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Obama to nominate new security chief

New York Times

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama plans to nominate Jeh Johnson, who framed many of the administration's national security policies as the Defense Department's general counsel during Obama's first term, to become the next chief of the Homeland Security Department, administration officials said Thursday. Obama will announce the nomination today, officials said.

If confirmed by the Senate, Johnson will fill the vacancy left by Janet Napolitano, who resigned in July to lead the University of California system. The coming nomination was first reported by the Daily Beast.

Johnson has little experience with some of the issues Napolitano faced, like border security, immigration and cybersecurity.

During his tenure at the Defense Department, he spearheaded the end of the "don't ask, don't tell" law that had barred gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military. He also shaped the Obama administration's policies on the detention of terrorism suspects and on targeted drone strikes in Yemen and Somalia.

Johnson often sought broader latitude in the use of government power on national security issues. He was one of Obama's advisers and fundraisers in his first presidential campaign.

fast facts

Jeh Charles Johnson

Age-birthplace: 56; New York City.

Education: Bachelor's degree, Morehouse College, 1979; law degree, Columbia Law School, 1982.

Experience: General counsel, Defense Department, 2009-12; attorney, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP, in New York, 2001-08; general counsel, Department of the Air Force, 1998-2001; attorney, Paul, Weiss, 1992-98; assistant U.S. attorney, Southern District of New York, 1989-91; private practice, 1984-88.

Family: Wife, Susan M. DiMarco, a dentist; two children, Jeh and Natalie.

Associated Press