Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Wednesday honored Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson with the Department of Defense (DOD) Distinguished Public Service Award, the highest award for a private citizen or non-career public servant.
“Jeh is one of the finest, most capable, hardest-working public servants I have worked with,” Carter said. “From his time as a highly capable general counsel at the Pentagon to his leadership of DHS at a time of enormous homeland security challenges, Jeh has made every organization he’s joined stronger, and made our nation and our world safer.”
Johnson oversees DHS, the third largest Department of the US government. Before joining DHS in 2013, Johnson served for three years as DoD’s general counsel, where he played a key role in several important initiatives, including the nation’s counterterrorism efforts and the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Previous recipients of the award include former secretaries of state Madeline Albright and Henry Kissinger, former national security adviser Brent Scowcroft, and former Sen. John Warner.
“Like Jeh, each of the public servants we have honored this year has a long record of service marked by competence, wisdom and self-sacrifice,” Carter said. “Each of them embodies the very best our nation has to offer.”