Senate confirms new TSA chief

Senate confirms new TSA chief
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The Senate has confirmed President Trump’s pick to lead the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Before leaving town for the August recess on Thursday, senators unanimously voted to approve David Pekoske to be TSA administrator.

Pekoske is a former vice commandant for the U.S. Coast Guard, where he was second-in-command and chief operating officer. Prior to that, he was commander of Coast Guard Pacific Area and Coast Guard Defense Forces West.

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“Ensuring the safety and security of the traveling public, the top priority for airports, is best achieved through effective collaboration between airports, airlines, law enforcement agencies, and other aviation industry stakeholders,” said Kevin Burke, president and CEO of Airports Council International – North America.

“Assistant Secretary Pekoske’s proven track record of mission-focused strategic management is essential in reinforcing the importance of a risk-based approach to aviation security.”

Pekoske will be stepping into the role at a critical time for the TSA, which has been tasked with ramping up security amid a heightened threat to aviation.

The Homeland Security Department has implemented a new security plan that all international flights must follow if they want to avoid a ban on laptops in the flight cabin. And the TSA announced tougher screening protocols for carry-on bags at all airports in the U.S.

The TSA, which has had 13 administrators over the past 16 years, has also struggled with low morale at the agency and has experienced high turnover rates in recent years.

Pekoske said during his confirmation hearing that he hopes to improve employee morale as TSA chief.