Former AF General Counsel appointed as Homeland Security secretary

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Carlin Leslie
  • Air Force Public Affairs Agency, Operation Location - P

A former Air Force general counsel was sworn in as the fourth Homeland Security secretary Dec. 23.

Secretary Jeh Johnson, joined by his family, took the oath at his home in Montclair, New Jersey. As Secretary of Homeland Security, Johnson now oversees the third largest federal department in the United States and leads 240,000 men and women working to implement the department’s important homeland security mission.


“I am honored to assume the important responsibilities of this office,” said Secretary Johnson. “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.”


Former President William Clinton appointed Johnson as Air Force general counsel following nomination and confirmation by the Senate in Oct. 1998. He served in that position for 27 months and returned to private law practice at Paul Weiss in January 2001.


Following the 2008 election, Johnson served on President-Elect Obama’s transition team, and was then publicly designated by the President-Elect for nomination to the position of General Counsel of the Department of Defense on January 8, 2009, followed by formal nomination on January 20, 2009, and confirmation by the Senate on February 9, 2009.


Johnson’s legal career has been a mixture of private practice and distinguished public service and began his career in public service as an U.S. assistant attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he prosecuted public corruption cases. 


“Johnson will play a leading role in our efforts to protect the homeland against terrorist attacks, adapt to changing threats, stay prepared for natural disasters, strengthen our border security, and make our immigration system fairer, while upholding the values, civil liberties, and laws that make America great,” said President Barack Obama.