MIAMI – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security hosted an awards ceremony at the Port of Miami to celebrate the workforce, including individuals who served since the Department’s inception 20 years ago. Chief of Staff Janene Corrado officiated the ceremony, where more than 80 employees received a Secretary’s Award in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the mission.
“This Department was born of tragedy and necessity. But from the very beginning, the greatest strength of the Department of Homeland Security has been all of our dedicated workforce,” said Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security John K. Tien. “Americans are in the skies and on the seas, traveling through our land ports, enjoying imported goods, relying on critical infrastructure, and so much more because of our workforce’s talent and tireless dedication to the mission. They have built the United States Department of Homeland Security, and their achievements are and continue to be remarkable. It is the highlight of my life to support these committed Americans and to serve alongside them.”
At the award ceremony today, Deputy Secretary Tien presented the Gold Medal award to Erica Devaughn, a member of CBP’s Traumatic Incidents and Events Response Team. Ms. Devaughn deployed to the Uvalde Border Patrol Station to provide crisis management support after the recent mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. The TIER Team also provided support to the local community members of Uvalde, Texas.
This year, DHS is holding eight ceremonies across the country, honoring over 1,300 employees. Earlier this year, Secretary Mayorkas unveiled 12 priorities for the Department, including a commitment to champion the workforce and transform the employee experience. Building off that commitment, the ceremonies will also recognize the over 32,000 “plank holders” who joined DHS at its inception and continue to serve in the Department.
At the award ceremony today, Deputy Secretary Tien presented the Gold Medal award to Erica Devaughn, a member of CBP’s Traumatic Incidents and Events Response Team. Ms. Devaughn deployed to the Uvalde Border Patrol Station to provide crisis management support as a result of the recent mass shooting at Ross Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. The TIER Team also provided support to the local community members of Uvalde, Texas.
DHS has the third largest workforce of any federal department, behind the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs. The Department is home to more than 92,000 sworn law enforcement officers, the greatest number of law enforcement officers of any department in the federal government. DHS has committed to increasing the representation of women in law enforcement or related occupations at DHS to 30% by 2023. Over 54,000 veterans, or nearly 21% of the workforce, continue serving their country by working at DHS.
DHS operational components interact more frequently on a daily basis with the American public than any other federal department, from travelers moving through air, land, and sea ports of entry, to businesses importing goods into the country, to immigrants applying for services. To learn more about the impact DHS makes every day, visit: DHS.gov/TodayDHSWill.
Last year, DHS launched a hiring initiative recruiting hundreds of experts in digital user experience and design for the Customer Experience Program. DHS is working to improve the overall experience for those accessing government services and benefits by accepting mobile driver’s licenses, reducing processing times for immigration benefits, and simplifying FEMA policies when applying for assistance.
For the full list of awardees, visit DHS.gov/2023-Secretarys-Awards.