Obama picks Robert A. Harding for TSA

TSA Screener

The Transportation Security Administration is responsible for airport security. Image from Flickr.

Robert A. Harding, a retired Army General and security company head, is rumored to be the White House’s pick to lead the embattled Transportation Security Administration. With extensive security experience and 33 years in the Army, Robert A. Harding is well-positioned to be confirmed by the senate.

General Robert Harding’s Army experience

Robert A. Harding served in the U.S. Army for 33 years. Harding was a “senior human intelligence officer” of the Defense Intelligence Agency, which is a part of the U.S. intelligence community – much like the CIA, but with a focus on military intelligence. Before serving for the DIA, Robert Harding was the director for the intelligence for the Army’s Southern Command. In this post, Robert A. Harding was responsible for the military intelligence covering Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. In this position, he was in charge of planning and executing all intelligence operations in this area, which most likely included dealing with getting armed forces loans for his agents when necessary.

Robert A. Harding’s Military Decorations

According to Executive Gov, “Harding’s military awards and decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Army Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Medal, the Legion of Merit with three oak leaf clusters, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and the Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters.” With such an extensive military record, Harding is well-positioned to be easily confirmed by the Senate.

Harding Security Associates

After leaving the military in 2001, Robert A. Harding started Harding Security Associates in 2003. Harding Security Associates is a private contractor and consulting firm that, according to their website, provide “security specialists, intelligence analysts, counterintelligence professionals, forensic technicians and senior program advisors” to U.S. Government agencies. Robert Harding himself sold Harding Security Associates in 2009.

Transportation Security Administration to be headed by Harding

Robert A. Harding was not President Obama’s original choice for the top job in the TSA. Erroll Southers, who is an airport police official at the LAX airport, was Obama’s original choice. However, Republicans made it a point to block the nomination based. This block was because of the fear Southers would create a screener’s union, which would increase costs for the government. Robert Harding will most likely be fairly easily confirmed by the Senate.

TSA not without controversy

Created in 2001, the Transportation Security Administration that Robert A. Harding is set to take over is not without controversy. The screening of commercial airline passengers and luggage is a large security, intelligence, and public relations task. Many airline passengers are becoming increasingly frustrated with the long wait times and strict regulations they must comply with. Full-body scanners are also currently in testing at some TSA station, which is raising very serious privacy concerns. Robert A. Harding will have to not only head up the security of the nation’s airports, he will also have to balance that with the rising discontent and frustration of air passengers. It will be a very difficult job, though President Obama seems to believe that Robert A. Harding is the one to take on the credit repair of this agency.

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