Secretary Johnson addresses students during surprise visit to ASU

January 29, 2015

There are plenty of things that could keep U.S. Secretary of Homeland Defense Jeh Johnson up at night – use of weapons of mass destruction, terrorist and cyber attacks, and protecting our borders – but how to fund and maintain the third-largest department in the U.S. government is among his chief concerns.

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Johnson made a surprise visit to ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication on the Downtown Phoenix campus on Jan. 28. He was there to deliver remarks on “Borderland Security in the 21st Century,” to approximately 140 students who study journalism, criminology and public policy.


The Homeland Security chief was in Phoenix to view the Department of Homeland Security's security operations surrounding Super Bowl XLIX and to participate in workforce engagements with U.S. Customs and Border Protection Personnel. Johnson said he consulted with U.S. Senator John McCain before he departed for Arizona on where to deliver his speech.


“Senator McCain told me, 'The Cronkite School,'" Johnson said. "So here I am.”


Johnson said the Cronkite name personally resonated with he and his family because he grew up watching the CBS news anchor in New York during the 1960s and 1970s.


“If we heard of something tragic happening during the day, well, it didn't really happen until Walter Cronkite said it happened,” Johnson said. “That's how much he meant in my household growing up.”


Johnson is hoping that his word is as good as Cronkite's when it comes to public perception that our borders are less secure than they were in 2003, when his department was created by the federal government. To prove his point, Johnson presented audience members with a chart of immigrant apprehensions from 2000 to 2014. The numbers were cut dramatically from 1.6 million in 2000 to approximately 479,000 in 2014.


He cites the reason for the decline is due to better policing and enforcement – more than 20,000 agents, construction of 90 miles of primary and secondary fences along the U.S.- Mexico border, deployment of more sensors, aircraft and a variety of surveillance systems since 2000.


All of that enforcement, Johnson says, takes approximately 250,000 personnel and money to secure the country's air, sea, land and space, to the tune of $60 billion a year, which is his department's annual budget. However, he said that the department is funded on a contingency basis, set to expire Feb. 27, and is calling on Congress to increase funding for his department and on a more permanent basis.


“Everybody in Congress is telling me we've got to do something,” Johnson said. “I cannot print money and I cannot appropriate money. I need a partner in Congress.”


To underscore his point, Johnson said his agency asked for close to $4 billion in emergency funding to pay for the surge of immigrant children in the Rio Grande Valley, but Congress refused. He said Homeland Security was forced to shift more than $400 million from the disaster relief fund and the Transportation Security Industry to make ends meet.


“Fortunately we had a good weather year last year, but I do not assume that we're going to be that lucky this year,” Johnson said.


Johnson ended his 45-minute lecture by imploring students to consider a career in public service.


“It's one of the noblest things you will ever do, and it has been a great career,” Johnson said. “Some of the best people I've ever known are in public service.”


Reporter , ASU Now


Distinguished career award given to ASU history professor

January 30, 2015

Editor's note: Jannelle Warren-Findley died in Phoenix on Feb. 4, at age 69, after the publication of this article.

Retired professor of ASU's School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, Jann Warren-Findley, will be awarded the Robert Kelley Award from the National Council on Public History. portrait of professor Jann Warren-Findley Download Full Image

Warren-Findley was an associate professor in history for more than 20 years. She led ASU's public history program as director for two years and as co-director alongside Noel Stowe. She retired last year.

The nomination to this award highlights her commitment to her students and the field. It states, “One of the major characteristics of Warren-Findley’s mentoring is the way she has nurtured her students to become professionals, to not just learn theory but engage in practice, moving beyond the campus.”

Warren-Findley has been hailed as an advocate for the globalization of public history. A Fulbright Scholar, she taught in Sweden, England, New Zealand and China. She is recognized by her colleagues as playing a valuable role in establishing important links between public historians in the United States and abroad.

Warren-Findley has served extensively in the National Council on Public History, the American Historical Association, the International Council on Monuments and Sites, she was a founding member of the International Federation for Public History and has been a board member of the Australian journal Public History Review.

“Over many years of dedicated and compassionate service, Jann made a major contribution to building the reputation of Arizona State University’s public history program. We’re proud of her accomplishments and delighted at this recognition of her work,” says Mark Tebeau, director of public history at ASU. “Her efforts to internationalize the field have been particularly important and will have an impact for many years to come.”

The award will be presented at the National Council on Public History's 2015 Annual Meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, on April 18.

The School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies is an academic unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University.