Southers Withdraws From TSA Nomination : The TSA’s Saga For A Leader Continues

20/1/2010 – Southers Withdraws From TSA Nomination : The TSA’s Saga For A Leader Continues

The Transportation Security Administration has been without a permanent leader since the start of the President Obama’s term a year ago.  Since the creation of the TSA a mere 8 years ago, the agency has been lead by four Administrators and its current Acting Administrator, which I wrote about earlier this month here: 4/1/2010 – The TSA’s Lack Of Leadership & The Saga of Not Having A Boss

Today the Nominee for TSA Administrator Erroll Southers withdrew his name from consideration for the role of permanent Administrator of the TSA. In a statement explaining his withdrawing his nomination as the TSA’s Administrator Southers stated, “It is apparent that this path has been obstructed by political ideology.”

I don’t disagree with Southers’ statement that there have been political roadblocks to his appointment as the TSA boss. While there were some speed bumps created by Southers’ history, none of them were a career ender, and none of them would have interfered with his potential for giving the TSA a solid leader and the direction that it desperately needs.

With Southers out of the running for TSA’s Boss who will step into the limelight now?

There is not time to continue to leave the TSA without a defined direction and a solid leader. The TSA is continuing to run off course and this lack of direction and continued mission-creep is undermining the agency’s ability to focus on its primary Vision.

The TSA defines its vision as: The Transportation Security Administration will continuously set the standard for excellence in transportation security through its people, processes, and technology.

With an increased sense that the TSA answers to no one and has no accountability the agency is also seemingly unable to meet its Core Values for Integrity

– We are a people of integrity who respect and care for others and protect the information we handle.

– We are a people who conduct ourselves in an honest, trustworthy and ethical manner at all times.

– We are a people who gain strength from the diversity in our cultures.

The TSA needs a strong leader to bring the agency back to its Core Values for Integrity.

The TSA’s leader, whoever that may be,  needs to be able to navigate the transportation and national security channels free from political retribution for making the right choices. The right choices are not always politically favourable choices. At this point the agency is knee deep in politics rather than focusing much of its energy on its primary Mission Statement.

The TSA’s Mission Statement is simple: The Transportation Security Administration protects the Nation’s transportation systems to ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce.

I know nothing is simple in Washington DC. Everyone in DC has an agenda and partisan objectives often come before actual actions. While DC is a political game of chess being played out every day, every hour, every minute, the safety and security of an average of 28,537 commercial flights daily in the United States is not something that can be ignored.

It seems that although I am not in DC I have an agenda as well…my agenda is simple…to see that the TSA is able to find the leader it needs to meet its core objectives and be a driving force in protecting global transportation rather than an agency that is continuously a punch line for late-night television comedians.

The TSA has a serious job, the TSA has an important job and politicians needs to get past their politics to seek out someone who is dedicated to the long term direction and leadership of the agency.

Happy Flying!

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