WASHINGTON, Dec. 16 (UPI) — The Senate voted by a wide margin Monday to make Jeh Johnson the next secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
The vote was 78-16, ABC News reported.
Johnson will succeed Janet Napolitano, who is stepping down after serving in the post since the start of the Obama administration.
“I am pleased the Senate has confirmed Jeh Johnson as our next secretary of homeland security with broad bipartisan support,” President Obama said in a statement released by the White House. “In Jeh, our dedicated homeland security professionals will have a strong leader with a deep understanding of the threats we face and a proven ability to work across agencies and complex organizations to keep America secure.
“Jeh has been a critical member of my national security team, and he helped to shape some of our most successful national security policies and strategies.
“As secretary of homeland security, Jeh will play a leading role in our efforts to protect the homeland against terrorist attacks, adapt to changing threats, stay prepared for natural disasters, strengthen our border security and make our immigration system fairer — while upholding the values, civil liberties, and laws that make America great. I look forward to Jeh’s counsel and sound judgment for years to come.”
Johnson is a former general counsel to the Defense Department and the Air Force. He previously was an assistant U.S. attorney in New York.
Napolitano is leaving the administration to become president of the University of California system.