The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Biden nominates David Pekoske for second term as TSA administrator

Pekoske’s five-year term as administrator had been set to expire in August

David Pekoske, administrator of the Transportation Security Administration, testifies before Congress in 2018. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Placeholder while article actions load

President Biden will nominate David Pekoske for a second five-year term as administrator of the Transportation Security Administration, the White House announced Friday.

Pekoske, who previously served as the 26th vice commandant of the Coast Guard, was confirmed as TSA’s seventh administrator in August 2017. He leads an agency with more than 60,000 employees that is best known for overseeing security operations at 440 U.S. airports, but also has responsibility for security of the nation’s highways, railroads and public transportation systems. It role overseeing security of the nation’s pipelines came under scrutiny last May after a ransomware attack shut down a major pipeline that provided fuel to the East Coast.

In a message to TSA employees on Friday, Pekoske said it was an honor to be nominated to serve a second term and pledged to continue to support the agency’s employees.

“If confirmed by the Senate for a second five-year term, we will continue to work tirelessly to improve employee recognition and pay, fostering a diverse and inclusive TSA culture, and pursuing innovative approaches to respond to emerging threats,” Pekoske wrote. “My top priority as Administrator has been and will always be supporting our incredible workforce.”

Since its creation more than 20 years ago, TSA has struggled with high turnover and low morale among its workers. Inspector general’s reports have been critical of its work overseeing security at the nation’s airports.

Congress now rethinks future for national security two decades after the 9/11 attacks

Pekoske has made employee retention a priority and has worked to create a more diverse workforce. He also has been tapped several times to lead the Department of Homeland Security on a temporary basis.

News of his nomination won praise from industry executives.

We are deeply grateful to David Pekoske for his willingness to continue serving the country and urge swift approval of his nomination to a second five-year term leading the dedicated individuals at the Transportation Security Administration," Todd Hauptli, president and chief executive of the American Association of Airport Executives, said in a statement.

Pekoske holds a master’s of business administration from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a master’s of public administration from Columbia University and a bachelor of science degree from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.