The Senate on Monday confirmed former top Pentagon lawyer Jeh Johnson, a key architect of President Barack Obama's anti-terrorism policies that have included stepped up drone use, as Homeland Security Secretary.
The vote was 78-16.
Johnson was nominated by President Barack Obama in October and will replace former Secretary Janet Napolitano, who left the Cabinet post earlier this year to head California's public university system.
Johnson will be the fourth secretary of the Department that was created in response to the 9/11 attacks.
Johnson's confirmation occurred as partisan rancor hits new heights in the Senate over procedural changes imposed by majority Democrats to counter Republican attempts to block or slow presidential appointments.
A member of Obama's original transition team, Johnson was most recently the Pentagon's top lawyer where he reviewed military operations.
He also was instrumental in counter-terror policy that involved increased reliance on unmanned drones under Obama.