WASHINGTON — President Obama plans to nominate Jeh C. 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, according to administration officials.
If confirmed by the Senate, Johnson will fill the vacancy left by Janet Napolitano, who resigned in July to lead the University of California.
Johnson has little experience with some of the issues Napolitano faced, such as 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 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, a former federal prosecutor, often sought broader latitude in the use of government power on national security issues. He has close ties to the president and was one of Obama’s advisers and fund-raisers during his first presidential campaign.