(USA TODAY) -- President Obama plans to nominate former Pentagon attorney Jeh
Johnson as the next secretary of homeland security, officials said
Johnson, general counsel for the Defense Department, will be introduced by Obama at a ceremony on Friday.
confirmed by the Senate, Johnson would replace Janet Napolitano, who
left the administration to run the University of California education
"The President is selecting Johnson because he is one the
most highly qualified and respected national security leaders, having
served as the senior lawyer for the largest government agency in the
world," said a White House official.
The official said that during
his tenure at the Defense Department, Johnson exhibited "sound
judgement" and provided "prior legal review and approval of every
military operation approved by the President and Secretary of Defense."
Officials spoke on condition of anonymity because Obama has not yet made his public announcement.
A ceremony is scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday.
would be the fourth head of the Department of Homeland Security,
created in the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
described Johnson as "a critical member of the President's
counterterrorism team," and someone who worked closely with homeland
security officials during his years at the Pentagon.
specialties include cybersecurity, officials said. He played a key role
in repealing the Pentagon's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that
prohibited gay service members.
An early political support of Obama, Johnson has also worked as a federal prosecutor and private attorney.
David Jackson, USA TODAY