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  4. Message from Secretary Mayorkas on the Retirement of Deputy Secretary John K. Tien

Message from Secretary Mayorkas on the Retirement of Deputy Secretary John K. Tien

Release Date: June 20, 2023

Deputy Secretary John Tien is an extraordinary patriot and public servant and a wonderful human being. On behalf of 260,000 of us throughout the Department of Homeland Security – across the country and around the world – I express our profound thanks to him for making our Department and all of us the beneficiaries of his dedication to country and qualities as a person for the past two years. He will retire from our Department on July 20 to rejoin his family in Atlanta, having made our Department better and further burnished his legacy of service.

Deputy Secretary Tien served in the United States Army for 24 years. Before retiring as a colonel, he deployed in three combat tours of duty in Iraq, to include commanding Task Force 2-37 Armor Battalion in the Iraqi cities of Tal Afar and Ramadi.

He continued his service as a civilian. Among other positions, he served during the Obama-Biden Administration as the National Security Council’s Senior Director for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

For the past two years, Deputy Secretary Tien has led transformational initiatives. He coordinated interagency efforts in support of international pre-screening operations in Operation Allies Refuge; led interagency policy development in Operation Allies Welcome; created innovative programs to disrupt and dismantle international criminal organizations involved in fentanyl and human smuggling; led the development of our Department’s strategy in the Indo-Pacific Region; and much more.

In our international work, Deputy Secretary Tien has, among other critical engagements, led our delegations to two G7 Ministerial meetings; represented our Department in the Joint Contact Group with the United Kingdom and the Security Cooperation Group with Germany; served as our senior level point of contact for both policy and operations with Interpol; and represented our Department in consultations with Mexico in joint efforts to combat fentanyl following the North American Leaders Summit.

At the heart of Deputy Secretary Tien’s work has been his dedication to our single greatest resource: all of you. As our Chief Operating Officer, he has advanced our organizational priorities, including strengthening our training programs, leading the execution of unprecedented hiring initiatives, advancing our departmental budget, improving our facilities, and re-empowering our employee associations. He has participated in more than 200 employee engagements, having visited colleagues in 14 states and 4 countries. He is, and always will be, a stalwart champion of our personnel.
Deputy Secretary Tien – John – has inspired us and led with strength, character, and kindness. He understands the needs and aspirations of the people whom he leads, and it is those needs and aspirations that guide his focus and his actions. And, ultimately, he is guided by the bedrock of his life of service: doing what is best for America.

Our Department, and all of us, are better for John Tien’s service as our Deputy Secretary.

Alejandro N. Mayorkas
Secretary of Homeland Security

Last Updated: 06/20/2023
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