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Jeh Johnson

Jeh Johnson
Jeh Johnson Parent of 2017 Occidental College graduate
Former Secretary of Homeland Security

Jeh Johnson is a partner in the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP, who in public life was Secretary of Homeland Security (2013-2017), General Counsel of the Department of Defense (2009-2012), General Counsel of the Department of the Air Force (1998-2001), and an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York (1989-1991).    

As Secretary of Homeland Security, Johnson was the head of the third largest cabinet department of the U.S. government, consisting of 230,000 personnel and 22 components. 

As General Counsel of the Department of Defense, Johnson is credited with being the legal architect for the U.S. military’s counterterrorism efforts in the Obama Administration.  In 2010, Johnson co-authored the report that paved the way for the repeal of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell by Congress later that year. 

In private life, in addition to practicing law, Johnson is on the board of directors of Lockheed Martin, U.S. Steel, MetLife, the Council on Foreign Relations, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York City, and is a trustee of Columbia University. Johnson is a regular commentator on NBC, CBS, MSNBC, CNN, FOX, Bloomberg TV and other news networks. In 2018 Johnson was the recipient of the Ronald Reagan Peace Through Strength Award.  In January 2024 Johnson will receive the New York State Bar Association’s Gold Medal, the highest award the NYSBA confers.  

Johnson is a graduate of Morehouse College and Columbia Law School and the recipient of 13 honorary degrees.