Washington, DC, United States (4E) – President Barack Obama is to nominate former Pentagon lawyer Jeh Johnson as Department of Homeland Security (DHS) secretary on Friday, senior administration officials said.
If confirmed, Johnson, 56, will become the first African-American head of the DHS replacing Janet Napolitano, who quit six weeks ago to head the University of California system.
Johnson’s sound judgment and counsel was Obama’s reason for picking him, a senior administration official said, according to ABC News.
Johnson was Defense Department general counsel from 2009 to 2012 figuring in major policy decisions such as the repeal in 2010 of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell rule that bans gays from serving openly in the military. He was general counsel to the U.S. Air Force in former President Bill Clinton’s second term from 1998 to 2001. Prior to that, he was assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York.
In 2006, Obama recruited him for his presidential campaign. He said working subsequently in the Obama administration was the highlight of his career.
Johnson currently works at the New York law firm Paul Weiss.