DHS to Open Up Shop in Silicon Valley

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson Evan Vucci/AP

The Department of Homeland Security is opening a branch in Google's territory.

The Department of Homeland Security is setting up shop in Google's territory. DHS is close to opening a branch in Silicon Valley to help tighten the tech industry's computer security -- and conscript its top talent, the department's top official announced Tuesday.

The move is part of a larger attempt to build a bridge between West Coast Web giants and the government, after 2013 revelations of online surveillance soured many in the industry on the concept of public-private partnerships.

DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson made Tuesday’s announcement in San Francisco at a major annual cyber conference organized by RSA.

In February, President Barack Obama convened a White House Cybersecurity Summit at Stanford University and invited top information security officials from many of the region's Internet firms.

DHS is "finalizing plans to open up a satellite office in Silicon Valley, to serve as another point of contact with our friends here," Johnson said. "We want to strengthen critical relationships in Silicon Valley.”

The new real estate might also double as a recruiting office.

"We want to convince some of the talented workforce here in Silicon Valley to come to Washington," Johnson added.

He specifically cited the U.S. Digital Service, a fix-it squad for flailing agency IT projects like HealthCare.gov, as an opportunity to rotate between private industry jobs and government teams.

"Consider a tour of service for your country," Johnson told the audience.

The Obama administration over the past year has filled most of the top White House IT spots with Silicon Valley expats.

Last month, former Facebook engineer David Recordon was assigned to help modernize Oval Office technology. The month prior, DJ Patil, of LinkedIn and RelateIQ, stepped into the role of first-ever White House chief data scientist, and Tony Scott, a former executive at Palo Alto's VMware, became the federal chief information officer. Last summer, officials created the U.S. Digital Service, with former Google engineer Mikey Dickerson at the helm.

As his boss did in February, Johnson on Tuesday appealed to tech companies to share cyber threat information as well as personnel.