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United States Secretary of Homeland Security
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.
United States Secretary of Homeland Security

Seal of the Department of Homeland Security

Flag of the Secretary of Homeland Security
Incumbent
Alejandro Mayorkas
since February 2, 2021
United States Department of Homeland Security
StyleMr. Secretary
(informal)
The Honorable
(formal)
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
(18 years ago)
First holderTom Ridge
SuccessionEighteenth[1]
DeputyDeputy Secretary of Homeland Security (DSHS)
SalaryExecutive Schedule, Level I
Website
www.dhs.gov
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 Central Intelligence Agency.[2]
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.PortraitNameSenate voteTerm of officeState of residencePresident
Took officeLeft officeDuration
1
Tom Ridge
(born 1945)
94 – 0January 24, 2003February 1, 20052 years, 8 days
 Pennsylvania
George W. Bush
James Loy[a]
(born 1942)
Acting
February 1, 2005February 15, 200514 days
 Pennsylvania
2
Michael Chertoff
(born 1953)
98 – 0February 15, 2005January 21, 20093 years, 341 days New Jersey
3
Janet Napolitano
(born 1957)
Voice VoteJanuary 21, 2009September 6, 20134 years, 228 days
 Arizona
Barack Obama
Rand Beers[b]
(born 1942)
Acting
September 6, 2013December 23, 2013108 days District of Columbia
4
Jeh Johnson
(born 1957)
78 – 16December 23, 2013January 20, 20173 years, 28 days New Jersey
5
John F. Kelly
(born 1950)
88 – 11January 20, 2017July 31, 2017192 days MassachusettsDonald Trump
Elaine Duke[c]
(born 1958)
Acting
July 31, 2017December 6, 2017128 days
 Ohio
6
Kirstjen Nielsen
(born 1972)
62 – 37December 6, 2017April 10, 20191 year, 125 days
 Florida
Kevin McAleenan[d]
(born 1971)
Acting
April 10, 2019November 13, 2019217 days Hawaii
Chad Wolf[e]
(born 1976)
Acting
November 13, 2019January 11, 20211 year, 59 days
 Virginia
Pete Gaynor[f]
(born 1968)
Acting
January 11, 2021January 20, 20219 days
 Rhode Island
David Pekoske[g]
(born 1955)
Acting
January 20, 2021February 2, 202113 days
 Connecticut
Joe Biden
7
Alejandro Mayorkas
(born 1959)
56 – 43February 2, 2021Incumbent102 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.[6][7][8]
  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:[9]
  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.[10]
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.[11]
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".[12]
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".[13] 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."[14]
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.
References
  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. ^ 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. ^ Cramer, Harrison; Cohen, Zach C. (November 11, 2019). "Inside Trump's Gambit To Install Another Acting DHS Secretary". National Journal. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  7. ^ Bublé, Courtney (November 15, 2019). "Top Democrats Call for Emergency Review of DHS Appointments". Government Executive. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  8. ^ Misra, Tanvi (November 15, 2019). "Legality of Wolf, Cuccinelli appointments to DHS questioned". Roll Call. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  9. ^ "Executive Order – Amending the Order of Succession in the Department of Homeland Security". whitehouse.gov. December 9, 2016. Retrieved November 16, 2019.
  10. ^ Bernstein, Nina. "Mystery Woman in Kerik Case: Nanny". The New York Times. Retrieved October 29, 2015.
  11. ^ "Names already popping as possible Janet Napolitano replacements", by Kevin Robillard and Scott Wong, Politico, July 12, 2013, retrieved July 13, 2013.
  12. ^ "Obama would consider Ray Kelly to replace Janet Napolitano", by Jennifer Epstein, Politico, July 16, 2013, retrieved July 17, 2013.
  13. ^ "Muslims Oppose Raymond Kelly Bid For Homeland Security Secretary", by Omar Sacirbey, Huffington Post, August 1, 2013, retrieved August 4, 2013.
  14. ^ "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
Official website
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Denis McDonough
as Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Order of precedence of the United States
as Secretary of Homeland Security
Succeeded by
Ron Klain
as White House Chief of Staff
U.S. presidential line of succession
Preceded by
Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Denis McDonough
18th in line
Ineligible
Last
Last edited on 16 March 2021, at 06:05
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