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Congress and Politics

Nominee to Head TSA Soon? Not Soon Enough

In advance of an oversight hearing on TSA by his subcommittee today, Rep. John Katko (R-NY) wrote to President Obama asking for the White House to fill the TSA Administrator’s position “ASAP.” DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said last week the White House had settled on a candidate and world be submitting the nomination to the Senate “very soon.” We shall see.

DHS Vacancies Need to be Filled – And It Should Not Be Too Hard

Last week’s Senate Commerce Committee announcement about an upcoming hearing on TSA’s FY16 budget request inferentially noted that the White House still had not sent the Senate a nominee to replace former Administrator John Pistole. The Commerce Committee has a point that needs to be addressed. TSA needs a nominee and the Administration need look no further than current TSA leadership.

That Was the Week That Was – The 2015 Version

March came in like a lion with a long list of news items, including Clinton e-mails, DHS funding and Boko Haram allegiance to ISIS. What could happen next?

DHS Inspector General Says CBP Drone Program is of “Dubious” Benefit

DHS Inspector General John Roth dropped a powerful present on the front doorstep of Customs and Border Protection on Christmas Eve. News of the report is just coming out this week. It is about time a DHS official questioned the outrageous cost of the Office of Air & Marine’s (OAM) use of unmanned aerial vehicles.

Anniversaries are More Than Just Days to Remember

Twelve years ago last week, President Bush signed the act creating the Department of Homeland Security. It came into formal existence on March 1, 2003. Anniversaries are days to reflect on broader issues, and it is a good time to reflect on what has occurred since DHS was created – and what that means for the Department’s current and future missions and challenges.

Save the Bagpipes From the Federal Bureaucracy

Every so often, a federal agency does something so questionable that it makes one shake his head in disbelief. This is about saving bagpipes and other musical instruments from seizure by federal officials at the U.S. border. It is a tragedy in the making.

Congress Heal Thyself – 120 Reasons to Address Congressional Oversight

Is momentum building again to fix the debacle of overlapping congressional oversight of DHS? I sure hope so.

A Fee, a Tax and an Opportunity

TSA is implementing the increased security fee mandated by Congress. There is some controversy over the way it is being done and some debate about whether it is a fee or a tax. This is an opportunity for government or industry leadership to bring together all parties to take a good, hard look at the entire system by which we fund aviation in this country.

Good Idea, Bad Idea – Bioterrorism and UACs

Good Idea, Bad Idea is a weekly recap of the brilliant and stupid things America’s homeland security community does every day, because sarcasm is good for the soul. This week, a cat catches the tongue of OHA’s Dr. Kathy Brinsfield and Sen. Chuck Schumer gets a paper cut.

Congress Heal Thyself – New Voices Convey an Old Message

A full page Wall Street Journal ad last week, signed by 61 former elected and administration officials, including all three previous DHS Secretaries, added a number of new voices to the almost decade-old message that Congress needs to “fix” the overlapping committee structure morass it created to oversee homeland security issues.