Miller Center

Jeh Johnson (2013-2017) - Secretary of Homeland Security

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Jeh Charles Johnson was born in New York City in 1957. He graduated from Morehouse College in 1979 before receiving his law degree from Columbia Law School in 1982.

Johnson began his career as an attorney in private practice before moving onto national security and law enforcement. He served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1989 to 1991. Johnson then entered private practice as a trial lawyer at the New York City-based law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. In 1998, President Clinton appointed Johnson General Counsel of the Department of the Air Force. He held this position until 2001, when he returned to private law practice. 

Prior to joining the Department of Homeland Security, Johnson served in the Obama administration as General Counsel for the Department of Defense, where he served as the chief legal officer of the Department of Defense and the legal adviser to the Secretary of Defense. He was sworn in on December 23, 2013, as the fourth Secretary of Homeland Security.

Citation Information

Consulting Editor

Michael Nelson

Professor Nelson is the Fulmer Professor Political Science at Rhodes College, a senior fellow of the Miller Center, and the senior contributing editor and book editor of the Cook Political Report. He is the author of multiple books on American politics and government, including:

Resilient America: Electing Nixon in 1968, Channeling Dissent, and Dividing Government (University Press of Kansas), which won the American Political Science Association’s Richard E. Neustadt Award for Best Book on the Presidency published in 2014

How the South Joined the Gambling Nation: The Politics of State Policy Innovation (LSU Press), which won the Southern Political Science Association’s V.O. Key Award for Outstanding Book on Southern Politics published in 2006