DHS leader to lawmakers: 'Shut up and support' frontline employees

Department of Homeland Security Gen. John Kelly discussed employee morale at the agency during a speech this week at George Washington University, where he had some harsh words for lawmakers about their support for his workforce.

During the April 18 speech at the school’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security, Kelly told the audience: “While you’re having your morning coffee, the Coast Guard is pulling a fisherman aboard after his boat capsized in stormy seas. While you’re deciding what you want for lunch, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center is teaching law enforcement officers how to respond to an active shooter. While you’re scrolling through Facebook, our Science and Technology Directorate is helping local bomb squads defeat IEDs. While you’re zoning out on your commute home, Homeland Security Investigators are closing in on a dangerous child predator.”

He spoke very highly of the workforce, commending them for their hard work, and also touched on morale.

“…for too long, the men and women of my department have been political pawns. They have been asked to do more with less, and less, and less,” he said.

He said that if lawmakers do not like the laws that are passed, then they should have the courage to change the laws. Otherwise they should shut up and support the men and women on the front lines,” Kelly said.

“My people have been discouraged from doing their jobs for nearly a decade, disabled by pointless bureaucracy and political meddling, and suffered disrespect and contempt by public officials who have no idea what it means to serve.”

The agency for years has ranked at the bottom of the Best Places to Work in Federal Government rankings.

The full speech is available here.

Reader comments

Fri, Apr 21, 2017

Bravo...Was so encouraged reading the comments on this article UNTIL it had to (as always) go to the political/racial side on EVERY issue on EVERY speech on EVERY statement. Maybe, possibly, more than likely, his words were to actually JUST show his support to his employees and that was it? Can't we ever just take something at face value; just for once. An administrator that actually believes in his workers. Don't we all wish we had a boss like that? (If you've never worked for him directly and don't know him, who are you to assign motives? And please don't think this writer has worked for him, I have not.)

Fri, Apr 21, 2017 name

John Kelly can say the words "SHUT UP" to lawmaker or whatever will be. People need to shut up and stop acting spoiled cry baby. Why bcuz they can't have their way anymore. People are getting more greedy and selfish. Shut up and grow up. Let get our act together and move on. Simple!!!!

Thu, Apr 20, 2017

I've had the pleasure of working for Secretary Kelly while he was still in uniform. I can tell you first-hand that he is a tremendous leader, always puts people first and he always gets the mission accomplished. This job will be no diffetent...

Thu, Apr 20, 2017

Term limits would go a long way toward solving all the problems in government.

Thu, Apr 20, 2017

The most supportive display of employee appreciation EVER given by a DHS Secretary. It's so nice to have it!

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