Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas today announced the 1,341 winners of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary’s Awards, which honor employees from 43 different states, countries, territories, and districts. These individuals, the largest number ever recognized, were selected for their extraordinary achievements and commitment to the DHS mission. Secretary Mayorkas and Department leadership will host eight regional ceremonies across the country to recognize employees, starting in Tucson, Arizona on Tuesday, March 21.
“Every day, the men and women of the Department respond to cyberattacks; save lives by sea and air; secure our nation’s borders and critical infrastructure; and deploy across the country to help Americans recover from disasters; and so much more. Their achievements aren’t only on the front lines, but also extend behind the scenes to modernize and streamline the Department’s processes in order to better relationships between the Department and the people we serve,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “It is the honor of my life to lead this Department and to recognize some of the extraordinary public servants who safeguard our nation and keep us all safe.”
The DHS Secretary’s Awards are an annual program that recognizes the extraordinary individual and collective achievements of the workforce. This year’s award recipients improved the efficiency of processing noncitizens at the Southwest Border, deployed across the country to respond to natural disasters, investigated cybercrime, created a new streamlined process for adjudicating asylum applications, safely and securely resettled nearly 90,000 evacuated Afghans in the United States, provided resources for organizations to enhance their cybersecurity resilience, established a process for Ukrainian nationals seeking refuge, secured the 2022 midterm elections, and demonstrated heroism by acting quickly and courageously to save lives in harrowing circumstances.
Earlier this month, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. joined Secretary Mayorkas and over 100 “plank holders” to celebrate the anniversary of the Department at an event in Washington, D.C. “It’s not hyperbole to suggest you’re heroes,” said President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. while addressing the DHS workforce. “You’re patriots who possess a rare commitment — a rare commitment to your fellow Americans, showing the American people how their government works for them. You give them confidence. You represent the best of us: duty, devotion, courage, honor, service before self. It’s truly noble.”
Last month, Secretary Mayorkas unveiled 12 priorities for the Department, including a commitment to champion the workforce and transform the employee experience. Building off that commitment, the ceremonies will honor the over 32,000 “plank holders” who joined DHS at its inception and continue to serve in the Department. DHS has the third largest workforce of any federal department, behind the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs. The Department is home to more than 92,000 sworn law enforcement officers, the greatest number of law enforcement officers of any department in the federal government. DHS has committed to increasing the representation of women in law enforcement or related occupations at DHS to 30% by 2023. Over 54,000 veterans, or nearly 21% of the workforce, continue serving their country by working at DHS.
DHS operational components interact more frequently on a daily basis with the American public than any other federal department, from travelers moving through air, land, and sea ports of entry, to businesses importing goods into the country, to immigrants applying for services. To learn more about the impact DHS makes every day, visit: DHS.gov/TodayDHSWill.
Last year, DHS launched a hiring initiative recruiting hundreds of experts in digital user experience and design for the Customer Experience Program. DHS is working to improve the overall experience for those accessing government services and benefits by accepting mobile driver’s licenses, reducing processing times for immigration benefits, and simplifying FEMA policies when applying for assistance.
For the full list of awardees, visit DHS.gov/2023-Secretarys-Awards.