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Venable partner and retired Rear Admiral Jamie Barnett was quoted in an October 18, 2013 FedScoop article on Jeh Johnson’s nomination for Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). President Obama announced Johnson’s nomination last Friday to replace Janet Napolitano who resigned last month to become president of the University of California. Johnson recently served as the Pentagon’s chief legal counsel and is a former federal prosecutor. If confirmed, he would be fourth attorney to run DHS.

“I don’t know that you need a lawyer to run DHS, but … you need someone who is experienced in policy formation and execution. Jeh Johnson certainly fits that bill,” said Admiral Barnett. “DHS is so complex, with 22 agencies and all of the laws that attach to those agencies, and I don’t even remember the number of congressional committees with jurisdiction,” he added. “It does not hurt to have an attorney who has been at the other very complex, big-budget agency to grapple with those DHS complexities.”

Some believe Johnson’s time at the Pentagon could be beneficial on the cybersecurity front and improve relations between the two departments. “I suspect that he will be able to engender good cooperation between the two agencies,” said Admiral Barnett. “And his knowledge of what is legal in cyberspace may be a particular advantage as DHS steps up to the cyber-challenge.”