Homeland Security

Jeh Johnson for Secretary of Homeland Security

By Paul Rosenzweig
Wednesday, November 26, 2014, 3:01 PM

Rumor has it, that Jeh Johnson, the current Secretary of DHS, is being considered for appointment as the next Secretary of Defense.  Don't do it Mr. Johnson.  Don't do it President Obama.

I say this, not because I think Johnson would do a bad job.  To the contrary, I'm sure that as a dedicated public servant he would do an able job in the position.  I say it, instead, because it would send a horrible message to the employees of DHS and an equally bad message about how we value Homeland Security.  Some might say that creating DHS was a mistake -- but having done it we are obliged to make it work if we possibly can.

DHS doesn't work that well now.  Morale is poor.  Public perception is even worse though happily, the IRS is still worse yet.  The Department faces challenges ranging from Ebola in the US to implementation of the President's new immigration plan (which, whatever its merits, will double the throughput for adjudications at USCIS this year).  In short, this is no time for DHS to be without senior leadership.  And Secretary Johnson has only been on the job for 11 months.  Nothing would be worse than for the public (and the Department's employees) than to perceive that leadership of DHS is viewed as a "temp" job.

I understand why the President might turn to a trusted counselor for a difficult job.  But Secretary Johnson took on a mission -- to see the Department through to the end of President Obama's term -- and he should complete that mission, not toss it aside for a better opportunity.

One man's opinion .....