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United States Secretary of Homeland Security

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

United States Secretary of Homeland Security
Seal of the United States Department of Homeland Security.svg
Seal of the Department of Homeland Security
Flag of the United States Secretary of Homeland Security.svg
Flag of the Secretary of Homeland Security
Alejandro Mayorkas

since February 2, 2021
United States Department of Homeland Security
StyleMr. Secretary
The Honorable
Member ofCabinet
Homeland Security Council
National Security Council
Reports toPresident of the United States
SeatSt. Elizabeths West Campus, Washington, D.C., U.S.
AppointerPresident of the United States
with Senate advice and consent
Term lengthNo fixed term
Constituting instrument6 U.S.C. § 112
FormationJanuary 24, 2003
(19 years ago)
First holderTom Ridge
DeputyDeputy Secretary of Homeland Security (DSHS)
SalaryExecutive Schedule, Level I

The United States secretary of homeland security is the head of the United States Department of Homeland Security, the federal department tasked with ensuring public safety in the United States. The secretary is a member of the Cabinet of the United States. 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 United States Border Patrol), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (which includes Homeland Security Investigations), the United States Secret Service and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It does not, however, include the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the U.S. Marshals Service.[2] They continue to operate under U.S. Department of Justice.

The current secretary of homeland security is Alejandro Mayorkas, since February 2, 2021. He is the first Latino and immigrant to lead the Department of Homeland Security.

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 3 U.S.C. § 19 follows this tradition.[citation needed]

On March 7, 2006, 43rd president George W. Bush signed H.R. 3199 as Pub.L. 109–177 (text) (PDF), 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.[citation needed]

List of secretaries of homeland security

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.

Parties   Republican (5)   Democratic (3)   Independent (4)

Status   Denotes Acting Homeland Security Secretary

No. Portrait Name Senate vote Term of office State of residence President
Took office Left office Duration
Tom Ridge
Tom Ridge
(born 1945)
94 – 0 January 24, 2003 February 1, 2005 2 years, 8 days  Pennsylvania George W. Bush
James Loy
James Loy[a]
(born 1942)
February 1, 2005 February 15, 2005 14 days  Pennsylvania
Michael Chertoff
Michael Chertoff
(born 1953)
98 – 0 February 15, 2005 January 21, 2009 3 years, 341 days  New Jersey
Janet Napolitano
Janet Napolitano
(born 1957)
Voice Vote January 21, 2009 September 6, 2013 4 years, 228 days  Arizona Barack Obama
Rand Beers
Rand Beers[b]
(born 1942)
September 6, 2013 December 23, 2013 108 days  District of Columbia
Jeh Johnson
Jeh Johnson
(born 1957)
78 – 16 December 23, 2013 January 20, 2017 3 years, 28 days  New Jersey
John F. Kelly
John F. Kelly
(born 1950)
88 – 11 January 20, 2017 July 31, 2017 192 days  Massachusetts Donald Trump
Elaine Duke
Elaine Duke[c]
(born 1958)
July 31, 2017 December 6, 2017 128 days  Ohio
Kirstjen Nielsen
Kirstjen Nielsen
(born 1972)
62 – 37 December 6, 2017 April 10, 2019 1 year, 125 days  Florida
Kevin McAleenan
Kevin McAleenan[d]
(born 1971)
April 10, 2019 November 13, 2019 217 days  Hawaii
Chad Wolf
Chad Wolf[e]
(born 1976)
November 13, 2019 January 11, 2021 1 year, 59 days  Virginia
Pete Gaynor
Pete Gaynor[f]
(born 1968)
January 11, 2021 January 20, 2021 9 days  Rhode Island
David Pekoske
David Pekoske[g]
(born 1955)
January 20, 2021 February 2, 2021 13 days  Connecticut Joe Biden
Alejandro Mayorkas
Alejandro Mayorkas
(born 1959)
56 – 43 February 2, 2021 Incumbent 1 year, 189 days  District of Columbia

a. ^ James Loy served as acting secretary in his capacity as Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security.

b. ^ 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.

c. ^ Elaine Duke served as acting secretary in her capacity as Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security.

d. ^ Kevin McAleenan served as acting secretary in his capacity as Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection. His tenure was ruled unlawful.

e. ^ Chad Wolf served as acting secretary in his capacity as Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Strategy, Policy, and Plans. His tenure was ruled unlawful.

f. ^ Peter Gaynor served as acting secretary in his capacity as Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator.

g. ^ David Pekoske served as acting secretary in his capacity as Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration

Order of succession

While appointment of acting officials is generally governed by the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 (FVRA), the Homeland Security Act of 2002 creates exceptions to FVRA, mandating that the under secretary of homeland security for management is third in the line of succession for Secretary of Homeland Security,[3] and establishes an alternate process by which the secretary can directly establish a line of succession outside the provisions of the FVRA.[4]

As of November 8, 2019, the order of succession is as follows.[5] However, the legality of this update was challenged.[4][6][7]

  1. Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security
  2. Under Secretary for Management
  3. Commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection
  4. Under Secretary for Strategy, Policy, and Plans
  5. Administrator and Assistant Secretary of the Transportation Security Administration
  6. Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency

Formerly, an April 10, 2019 update to the DHS Orders of Succession, made pursuant to the Homeland Security Act of 2002, provided a different order in the case of unavailability to act during a disaster or catastrophic emergency:[5]

  1. Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security
  2. Under Secretary for Management
  3. Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection
  4. Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency
  5. Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency
  6. Under Secretary for Science and Technology
  7. Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis
  8. Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration
  9. Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  10. Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
  11. Under Secretary for Strategy, Policy, and Plans
  12. General Counsel
  13. Deputy Under Secretary for Management
  14. Deputy Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection
  15. Deputy Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration
  16. Deputy Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  17. Deputy Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
  18. Director of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers

As a result of Executive Order 13753 in 2016, the order of succession for the secretary of homeland security was as follows:[8]

  1. Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security
  2. Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Management
  3. Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency
  4. Under Secretary of Homeland Security for National Protection and Programs
  5. Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Science and Technology
  6. Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis
  7. Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection
  8. Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration
  9. Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  10. Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
  11. Assistant Secretary for Policy
  12. General Counsel of the Department of Homeland Security
  13. Deputy Under Secretary for Management
  14. Deputy Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection
  15. Deputy Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration
  16. Deputy Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  17. Deputy Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
  18. Director of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center

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.[9]

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.[10]

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".[11]

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".[12] 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."[13]

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.

See also


  1. ^ "3 U.S. Code § 19 – Vacancy in offices of both President and Vice President; officers eligible to act". LII / Legal Information Institute.
  2. ^ Homeland Security Act, Pub.L. 107–296 (text) (PDF)
  3. ^ Yglesias, Matthew (April 8, 2019). "Trump's possibly illegal designation of a new acting homeland security secretary, explained". Vox. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Cramer, Harrison; Cohen, Zach C. (November 11, 2019). "Inside Trump's Gambit To Install Another Acting DHS Secretary". National Journal. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Letter from House Committee on Homeland Security to U.S. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro" (PDF). U.S. House of Representatives. November 15, 2019. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  6. ^ Bublé, Courtney (November 15, 2019). "Top Democrats Call for Emergency Review of DHS Appointments". Government Executive. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  7. ^ Misra, Tanvi (November 15, 2019). "Legality of Wolf, Cuccinelli appointments to DHS questioned". Roll Call. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  8. ^ "Executive Order – Amending the Order of Succession in the Department of Homeland Security". December 9, 2016. Retrieved November 16, 2019.
  9. ^ Bernstein, Nina. "Mystery Woman in Kerik Case: Nanny". The New York Times. Retrieved October 29, 2015.
  10. ^ "Names already popping as possible Janet Napolitano replacements", by Kevin Robillard and Scott Wong, Politico, July 12, 2013, retrieved July 13, 2013.
  11. ^ "Obama would consider Ray Kelly to replace Janet Napolitano", by Jennifer Epstein, Politico, July 16, 2013, retrieved July 17, 2013.
  12. ^ "Muslims Oppose Raymond Kelly Bid For Homeland Security Secretary", by Omar Sacirbey, Huffington Post, August 1, 2013, retrieved August 4, 2013.
  13. ^ "Ray Kelly: The NYPD: Guilty of Saving 7,383 Lives", by Ray Kelly, Opinion: The Wall Street Journal, July 22, 2013, retrieved August 4, 2013.

External links

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas Secretary of Veterans Affairs Order of precedence of the United States
as Secretary of Homeland Security
Succeeded byas White House Chief of Staff
U.S. presidential line of succession
Preceded by 18th in line
This page was last edited on 10 July 2022, at 15:20
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