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Message from Deputy Secretary Tien on Transition from DHS

Release Date: June 20, 2023

Team DHS -

After 26 years of combined federal service including three combat tours in Iraq and living apart from my family for the last two years, I have decided to return to Atlanta to re-join them there. As our Secretary so eloquently says, “when we serve, we all serve.” As a result, I first thank my family for providing me much-needed emotional support while I once again served the nation. It is now my turn to do the same for them.

Second, I thank Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas for having the confidence in me to support my nomination to President Biden and even more so, to empower and enable me to “co-lead” the Department with him. Indeed, we have co-led the Department through two amazing, busy, and important years safeguarding our Nation. “S1” is a great and gracious leader. We are lucky to have him as our Secretary. I am even more lucky to call him my friend.

Third, I thank all of you. I have flown, rode, and sailed all over the United States and more than a few countries with thousands of you. At every outpost or office, on every boat deck or flight pad, and inside every operations or command center, you are doing what’s best for America. I am so proud to have called you teammates.

When I retired from the U.S. Army in 2011, and reflected on 24 years of career highlights, I was most proud of having led 1,107 great troops in combat in Iraq for more than a year. When I depart from DHS on July 20, 2023, I will most fondly remember what the Secretary and I tried to do for the workforce to vastly improve the lives of our fellow employees in terms of pay, training, facilities, and technology support, all essential to improving morale. Our work on implementing the Secretary’s organizational advancement and transformational priorities will continue and because of all of you, will benefit the Department for years to come.

I will remember my 200 plus employee engagements, events, and visits which included re-energizing our HQ support of the employee associations and employee resource groups. I am also incredibly proud of the work we have been doing to significantly disrupt the cartels as they illegally and dangerously traffic human beings, deadly narcotics, and weapons.

Finally, it has been my honor to represent the Department within the U.S. interagency and in forums such as the National Security Council Deputies Committee, the Domestic Policy Council, the National Counterterrorism Center Board of Directors, and the President’s Management Council. Through the interagency these past two years, DHS has been a major contributor and often a lead federal agency for some of the Administration’s largest policy implementations. For the past two years, it has also been equal parts exhilarating and humbling to have stood in front of our flag overseas and work with our global partners at multi-lateral meetings such as the G7 and Five Country Ministerials as well as bilaterally with many partners and allies to make America and the world safer and more humane.

Duty, Honor, Country were my watchwords when I graduated from West Point in 1987. As I move on to my next chapter in life, I will always have in my heart, the DHS mission: with honor and integrity, we will safeguard the American people, our homeland, and our values.

With my greatest respect,
John K. Tien
Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security

Last Updated: 06/20/2023
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