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Hours After North Korea Missile Launch, Trump Reassigns Homeland Security Chief

July 28, 2017, 11:01 PM UTC

Less than a day after North Korea test fired another ballistic missile, President Donald Trump replaced his Secretary of Homeland Security, naming the former acting head, Gen. John F. Kelly, to be his administration’s chief of staff. He’ll officially begin his new position Monday, July 31.

The former White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, was fired Friday afternoon.

The missile launch, which may have landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone, took place at 11:41 p.m. local time, and is said to have flown for approximately 45 minutes. According to calculations by the Union of Concerned Scientists, the missile could “easily reach the U.S. West Coast, and a number of major U.S. cities.” Not taking into account the Earth’s rotation, the trajectory would take the rocket some 6,500 miles.

Chicago is 6,500 miles from North Korea.

The secretary of Homeland Security is responsible for protecting the safety of U.S. citizens. The cabinet-level position was established following the attacks of Sept. 11. The former secretary, Kelly, is a retired Marine Corps general. The acting secretary, Elaine Duke, previously served in the George W. Bush and Obama administrations, most recently as a Homeland Security’s undersecretary for management from 2008 to 2010.

But it’s unclear if Duke, a career federal employee, will remain in the top DHS seat. A choice position in the cabinet, it’s likely that President Trump will want to nominate a new secretary. But getting his picks through Congress has been a challenge, says Trump.

Congress disagrees, saying that the administration is moving too slowly in naming its nominees.