White House Tabs Retired Intelligence Officer to Head TSA
March 8, 2010 — The White House announced Monday that President Obama will nominate Major General Robert A. Harding, U.S. Army (Ret.) as Assistant Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security to head the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
General Harding served for 33 years in the US Army, retiring in 2001 as the Army’s Deputy G2 (Intelligence). From 1996-2000, he was the Director for Operations at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Department of Defense’s senior Human Intelligence (HUMINT) officer.
From 1995-1996, General Harding served as the Director for Intelligence for the Army’s U.S. Southern Command where he planned and executed operations designed to increase regional cooperation and exchanges in Latin America. He also coordinated efforts between the DIA, DEA, FBI, CIA, and Customs on sensitive interagency counter-drug operations. From 1969-1995, General Harding served in a variety of other command and staff positions around the world. He commanded a HUMINT and Counterintelligence Battalion in Korea, and the Army’s premier Counterintelligence Group, the 902d, at Fort Meade. His staff assignments included intelligence positions in U.S. Forces Command, U.S. Forces Korea, U.S. Army Europe, U.S. Army PERSCOM, and the Army Staff.
The president remarked, “I am confident that Bob’s talent and expertise will make him a tremendous asset in our ongoing efforts to bolster security and screening measures at our airports. I can think of no one more qualified than Bob to take on this important job, and I look forward to working with him in the months and years ahead.”
The agency has been without an administrator since January 20, 2009, when previous administrator, Edmund S. "Kip" Hawley, stepped down. The president’s initial nominee, Erroll Southers, withdrew his nomination on January 10 this year.