Jeh Johnson, former Secretary of Homeland Security, discusses the impact of vacancies at DHS on morale at the agency, and how the administration could solve the issue. The Department of Homeland Security has an unprecedented level of vacancies. According to NBC News, over half of the jobs at the department are being filled in an acting capacity, or not at all. As the end of the administration’s term approaches, the prospects of filling all the positions are slim. Jeh Johnson, former Secretary of Homeland Security, says that the vacancies present more headaches for the bureaucracy than the rank-and-file. “Most of that workforce, day to day, is coming to work doing their job on the frontlines… The vacancies at the very top, day to day, don’t affect them that much. Vacancies do affect the bureaucracy at the top, senior-most level.” Johnson said. “Frankly, it creates an environment of uncertainty, paralysis and in the wrong context a certain kind of paranoia.” Johnson told Government Matters that the vacancies could pose a significant morale problem in some parts of DHS. “When there are so many vacancies, I think the implicit message is ‘You’re not important, you’re not important enough for me, the White House, to find you a permanent Senate-confirmed leader.’ The vacancy does have a trickle-down effect, at least here inside the beltway,” Johnson said.
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