John Marshall Mitnick is the fifth General Counsel of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). He was nominated by President Trump in August 2017 and confirmed by the United States Senate by voice vote on February 15, 2018. As General Counsel, Mr. Mitnick is the chief legal officer of the Department, and he proudly supervises the Department’s more than 2,500 dedicated attorneys who serve at its headquarters and operational components. He is also DHS’s Regulatory Policy Officer.
His current tenure at DHS is a continuation of his homeland security public service, and he is the first DHS General Counsel to have previously served in the Department. Beginning in November 2002, Mr. Mitnick assisted in establishing the Department as an attorney in the Transition Planning Office for DHS. After the Department was established on January 24, 2003, he served as Associate General Counsel for Science and Technology until August 2004, when he left DHS to join the White House Counsel’s Office under President George W. Bush. He served in the White House Counsel’s Office as Deputy Counsel of the Homeland Security Council through April 2005, and then as Associate Counsel to the President, with responsibility for the entire homeland security portfolio, from May 2005 until October 2007.
Mr. Mitnick has also had a distinguished career in the private sector. He began his legal career at a major international law firm, where he practiced for 13 years and was a partner specializing in mergers and acquisitions, strategic alliances, commercial contracts, and technology development and licensing. He has also served as Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary of a division of a major defense contractor in Dulles, Virginia (2007 to 2013), where he led the legal, compliance, corporate governance, ethics, and environmental, health and safety functions, and as Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. (2014 to 2018), where he led the legal, compliance, and corporate secretary functions.
Mr. Mitnick was born in New Jersey. He received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Jurisprudence from the University of Oxford. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Political Science (summa cum laude) from Emory University, and is a graduate of Newark Academy in Livingston, New Jersey.