On this day, fourteen years ago, the Department of Homeland Security officially opened its doors, marking a new beginning in protecting America. The attacks of 9/11 taught us we needed to rethink our approach to national security; homeland security must be a top priority. By bringing together 22 agencies and offices into a single Department, we created a team of professionals and entities who could more closely unify our efforts to protect the American people and our Nation.
We have seen many changes over the past fourteen years, both in the world and in DHS. We have grown more unified and have integrated our many law enforcement, security, and counterterrorism capabilities. Much has been accomplished in the first fourteen years. We will do much more in the years ahead, especially by focusing on our mission, enforcing the law, and investing in our workforce.
The constant through these dynamic and challenging times has been the people who make up our Department. You have remained steadfast and faithful to your unique duties and to our common oath of office. I thank each of you for your professionalism and the hard work you bring every day to your important jobs.
To those of you who have been part of our DHS family since March 1, 2003—thank you for choosing a life of public service, and for helping build DHS from its very foundation. To those of you who have joined us since or very recently—and I count myself among the ranks of recent arrivals—we have joined a proud and principled organization. As we celebrate our birthday, let us continue to protect the American people, our homeland, and our values with honor and integrity.
John F. Kelly
Secretary of Homeland Security
With honor and integrity, we will safeguard the American people, our homeland, and our values.