DHS Seeks to Replace Chief Historian

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has posted a job vacancy announcement seeking to fill the position of Historian in the Office of the Secretary for Homeland Security. The deadline for applying for the position is August 21, 2007.

Dr. Priscilla Jones was appointed as the first Historian of the Department of Homeland Security in February 2004. She left her position in early August 2007 to return to the Air Force History Office where she worked for ten years before joining DHS.

During her tenure as chief historian, Dr. Jones focused on preserving the early history of DHS by conducting, and overseeing the transcription of, oral history interviews with more than 70 senior leaders and other staff; establishing a history office archive with the help of a contract archivist; and advocating for and assisting in the preservation of electronic and other records of the department.

For many years, the National Coalition for History (NCH), in partnership with several of its member organizations including the Society for History in the Federal Government, worked to create a precedent that would authorize a federal history office in public law. In October 2003, President Bush signed into law the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-90) that included language authorizing the establishment of an Office of History at the DHS. Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) spearheaded the effort to add report language (S. Rept. 108-86) authorizing the DHS History Office into law.