October 22, 2013 9:00 AM, EDT

DOD Top Lawyer Tapped to Head DHS

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News

President Obama has nominated Jeh Johnson, the Department of Defense’s top lawyer, to be Secretary of Homeland Security.

Janet Napolitano, former governor of Arizona, resigned this summer after four years as secretary to become president of the University of California.

Obama announced Johnson as his choice at the White House on Oct. 18.

“From the moment I took office, Jeh was an absolutely critical member of my national security team, and he demonstrated again and again the qualities that will make him a strong secretary of homeland security,” Obama said.

If confirmed by the Senate, Johnson will oversee Customs and Border Protection, the agency responsible for freight security at ports, airports and the Mexican and Canadian borders.

Among the programs Johnson would inherit as secretary is the agreement the United States signed with Canada in March for a pilot program allowing U.S.-bound trucks to be inspected on the Canadian side at two crossings.

The two are Fort Erie, Ontario, near Buffalo, N.Y.; and at Surrey, British Columbia, across from Blaine, Wash. The program is intended to speed freight mobility.