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The Honorable John K. Tien

8th Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department
of Homeland Security

The Honorable John K. Tien is the former U.S. Senate confirmed Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the third largest U.S. Federal Government Cabinet department with over 260,000 people. From June 2021 to July 2023, he served as the second highest-ranking official in the Department and as the Chief Operating Officer (COO), overseeing a budget of $105 billion and facilities in all fifty U.S. States and all territories as well as more than 3,000 personnel stationed overseas in more than 75 countries. Alongside the Secretary of Homeland Security, Deputy Secretary Tien led the policy development, operational oversight, and risk management of the Department’s statutory mission areas, including cybersecurity; supply chain optimization; free and fair trade; air, rail, and maritime security; protection of America’s critical physical and cyber infrastructure; disaster preparedness and recovery; border security; citizenship and immigration services; protection of senior officials and safeguarding the U.S. financial system; and counter-narcotics production and trafficking. Upon Deputy Secretary Tien’s retirement from DHS in July 2023, DHS awarded him the Distinguished Service Medal, the highest civilian award given by the Secretary of Homeland Security. Similarly, the United States Coast Guard awarded him their highest civilian honor: the USCG Distinguished Public Service Medal.

From 2011 to 2021, Mr. Tien was a Managing Director at Citigroup, where he served in numerous senior Chief Operating Officer-type roles, including being the head of business and process re-engineering transformation for the entire U.S. Consumer Bank. Prior roles include Citi Retail Services COO and Chief Technology Officer for the Macy’s credit card portfolio. He oversaw all counter-fraud, credit, payments, and customer service operations, supporting over 20 million customers. At Citi, he was also the Chief Administrative Officer for Citi’s Global Consumer Operations and Technology organization, overseeing regulatory training for more than 80,000 employees.

During his decade in the private sector and as a retired U.S. Army Colonel, Mr. Tien was also a national leader in the U.S. military veteran’s community. Notably, he was the national co-chair of Citigroup’s military veterans and family initiative and business resource group, Citi Salutes. He also served as the Board Chair for five years at The Mission Continues, a national veterans non-profit organization focused on empowering veterans to continue their mission as community leaders. His other veterans board and leadership council service included the Bob Woodruff Foundation, the Howard and Sheri Schultz Family Foundation, The Warrior Alliance, and VETLANTA. During his 24-year active-duty Army career, he deployed for three combat tours, including being the Task Force 2-37 Armor battalion commander in Iraq, where he led more than 1,100 troops and individually, was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the Combat Action Badge. His combat unit awards include the Presidential Unit Citation and the Valorous Unit Award.


He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from West Point, where he was the first-ever Asian American to hold the position of First Captain as the top-ranked military cadet. He holds an Oxford Master of Arts in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He also served as a National Security Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School. He and his wife, Tracy, live in the Atlanta area where Tracy, a former elementary, middle, and high school teacher, volunteers as an educational docent at The High Museum of Art. Tien is also now a founding board member of the Avalon Action Alliance, which is focused on nationally scaling proven healthcare programs to help heal veterans and first responders who struggle with depression, PTSD, and/or traumatic brain injury.

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