TSA Vet to Return as Agency Boss

 - October 16, 2006, 6:53 AM

President Bush has nominated Edmund “Kip” Hawley to be Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security in charge of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). If the Senate confirms him, he will become the agency’s fourth director in four years.

Hawley will replace retired Navy Rear Admiral David Stone, who announced in early April that he would step down this month. The Washington Post reported that the Bush Administration asked for Stone’s resignation.

Both Congress and representatives of the aviation community met Bush’s selection of Hawley with approval. “One reason this gentleman was picked is that he has a technical background, a private-sector background,” said Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), chairman of the House aviation subcommittee.

“We’re high on Mr. Hawley,” said James May, president and CEO of the Air Transport Association. “We believe he will bring a great combination of skills and experience to the position.”

Based in California, Hawley, 51, was most recently an executive at Arzoon, a global trade and logistics software company. He was previously a vice president for Union Pacific Railroad and served in the White House and Transportation Department during the Reagan Administration. He is a member of the FAA’s Air Traffic Services Committee.

Quoting government sources, The Washington Post reported that Michael Jackson, deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, selected Hawley to take the helm of the TSA. Hawley’s experience with the agency extends to its beginnings. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta recruited him shortly after 9/11 to help set up the agency. He returned to the private sector after the TSA was up and running.

“Kip is an organizational expert and an experienced executive branch executive,” said NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen. “He was instrumental in the creation of the TSA and is well versed in aviation issues as a result of his leadership of the FAA’s air traffic services committee.”

National Air Transportation Association president Jim Coyne said, “Mr. Hawley’s background in aviation and security issues in addition to his familiarity with the TSA as one of its founding fathers makes him an outstanding candidate.”

Mica said Hawley’s experience should prove valuable to the TSA. “We’re going to do a high-tech makeover, which will rely less on personnel and more on technology,” he said.

Stone served as head of the TSA for a little more than a year. But under his watch, the agency was accused of lavish spending, shoddy accounting and purchasing the wrong technology.