Leadership is not only an honor but also a responsibility, and if you want to know the character of a leader, you can tell by how they treat and speak to the people for whom they are responsible. Former DHS Secretary John Kelly’s statement below (sent to DHS staff) speaks volumes about the state in which he is leaving the Department and reveals the sentiments of a leader who “gets it.”

He will be a tough act to follow. DHS is all the better for his service and so is the homeland.

Message from Secretary John F. Kelly

This morning, I will be swearing an oath of office to defend the Constitution for the 16th time – this time to be the White House Chief of Staff.

Although I am moving downtown, you are in good hands at DHS. Elaine Duke will be the Acting Secretary. Few people know DHS as well as Elaine does, and she will step in and continue with a strong focus on the mission. Also, Chip Fulghum, the current Acting Under Secretary for Management will once again step up – this time as the Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Deputy Secretary.

Additionally, the Department’s Chief of Staff, Kirstjen Nielsen, will begin a White House detail today to support my move. In her absence, Chad Wolf will be the Department’s acting Chief of Staff.

With these changes I expect that the Department will not skip a beat.

While I am honored to have this new opportunity, I will truly miss being your Secretary. You are a tremendous group of selfless public servants…the best of the best our country produces. You deserve more praise and recognition than you receive, but rest assured you have my respect and deep thanks.

Thank you for the honor of having served America by your side in the home game.

Thank you for letting me walk the often dangerous southwest border trails with you, and for showing me how you keep America safe at the ports in Miami and Long Beach.

Thank you for your efforts to keep those who would do us harm from receiving a visa or entering our homeland illegally.

Thank you for the respect you showed me when I visited our Coast Guard fleet.

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to accompany you on pre-dawn ICE operations in the dangerous work of apprehending criminal-illegal aliens.

Thank you for keeping millions of airline passengers safe, our cyber networks free of contamination, and helping our citizens recover from natural disasters of every kind.

Thank you for all the other thousands of things you do each day for our country.

Thank you most of all for allowing me to be part of the DHS family.

John F. Kelly
Secretary of Homeland Security