Gen. John F. Kelly

Homeland Security

Gen. Kelly retired in February as chief of U.S. Southern Command, which oversees military operations in Central and South America. He has clashed with the Obama administration over women in combat and plans to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. Few jobs are likely to be as high-profile in the Trump administration than chief of the Department of Homeland Security, the third-largest Cabinet department, with more than 240,000 employees whose jobs include fighting terrorism, protecting the president and enforcing immigration laws. Kelly was confirmed by the Senate on January 20, 2017. 

Read the AAAS letter to Secretary of Homeland Security nominee, General John F. Kelly.

Why is this department important to the science community? 

The Department supports research related to border security; chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear defense; cybersecurity; disaster resilience; and counterterrorism. Particularly concerning today is the threat of terrorist recruitment and self-radicalization through exposure to online propaganda from the likes of groups like ISIS. Social science research supported by DHS, including recent work published in the journal Science, can play an important role in characterizing the threat and devising effective countermeasures. Basing policy decisions on scientific evidence – rigorously obtained and thoroughly tested – is essential for assessing what works, what doesn’t, and what options are most likely to achieve their desired outcomes.