Opening Statement of Chairman Ron Johnson: Nomination Hearing to Consider Peter V. Neffenger to be assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and David S. Shapira to be governor, U.S. Postal Service

 As prepared for delivery

Good morning and welcome. 

We have convened this hearing to consider the nomination of Vice Admiral Peter V. Neffenger to be the next administrator of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). 

Today’s hearing will provide members of the committee an opportunity to address their concerns with recent TSA shortcomings and to ask the nominee how, if he is confirmed, he plans to address the challenges currently facing the TSA. 

Just yesterday, this committee heard troubling testimony from current TSA employees and Department of Homeland Security Inspector General John Roth.  The testimony of these witnesses coupled with recent reports produced by the Government Accountability Office and reporting by the news media have raised questions about the TSA’s ability to execute its security mission.  

In order to stay ahead of criminals and terrorists, the agency needs strong leadership capable of improving the TSA’s security posture.  The next TSA administrator will have the difficult task of addressing waste, low employee morale, and potential vulnerabilities that exist in programs and technologies.

Vice Admiral Neffenger currently serves as the vice commandant of the United States Coast Guard.  During his 34 years of service, he has held various substantial leadership positions.  For example, he served as commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District, where he was responsible for Coast Guard operations throughout the five Great Lakes and helped secure over 1,500 miles of the U.S.-Canada border.  In addition, he served as deputy national incident commander during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

I thank Vice Admiral Neffenger for his testimony and look forward to a frank discussion of his vision to improve TSA operations. 

Today we will also consider the nomination of David S. Shapira to be a governor of the United States Postal Service.  It is unfortunate that while the United States Postal Service is suffering huge losses and decreasing volume, the Board of Governors has been operating without a quorum.  Last month, this committee approved four other nominees to the board.  I thank David Shapira for being here today and hope that we can get these nominees confirmed so the board can return to regular order.