For the first time in history, three African Americans selected by President Barack Obama could simultaneously manage high-level federal operations that shape national and global law enforcement policies while also protecting America against terrorists.
It’s no coincidence – and it’s a rare moment in the nation’s history.
Obama has carefully assembled a qualified team of black senior advisors, all Cabinet members, who have wide-ranging expertise in law enforcement, national security issues, and counter-terrorism.
Susan Rice, the U.S. National Security Advisor, reports directly to the president on precarious global matters that impact America. Rice is the third African American to hold the post.
Eric Holder, the first African American U.S. Attorney General and the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, oversees the U.S. Department of Justice.
And Obama recently appointed Jeh Johnson, formerly the Pentagon’s top lawyer, to head the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Johnson would become the first African American to lead the Department of Homeland Security.
Johnson would succeed Janet Napolitano, who announced she was leaving the Cabinet post in July. Political insiders say they expect Johnson to be confirmed, but Republicans may try to rough him up during his confirmation hearings.
The president’s decision to hire three black specialists to oversee national civil rights issues, counter-terrorism strategy and matters relating to national security shows that Obama, the nation’s first black president, is committed to empowering black people to lead America’s most security-sensitive agencies and operations.
Protecting the nation, Obama supporters say, also keeps black Americans safe.
Obama’s inner-circle selections also signals to his critics that the president is serious about making his Cabinet racially diverse with black advisors who are, in part, responsible for keeping the nation safe.