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Rep. Wolf suggests ‘bipartisan’ 10-year term for TSA administrators

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA)

 

Even as President Obama’s nomination of Erroll Southers as the new TSA Administrator remains hung up in the Senate, Rep. Frank Wolf, Republican of Virginia, has introduced legislation that would give any future TSA Administrator a 10-year term in an effort to “assure agency professionalism over political fidelity.”

Wolf’s measure, H.R. 4459, would attempt to address the rapid turnover in TSA administrators which has occurred since TSA was created, with six different administrators filling the post during the past nine years, for an average term of just 1.5 years.

“This is hardly the stable and committed leadership that the agency should have, given its critical role in ensuring the safety of our citizens and aviation infrastructure,” said Wolf, in a speech on the House floor on January 13. “It simply does not make sense for the position to change hands with each new administration or even sooner.”

Rep. Wolf, who serves as ranking Republican on the House Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations Subcommittee, which funds key counterterrorism programs in the FBI and in other agencies, said the TSA appointment process should be “akin to the appointment process for the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”nike free runner 50

He said it is essential that TSA be “independent of political influence” so it can focus on its core mission: protecting the nation’s transportation systems.

The nomination of Erroll Southers, a former FBI agent and counterterrorism specialist, has been held up by Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), who reportedly is concerned that as the new administrator at TSA, Southers might allow the agency’s employees to unionize. Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has announced he will soon force a Senate vote on the Southers nomination.

Wolf has sent a letter to President Obama urging greater bipartisanship in the development of national security and homeland security policies.

“Sadly, not only has partisanship infused the rhetoric surrounding national security discussions, it has actually obstructed the critical role of congressional oversight,” wrote Wolf.

In the same letter, dated January 12, Rep. Wolf urged Obama to call the two co-chairmen of the 9/11 Commission, Lee Hamilton and Thomas Kean, back into service for six months, during which time they could evaluate the nation’s progress in implementing the 9/11 Commission’s laundry list of security recommendations.

In addition, Wolf urged Obama to create a “Team B” group of outside experts (he suggested nearly a dozen individuals) who could provide an independent and separate review of the 9/11 Commission’s follow-up.

“I urge my colleagues in the House to support bringing back the 9/11 team, Kean and Hamilton, for 6 months, create a Team B to consider innovative solutions to disrupt and defeat al Qaeda, and to make the TSA administrator position independent and nonpartisan, that will go for a long term, similar to what we currently do with regards to the FBI,” said Wolff.nike outlet mall

 

 

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