WASHINGTON–The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, led by Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., and Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Me., Tuesday considered the nominations of Erroll Southers and Daniel Gordon. 

Erroll Southers has been nominated to be Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration. He is currently the Assistant Chief of Homeland Security and Intelligence at Los Angeles World Airports.

“To this job, Mr. Southers brings the nearly three decades of experience in public safety, homeland security and intelligence he has earned working at all levels of government and in academia,” Lieberman said. “If Mr. Southers is confirmed, he will be taking charge of an agency that has made enormous strides in the last eight years to strengthen the security of the commercial aviation sector since 9-11, but that must make more progress on increasing the security of other forms of transportation, particularly for mass transit and railways.”

Senator Collins said the TSA post is of primary importance. “From its first day of operation, the TSA was given a critical assignment under extraordinary circumstances.  It was created to close the serious aviation security gaps that allowed terrorists to board airplanes, overpower the crews in-flight, and carry out deadly attacks against America on September 11, 2001,” she said. “Every year, the TSA screens more than 600 million airline passengers.  The agency, through its screening and security efforts, has helped restore Americans’ confidence in air travel.  While progress has been made, some security vulnerabilities persist.  For example, there have been troubling reports of undercover government inspectors being able to smuggle bomb components and weapons undetected through TSA security checkpoints.  To respond to these troubling findings, TSA must be aggressive in improving its screener training.  It also must develop new and innovative technologies to aid in the detection of threats. The important mission of TSA will require a focused and determined leader. The security of our nation’s transportation systems depends upon it.”

Daniel Gordon has been nominated to be Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) at OMB. Since 1992, Gordon has served as an attorney at the Government Accountability Office, rising up through the ranks to be Deputy General Counsel. 

“I am pleased the President has turned to a seasoned expert in this field to serve as the Administrator of OFPP,” Lieberman said. “Mr. Gordon is known throughout the procurement community as an extremely intelligent and thoughtful lawyer who views acquisition as not just negotiating the four corners of a contract.  Successful acquisition requires careful pre-contract planning and close post-contract oversight, facts Mr. Gordon fully understands.”

Collins said: “Seldom has a nominee for Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy come before this Committee at a more critical time.  The federal acquisition system is under tremendous stress.  Between fiscal year 2000 and 2008, acquisition spending by the federal government expanded by 163 percent, from $205 billion to $539 billion. While contract spending has risen dramatically, the number of acquisition professionals who help plan, award, and oversee these contracts has been stagnant.  And with roughly half of the current acquisition workforce eligible to retire over the next decade, the difficulties of strengthening that workforce will become increasingly acute.  A well-trained and well-resourced acquisition workforce is critical to keeping pace with increased federal spending and much more complex procurements of goods and services.” She said Gordon “brings with him more than 20 years of private and public experience in the federal acquisition system ranging from litigating and adjudicating bid protests, to teaching about the federal procurement system at a law school.”