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BBC News - US Senate confirms Jeh Johnson as Homeland Security head
A former top Pentagon lawyer has been confirmed as the fourth director of the US department of homeland security.

Senators confirmed Jeh Johnson, the former general counsel for the defence department, in a 78-16 vote.

He will replace former chief Janet Napolitano, who left in September. Mr Johnson has said filling vacancies at the department is a top priority.

His is one in a series of high-level confirmations to come after Democrats changed the Senate rules last month.

They stripped the minority Republicans of the power to use procedural manoeuvres to block confirmation of presidential nominees.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, has promised a slew of year-end confirmations, including Federal Reserve chair appointee Janet Yellen. About 70 nominees, mostly lower-level appointees, remain.

But the process has been slowed by the Republicans, who have used other procedural moves to prolong the Senate debate and delay each confirmation.

Mr Johnson will be the first African American to lead the massive department, which covers 22 separate agencies and was created in response to the 9/11 terror attacks.

"In Jeh, our dedicated homeland security professionals will have a strong leader with a deep understanding of the threats we face," President Barack Obama said in a statement.

Mr Obama said Mr Johnson had been "a critical member of my national security team" during his time as the Pentagon's general counsel 2009-12.

As the Pentagon's top lawyer, he was responsible for the legal review of military operations ordered by the US president or the defence secretary.
deptofhomelandsecurity  usa  congress  senate  JehJohnson  politics 
december 2013 by jtyost2
BBC News - Obama picks Jeh Johnson as new Homeland Security head
US President Barack Obama has nominated former top Pentagon lawyer Jeh Johnson as the new secretary of homeland security.

He will replace Janet Napolitano, who announced her departure in July.

Mr Johnson, 56, was a central figure in several key administration policies, including ending the Pentagon's ban on openly gay members of the military.

The former Pentagon and Air Force lawyer's nomination must be confirmed by the Senate.
usa  legal  homelandsecurity  deptofhomelandsecurity  JehJohnson  barackobama  politics 
october 2013 by jtyost2

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