Thank you, Deputy Director [Thomas] Brandon – and good afternoon, everyone. It is a pleasure to join so many colleagues, friends, and proud family members – including Todd’s wife, Margaret, and their son, Anthony – as we mark the formal swearing-in of the first-ever Senate-confirmed Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – my good friend, Todd Jones.
This is a special day. And it’s a tremendous honor to share this occasion with such a distinguished group of current and former Justice Department leaders, passionate public servants, and key members of the ATF team. By virtue of your essential law enforcement mission – and the critical role that every agent and support staff member plays in combating violent crime – ATF stands at the forefront of our efforts to protect the American people from a range of serious and constantly-evolving threats. Through the relationships you’ve forged and the partnerships you’ve built in recent years – with community leaders, private industry professionals, and state and local law enforcement officials – you have positioned this agency to perform far-reaching work to safeguard the American public, to reduce crime, and to eradicate the gun- and gang-fueled violence that steals too many innocent lives each year.
Each of you has been afforded unique federal authority – and invested with a sacred public trust – in discharging your important duties. As we all know, with this trust comes the need to exercise nothing but the greatest care, responsibility, and judgment in order to ensure the well-being of our communities and the security of our nation. Especially in light of sequestration and other recent budgetary difficulties – not to mention the public safety challenges that ATF agents face every day – I know this agency’s work has, in many ways, never been more difficult. And I recognize that you’ve all been asked to do more and more with increasingly limited resources – while acting in a manner that is smart, effective, and in keeping with our most treasured values.
In the face of current threats and troubling recent trends – including spikes in violence that have been observed in some of our nation’s greatest cities – the reality is that your work has also never been more important. And I can think of no one better qualified to lead this agency – and reinforce our shared commitment to the highest standards of professionalism and integrity – than Todd Jones.
Since 2011, when I asked Todd to begin serving as Acting ATF Director – while continuing to fulfill his duties as United States Attorney for the District of Minnesota – he has made bold changes, implemented forward-looking policies, and taken significant steps to strengthen this agency’s investigative capabilities. I’m sure Todd knew, when he agreed to join ATF, that performing two jobs at once would be anything but easy. But he did not hesitate to answer the call to serve. And he did not think twice about going where his skills and talents were needed most – just as he has done throughout his career: as a former officer in the United States Marine Corps; as an extremely talented prosecutor; and as a proven leader who has been named a U.S. Attorney by two different presidents.
Since becoming Acting ATF Director two years ago, Todd has performed superbly – and he has led the implementation of this agency’s innovative new business model, “Frontline,” which is already redefining ATF as the premier law enforcement agency in the federal government when it comes to combating violent crime. And he has done it all with the humility and good humor that have always been Todd’s trademark; the dedication to public service that has shaped his career since he was a young man; and the determination to do that which is right – and to serve the cause of justice – that has always defined the very best of what it means to serve in federal law enforcement.
Todd, I am honored to count you as a colleague, an indispensable partner, and a close friend. I am thrilled to join all those gathered here in congratulating you on your official swearing-in as Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. I want you to know, as you assume permanent leadership of this vital agency, that you have – and can always expect – my full confidence and strongest support. I thank you, once again, for your service, your patriotism, and your dedication to ATF’s critical mission. And I look forward to all that you and your colleagues will undoubtedly achieve in the months and years to come.
Please join me in a round of applause for Director Todd Jones. At this time, it is my privilege to administer the Oath of Office.