Jeh Johnson to discuss Homeland Security vision at committee hearing

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is scheduled to testify about his vision for the government’s domestic-safety agency during a House hearing on Wednesday.

(AP/Carolyn Kaster). (AP/Carolyn Kaster).

Johnson, who took took office about two months ago, heads the federal government’s third largest department, Homeland Security, which includes 22 agencies that handle anything from counterterrorism and border protection to immigration and disaster responses.

Members of the House Homeland Security Committee could use Wednesday’s hearing to address a number of challenges facing the new secretary, including long-standing problems with worker morale, evolving terrorism and cybersecurity threats, widespread leadership vacancies and damage to the Secret Service’s reputation after the agency’s Colombian prostitution scandal.

DHS also recently canceled controversial plans for developing a national license-plate tracking system. Johnson terminated the proposal last week on the same day The Washington Post published a report about it.

MORE: Department of Homeland Security cancels national license-plate tracking plan

The homeland security chief made his first policy address on Feb. 7, calling for immigration reform and warning of a growing threat to the United States from Westerners heading abroad to fight in Syria’s civil war.

Johnson said during the talk that Congress should provide new opportunities for the nation’s 11.5 million undocumented immigrants to become U.S. citizens. Speaking about Westerners fighting in Syria, he said those individuals would likely encounter “radical, extremist influences” and possibly return home to do harm.

The hearing on Wednesday starts at 10 a.m., with the committee webcasting the event live.

Follow Josh Hicks on TwitterFacebook or Google+. Connect by e-mail at  josh.hicks@washpost.comVisit The Federal Eye, The Fed Page and Post Politics for more federal news. E-mail federalworker@washpost.com with news tips and other suggestions.

Josh Hicks covers Maryland politics and government. He previously anchored the Post’s Federal Eye blog, focusing on federal accountability and workforce issues.

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Josh Hicks · February 26, 2014

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