The President has nominated Coast Guard Vice Admiral Peter Neffenger to be the next Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), replacing John Pistole, who departed from the position at the end of 2014. Neffenger is currently the Vice Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard (its second-ranking official), and is well-respected within DHS, in Congress, and among the Coast Guard’s stakeholders – a fact reflected in the positive comments in the media on his nomination. Given this high praise, I would expect the two relevant Senate committees (Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and Commerce) that have a role in his nomination to move quickly.
One question related to his nomination is whether he will retain his rank within the Coast Guard after being confirmed as TSA Administrator, akin to how former CIA Director Michael Hayden remained as a four-star General in the US Air Force for the majority of the time that he served as CIA Director. In addition, given the non-partisan nature of this nomination, it will be interesting to see whether the next Administration decides to retain Neffenger in this position for the purpose of continuity, assuming that he is confirmed and is successful at TSA in the next 18 months.