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John Kelly
John Kelly official DHS portrait.jpg
28th White House Chief of Staff
In office
July 31, 2017 – January 2, 2019
President Donald Trump
Deputy Joe Hagin
Rick Dearborn
Preceded by Reince Priebus
Succeeded by Mick Mulvaney (Acting)
5th United States Secretary of Homeland Security
In office
January 20, 2017 – July 31, 2017
President Donald Trump
Deputy Elaine Duke
Preceded by Jeh Johnson
Succeeded by Kirstjen Nielsen
Commander of United States Southern Command
In office
November 19, 2012 – January 16, 2016
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Douglas Fraser
Succeeded by Kurt Tidd
Personal details
John Francis Kelly

(1950-05-11) May 11, 1950 (age 71)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Political party Independent
Spouse(s) Karen Hernest
Children 3
Education University of Massachusetts, Boston (BA)
Georgetown University (MA)
National Defense University (MS)
Net worth $4 million
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Branch/service  United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1970–1972
1972–1976 (inactive reserves)
Rank US Marine 10 shoulderboard.svg General
Commands United States Southern Command
1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion
Multinational Force West
Battles/wars Persian Gulf War
 • Operation Desert Storm
Iraq War
Awards Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit (2) with Valor

John Francis Kelly (born May 11, 1950) is a retired United States Marine Corps General. He was the 28th White House Chief of Staff from July 31, 2017 to January 2, 2019. Kelly was the 5th United States Secretary of Homeland Security, serving from January through July 2017.

He is the former Commander of United States Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM). Kelly last served as the commanding general of the Multi-National Force—West in Iraq from February 2008 to February 2009, and as the commander of Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Forces North in October 2009.

Early life

Kelly was born on May 11, 1950 in Boston, Massachusetts, into an Irish Catholic family.

He served for one year as a United States Merchant Marine. Kelly initially enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1970, and was discharged from active duty as a sergeant in 1972.

Kelly received a Master of Science degree in National Security Studies from the Georgetown School of Foreign Service in 1984. He also studied at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

United States Secretary of Homeland Security (2017)

On December 7, 2016, it was reported that then-President-elect Donald Trump nominated Kelly to be the fifth United States Secretary of Homeland Security.

On January 20, 2017, Kelly was confirmed as Secretary of Homeland Security by the United States Senate with a vote of 88-11. On that evening he was sworn in by Vice-President Pence.

White House Chief of Staff (2017–2019)

On July 28 2017, he was appointed to replace Reince Priebus as White House Chief of Staff.

Early into his tenure, media outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post and FiveThirtyEight speculated that Kelly would bring moderation and discipline to the White House. In August 2017, early into Kelly's tenure, the Washington Post wrote that Kelly had "left no discernible imprint on the White House's philosophy" and that it was unclear if he would bring calm and rigor to the White House.

On December 8, 2018, Trump announced that Kelly would be leaving the position by the end of the year. He left the office on January 2, 2019.

Personal life

Kelly is married to Karen Hernest. They have three children.

In 2010, Kelly’s 29-year-old son, First Lieutenant Robert Kelly, was killed in action when he stepped on a landmine while leading a platoon of Marines on a patrol in Sangin, Afghanistan. Robert Kelly's death made John Kelly the highest-ranking military officer to lose a son or daughter in Iraq or Afghanistan.

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