United States Secretary of Homeland Security
Incumbent John Kelly has been named the next secretary of homeland security. He replaces Kirstjen Nielsen, whose tenure lasted just over three months. Nielsen resigned under pressure on April 7 amid reports she had blocked efforts to reunite migrant families separated at the border. She denied those allegations, saying her actions were based on law enforcement concerns about child safety.
Kelly served as chief of staff for President Donald Trump during his first term and was acting White House chief of staff during the second half of 2018. Prior to joining the administration, he worked as director of the Office of Management and Budget.
The Senate confirmed him unanimously on May 11.
Inclusion in the presidential line of succession
The Presidential Succession Act of 1792, codified at 3 US Code §§ 19 and 20, provides for the selection of the President of the United States, Vice President of the United States and principal officers of the executive branch of the federal government upon the death, resignation, removal, incapacity, absence, or inability of the incumbent President. Section 19 states that “the President shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint… other persons whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for.”
Section 20 specifies the order of succession:
1. If there is no Vice President, then the Speaker of the House of Representatives becomes Acting Vice President;
2. If there is no Speaker of the House of Representative, then the President Pro Tempore of the Senate becomes Acting Vice President; and
3. If there is neither a Speaker nor a President Pro Tempore, then the highest-ranking Senator becomes Acting Vice President.
4. If there is neither an acting Vice President nor a Senator, then the President of the Senate becomes Acting President, followed by the members of Congress in descending order of seniority within each chamber.
5. If there is neither the President of the Senate nor a member of Congress, then the Governor of the District of Columbia becomes Acting President, followed in turn by the Mayor of Washington D.C., the Governor of Maryland, and the Governor of Virginia.
List of secretaries of homeland security
The United States Department of Homeland Security was established in 2002 under President George W. Bush. Its creation followed the September 11 attacks in New York City and Washington D.C., which killed nearly 3,000 people. A number of government agencies were merged into DHS, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Coast Guard, Secret Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and others.
Prior to the establishment of the department, there existed an assistant secretary of homeland security, who was appointed by the president. This position had been established in 1999, following the passage of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. The law required the appointment of an assistant secretary within the White House Office of Policy Development, whose duties included coordinating efforts among federal departments and agencies involved in countering terrorism. This person was given the title Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs. In January 2001, during the presidency of Bill Clinton, this position was elevated to the status of “assistant to the president for intergovernmental affairs.”
In July 2001, the Republican Party won control of both houses of Congress in the congressional elections of November 2000. The party nominated Kansas Representative Tom Ridge to run against incumbent Democratic President Al Gore in the presidential election of November 7, 2004. On December 14, 2001, Ridge resigned his seat in Congress to accept the post of director of the newly formed Department of Homeland Security. He served in this capacity until February 2005.
Ridge’s tenure as head of the agency was marked by controversy over the response to Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, and the subsequent resignation of FEMA administrator Michael Brown. During the campaign for the 2008 Republican nomination for president, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney claimed that he had opposed the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. However, the Associated Press reported that Romney had voted for the bill creating it while serving as governor of Massachusetts.
On June 28, 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Janet Napolitano to replace Ridge as DHS secretary. She was confirmed by the Senate on October 5, 2009. As of 2017, she is the longest-serving DHS secretary.
Order of succession
The Homeland Security Act of 2002 requires the following individuals to serve in case of a vacancy in the office of the Secretary of Homeland Security:
– Deputy Secretary
– Under Secretary for Administration
– Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection
– Commissioner of Immigration and Customs Enforcement
– Director of National Intelligence
– Under Secretary for Science and Technology
Administration-cited potential nominees
Bernard Kerik was one of several people rumored to be under consideration for the post, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, and former FBI Director Louis Freeh. A few days before Kerik withdrew his name, however, he told ABC News that he planned to withdraw because of questions about his background.
Kerik had been investigated for fraud in 2002 while serving as head of the New York Police Department’s anti-terrorism unit. He pleaded guilty to tax evasion and obstruction of justice charges in 2003, and served three months in prison. His conviction stemmed from a scheme to obtain $250,000 in fraudulent reimbursement payments from the city. In addition to the money, he received a job offer from Giuliani.
Who is the principal federal official for domestic incident management?
The New York Times reported that Kelly was being considered for the position of Secretary of Homeland Security following Janet Napolitano’s resignation.
Kelly’s police department was criticized for its stop and frisk policies, which disproportionately targeted minorities.
In 2012, he retired as commissioner of the NYPD. He had been commissioner since 2002.
A number of commentators noted that Kelly’s record as commissioner of the NYPD was marked by controversy.
He was widely praised for his efforts to improve relations between the police force and minority communities.
However, critics pointed to what they saw as his heavy-handed approach to crime control, and the high level of stop and arrest activity under his watch.
His term as commissioner was marked by accusations of racial bias within the department, including allegations of discriminatory traffic stops and arrests of African Americans and Latinos.