident artist Alexandr Zhdanov. Hungarian Ambassador András Simonyi was not only a regular patron but also performed with his band "Coalition of the Willing" for his Washington Diplomatic farewell party attended by a Washington A-list including European diplomats, United States Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, and Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány. Additionally, Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson were regulars during the filming of Wedding Crashers, and Politically Incorrect host Bill Maher always stops by when in Washington. Barbara and Jenna Bush have also been spotted there. Madam's Organ was described as a favored hangout by Playboy and Stuff (magazine), and was featured on the Wild On! travel series on E!.Michael Chertoff
Michael Chertoff (born November 28, 1953) is an American attorney who was the second United States Secretary of Homeland Security, serving under President George W. Bush. He was the co-author of the USA PATRIOT Act. He previously served as a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, as a federal prosecutor, and as Assistant U.S. Attorney General. He succeeded Tom Ridge as U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security on February 15, 2005.
Since leaving government service, Chertoff has worked as senior of counsel at the Washington, D.C. law firm of Covington & Burling. He also co-founded the Chertoff Group, a risk-management and security consulting company, which employs several former senior political appointees. Chertoff was also elected as Chairman of BAE Systems for a three-year term, beginning May 1, 2012.
Chertoff co-chairs the Bipartisan Policy Center's Immigration Task Force.Napolitano
Napolitano (Modern Italian "Napoletano", Neapolitan: Nnapulitano) is translated in English as Neapolitan. The word can refer to people from Napoli (Naples), their language, culture in addition to being an Italian surname.
People with the surname:
Andrew Napolitano, a former Superior Court judge and current correspondent for Fox News Channel
Angelina Napolitano, the first person in Canada to use the battered woman defense for murder
Antonio Napolitano (born 1928, Naples), an Italian film critic
Art Napolitano (born 1956, Mobile, Alabama), an American soccer player
Danilo Napolitano, an Italian cyclist
Dominic "Sonny Black" Napolitano, a capo in the Bonanno crime family
George Napolitano, a photographer
Gian Gaspare Napolitano (1907–1966), an Italian journalist, screenwriter and film director
Giorgio Napolitano (born 1925), former President of the Italian Republic
Grace Napolitano, an American politician, a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives
Janet Napolitano, the current President of the University of California; former United States Secretary of Homeland Security; former Arizona Governor
Joe Napolitano, an American film and television director
Johnette Napolitano, an American musician, the lead singer and songwriter and bassist of Concrete Blonde
Luca Napolitano (born 1986, Avellino, Italy), an Italian songwriter
Luigi G. Napolitano Award, a prize awarded by IAF
Mario Napolitano, an Italian chess player
Michael Napolitano, the Mayor of Cranston, Rhode Island
Nicola Napolitano, multiple people
Nicola Napolitano (born 1983), an Italian footballer
Nicola Napolitano (1838–1863)
Norberto Napolitano, known by the pseudonym Pappo, an Argentine blues and rock musician
Paolo Maria Napolitano (born 1944), Italian judge
Peter Napolitano, known by his pseudonym Produce Pete, an American grocer, food writer, and television personality
Raimundo Napolitano, an Italian painter of the Renaissance period
Stefano Napolitano (born 1995), Italian tennis playerPreclearance Authorization Act of 2014
The Preclearance Authorization Act of 2014 (H.R. 3488) is a bill that would authorize the United States Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) to establish preclearance facilities, conduct preclearance operations, or provide customs services outside of the United States of America to prevent terrorists, terrorist instruments, and other national security threats from gaining access to the United States.The bill was introduced into the United States House of Representatives during the 113th United States Congress.Presidential Memorandum on Military Service by Transgender Individuals by Donald Trump (March 23, 2018)
The Presidential Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Homeland Security Regarding Military Service by Transgender Individuals is the 43rd presidential memorandum signed by U.S. President Donald Trump on March 23, 2018.The memorandum:
Revokes the Presidential Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Homeland Security.
The United States Secretary of Defense and United States Secretary of Homeland Security may exercise their authority to implement any appropriate policies concerning military service by transgender individuals.On 13 April 2018 the policy was stayed when a federal district court ruled that the 2018 memorandum essentially repeated the same issues as its predecessor order from 2017, that transgender service members (and transgender individuals as a class) were a protected class entitled to strict scrutiny of adverse laws (or at worst, a quasi-suspect class), and ordered that matter continue to a full trial hearing on the legality of the proposed policy.Social Media Working Group Act of 2014
The Social Media Working Group Act of 2014 (H.R. 4263) is a bill that would direct the United States Secretary of Homeland Security to establish within the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) a social media working group (the Group) to provide guidance and best practices to the emergency preparedness and response community on the use of social media technologies before, during, and after a terrorist attack.The bill was introduced into the United States House of Representatives during the 113th United States Congress.Tom Ridge
Thomas Joseph Ridge (born August 26, 1945) is an American politician and author who served as the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security from 2001 to 2003, and the first United States Secretary of Homeland Security from 2003 to 2005. Prior to this, Ridge was a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1983 to 1995 and the 43rd Governor of Pennsylvania from 1995 to 2001. He is a member of the Republican Party.
Ridge was born in Munhall, Pennsylvania and raised in veterans' public housing in Erie, Pennsylvania. After graduating from Harvard University with honors, Ridge served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War where he was awarded the Bronze Star. He then returned to Pennsylvania and completed his Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree at the Dickinson School of Law, graduating in 1972, and entered private practice.
As assistant district attorney in Erie, Ridge ran for Congress in his district, where he served six terms. He then ran for governor in 1994, despite being little-known outside of northwest Pennsylvania. He won the election, and was reelected in 1998 with the most votes for a Republican governor in Pennsylvania (where Democrats outnumber Republicans by almost 500,000) in more than half a century. As Governor of Pennsylvania, Ridge is credited for statewide advances in economic development, education, health care and the environment. As of 2019, Ridge is the last Republican to win reelection as Pennsylvania's governor.
Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, U.S. President George W. Bush named Ridge the first director of the newly created Office of Homeland Security. In January 2003, the Office of Homeland Security became an official Cabinet-level Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and Ridge became the first Secretary of Homeland Security. He served in these roles for Bush's first term as president, then retired and returned to the private sector.
Since re-entering the private sector, Ridge has served on the boards of The Home Depot, The Hershey Company and Exelon Corporation and as a senior advisor to Deloitte & Touche, and TechRadium. Ridge is also the founder and CEO of Ridge Global, LLC, a Washington, D.C.-based security consulting firm. Ridge spent time campaigning with Senator John McCain during his 2008 bid for the presidency and was believed by some to have been on the short list of potential running mates.Visqueen (band)
Visqueen is a power pop/punk rock band from Seattle, Washington, formed in 2001. It is named after a brand of polyethylene film that United States Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge once recommended as a defense against bioterrorism.
The band's original members were singer-songwriter-guitarist Rachel Flotard and drummer Ben Hooker, both formerly of Hafacat; Allan Ross (guitar; left in November 2001), and Kim Warnick, formerly of the Fastbacks. Warnick retired at the end of 2004, but Muffs co-founder Ronnie Barnett signed on to play the bass during the band's 2005 tour. Early in 2006, Bill Coury, formerly of Once For Kicks & Sourmash, joined the band as bassist, and later Tom Cummings, formerly of Once For Kicks & Sourmash, joined the band as a second guitarist. Late in 2006, Bill Coury left the band and by spring 2007, Barrett Jones, producer (Foo Fighters, The Presidents of the United States of America), joined Visqueen as bassist.
Their current bassist is Cristina Bautista. Bautista also played bass in Connecticut Four, from Bellingham, Washington, and in 2006 put out a solo EP, This Is the Team.
Recently Flotard has performed as backup singer in support of Neko Case and Jon Rauhouse, a pedal steel guitar player and multi-instrumentalist who often tours with Case.
Visqueen's third album, Message to Garcia, was released in 2009 on Flotard's own label, Local 638 Records, named for the labor union that Flotard's late father belonged to.Flotard used to write an advice column for Seattle-based online publication Three Imaginary Girls called "Love Is Hard with Rachel Flotard."
Flotard was featured on Minus the Bear's song "Into the Mirror" from their album Omni.
Visqueen played what were announced as their final shows in 2011, with a farewell show at the Neptune Theater in November of that year. On November 28, 2016, after a five-year hiatus, Visqueen reunited as Flotard, Hooker, and Bautista for a live show at the Crocodile Lounge in Seattle as the opening act for X.
United States Secretaries of Homeland Security
Agencies under the United States Department of Homeland Security
Science and Technology Directorate
|Intelligence and Analysis|
|Operations and history|
Leaders of the United States federal executive departments