Head of Homeland Security delivers Greens Foundation address

Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson delivers the keynote address at the Hancock Symposium at Westminster College on Wednesday. | Courtesy of the Department of Homeland Security
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson delivered the keynote speech as a part of the Green Foundation Lecture Series at Westminster College on Wednesday.

During his address, he spoke of the work of the Department of Homeland Security and said the aim of the department should be to protect the security of the nation and to protect the liberty, privacy and dignity of U.S. citizens.

Johnson stated in his address that the DHS is the third-largest department within the federal government and employs approximately 225,000 individuals. Responsibilities of the department include areas relating to border security, critical infrastructure protection, counterterrorism, natural disaster response, weapons of mass destruction detection, and mitigation and immigration among many other areas.

Johnson also spoke of the need for the department to operate in a way that it does not overreact in the name of homeland security and not generalize about an entire group of people based on the actions of a few. He said it's important to realize the immediate reaction to a potential threat is not always the correct course of action. To exemplify this, he used the reaction to the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa. A first reaction considered was to limit travel visas from the region, which would have been a mistake considering the U.S.'s role as a leading nation in the Ebola fight.

"We can erect more walls, install more screening devices, and make everybody suspicious of each other, but we should not do so at the cost of who we are as a nation of people who cherish our privacy, our religions, our freedom to speak, travel and associate, and who celebrate our diversity and our immigrant heritage," Johnson said. 

Organizations in this story

U.S. Department of Homeland Security 12th St SW Washington, DC 20024

Get notified the next time we write about U.S. Department of Homeland Security!