With the election and inauguration of President Donald Trump, there may finally be a glimmer of hope that the federal law enforcement behemoth known as the Department of Homeland Security will either get its stuff together or be broken up into its component sub-agencies.
The glimmer of hope is John F. Kelly.
Since the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, its sub-agencies have successfully worked hard to become the worst places to work in the federal government.
Among large government agencies, DHS is ranked last among places to work.
Among the responding 305 sub-agencies in the federal government, the bottom three agencies (303-TSA, 304-IA, and 305-USSS), the worst of the worst places to work, reside in DHS.
General Kelly succeeds four political hacks (Ridge, Chertoff, Napolitano, and Johnson) who were selected by equally inept hyperpartisan presidents (Bush and Obama) and confirmed by US Senators with the attention span of fruit flies.
Our glimmer of hope is revealed by his April 18, 2017, speech at George Washington University. Consider the last few lines of his speech:
But for too long, the men and women of my Department have been political pawns. They have been asked to do more with less, and less, and less.
In many ways similar to the treatment suffered by law enforcement over the last few years, they are often ridiculed and insulted by public officials, and frequently convicted in the court of public opinion on unfounded allegations testified to by street lawyers and spokespersons.
If lawmakers do not like the laws they’ve passed and we are charged to enforce—then they should have the courage and skill to change the laws. Otherwise they should shut up and support the men and women on the front lines. My people have been discouraged from doing their jobs for nearly a decade, disabled by pointless bureaucracy and political meddling, and suffered disrespect and contempt by public officials who have no idea what it means to serve.
During my confirmation process and in hearings, members of congress, the press and other public officials frequently asked me about the morale problems the Department has experienced over the last few years. My response has simply been –when you discourage, disable, unjustly criticize and default to believing the self-serving accusations of a wrong doer rather than the DHS police official at the point of the action, and focus disrespect on an individual for doing his or her job, what else do you expect?
It stopped on January 20.
My people—the men and women of the Department—do a difficult and at times nearly impossible job in the service of the American people. They deserve our nation’s thanks and respect. They deserve to be proud of the jobs they do.
We are moving in exactly the right direction.
Why? Because the best way to improve morale is to let employees do the jobs they were hired and trained to do, and recognize them for doing it.
We will never apologize for enforcing and upholding the law.
We will never apologize for carrying out our mission.
We will never apologize for making our country more secure.
We ask for nothing more than respect and your support. We don’t do this for the thank yous—we do this keep America strong, secure, and free.
We live in a dangerous world. Those dangers are increasing, and changing speed and direction every single day.
But every day, we are vigilant. We are prepared. And we will do our jobs.
He sounds like a former Marine who is concerned for his troops’ morale and the national security. He sounds like a leader the troops will follow.