President-elect Donald Trump officially announced his pick to head the Department of Homeland Security on Monday: Marine Corps General John Kelly.
“He is the right person to spearhead the urgent mission of stopping illegal immigration and securing our borders, streamlining TSA and improving coordination between our intelligence and law enforcement agencies,” Trump said in a statement.
“Gen. John Kelly’s decades of military service and deep commitment to fighting the threat of terrorism inside our borders makes him the ideal choice to serve as our Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security,” Trump added.
“The American people voted in this election to stop terrorism, take back sovereignty at our borders, and put a stop to political correctness that for too long has dictated our approach to national security,” Gen. Kelly declared in his own statement. “I will tackle those issues with a seriousness of purpose and a deep respect for our laws and Constitution.”
Kelly is the third general chosen by Trump to head a cabinet agency. The president-elect chose Gen. James Mattis as secretary of Defense and Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as national security advisor.
Kelly joined the Marine Corps in 1970, and served in the military nearly continuously until earlier this year. He served as commander of U.S. Southern Command, a post overseeing American military operations in South and Central America, until he retired from the military in January. Before that, he commanded American forces numerous times in Iraq.
The Department of Homeland Security, created after the attacks of September 11, 2001, oversees Customs & Border Protection, Citizenship & Immigration Services, the Coast Guard, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Immigration & Customs Enforcement, the Secret Service, and the Transportation Security Administration.
Trump has promised to secure America’s border with Mexico by building a wall, to fight terrorism on American soil, and to streamline the TSA. All of these initiatives will be overseen by Gen. Kelly, should his appointment be confirmed by the Senate.