United States Secretary of Homeland Security

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United States Secretary of Homeland Security
Seal of the Department of Homeland Security
Flag of the Secretary of Homeland Security
Alejandro Mayorkas

since February 2, 2021
United States Department of Homeland Security
StyleMr. Secretary
The Honorable
Member ofCabinet
Homeland Security Council
National Security Council
Reports toPresident of the United States
SeatNebraska Avenue Complex,
Washington, D.C.
AppointerPresident of the United States
with Senate advice and consent
Term lengthNo fixed term
Constituting instrument6 U.S.C. § 112
FormationJanuary 24, 2003
(21 years ago)
First holderTom Ridge
DeputyDeputy Secretary of Homeland Security (DSHS)
SalaryExecutive Schedule, Level I

The United States Secretary of Homeland Security is the head of the United States Department of Homeland Security, the body concerned with protecting the American homeland and the safety of American citizens. The Secretary is a member of the President's Cabinet. The position was created following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

List of Secretaries of Homeland Security[change | change source]


  Republican (5)   Democratic (3)   Independent (4)


  Denotes Acting Homeland Security Secretary

No. Secretary of Homeland Security Took office Left office Time in office Party State of residence President
Tom Ridge
Ridge, TomTom Ridge
(born 1945)
January 24, 2003February 1, 20052 years, 8 daysRepublicanPennsylvaniaBush, GeorgeGeorge W. Bush (Republican)
James Loy[a]
Loy, JamesJames Loy[a]
(born 1942)
February 1, 2005February 15, 200514 daysIndependentPennsylvaniaBush, GeorgeGeorge W. Bush (Republican)
Michael Chertoff
Chertoff, MichaelMichael Chertoff
(born 1953)
February 15, 2005January 21, 20093 years, 341 daysRepublicanNew JerseyBush, GeorgeGeorge W. Bush (Republican)
Janet Napolitano
Napolitano, JanetJanet Napolitano
(born 1957)
January 21, 2009September 6, 20134 years, 228 daysDemocraticArizonaObama, BarackBarack Obama (Democratic)
Rand Beers[b]
Beers, RandRand Beers[b]
(born 1942)
September 6, 2013December 23, 2013101 daysDemocraticDistrict of ColumbiaObama, BarackBarack Obama (Democratic)
Jeh Johnson
Johnson, JehJeh Johnson
(born 1957)
December 23, 2013January 20, 20173 years, 28 daysDemocraticNew JerseyObama, BarackBarack Obama (Democratic)
John F. Kelly
Kelly, JohnJohn F. Kelly
(born 1950)
January 20, 2017July 31, 2017192 daysIndependentMassachusettsTrump, DonaldDonald Trump (Republican)
Elaine Duke[c]
Duke, ElaineElaine Duke[c]
(born 1958)
July 31, 2017December 6, 2017128 daysRepublicanOhioTrump, DonaldDonald Trump (Republican)
Kirstjen Nielsen
Nielsen, KirstjenKirstjen Nielsen
(born 1972)
December 6, 2017April 10, 20191 year, 125 daysRepublicanFloridaTrump, DonaldDonald Trump (Republican)
Kevin McAleenan[d]
McAleenan, KevinKevin McAleenan[d]
(born 1971)
April 11, 2019November 13, 2019216 daysIndependentHawaiiTrump, DonaldDonald Trump (Republican)
Chad Wolf[e]
Wolf, ChadChad Wolf[e]
(born 1976)
November 13, 2019January 11, 20211 year, 59 daysRepublicanVirginiaTrump, DonaldDonald Trump (Republican)
Peter Gaynor[f]
Gaynor, PeterPeter Gaynor[f]
(born 1968)
January 12, 2021January 20, 20218 daysIndependentNew JerseyTrump, DonaldDonald Trump (Republican)
David Pekoske[g]
Pekoske, DavidDavid Pekoske[g]
(born 1955)
January 20, 2021February 2, 202113 daysIndependent Biden, JoeJoe Biden (Democratic)
Alejandro Mayorkas
Mayorkas, AlejandroAlejandro Mayorkas
(born 1959)
February 2, 2021IncumbentDemocraticWashington, D.C.Biden, JoeJoe Biden (Democratic)

a James Loy served as acting secretary in his capacity as Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security.

b Rand Beers served as acting secretary in his capacity as confirmed Undersecretary of Homeland Security for National Protection and Programs and Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security; Beers was the highest ranking Senate-approved presidential appointee at the Department of Homeland Security.

c Elaine Duke served as acting secretary in her capacity as Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security.

d Kevin McAleenan served as acting secretary in his capacity as Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection. His tenure was ruled unlawful.

e Chad Wolf served as acting secretary in his capacity as Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Strategy, Policy, and Plans. His tenure was ruled unlawful.

f Peter Gaynor served as acting secretary in his capacity as Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator.

g David Pekoske served as acting secretary in his capacity as Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration

References[change | change source]

  1. "3 U.S. Code § 19 – Vacancy in offices of both President and Vice President; officers eligible to act". LII / Legal Information Institute.