President nominates Coast Guard Vice Commandant to head Transportation Security Administration

Vice Adm. Peter Neffenger speaks during the vice commandant change of watch ceremony at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C., Tuesday, May 20, 2014. Neffenger became the 29th vice commandant of the Coast Guard during the event.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley)

Vice Adm. Peter Neffenger speaks during the vice commandant change of watch ceremony at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C., Tuesday, May 20, 2014. Neffenger became the 29th vice commandant of the Coast Guard during the event. (U.S. Coast Guard photo Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley)

Vice Adm. Peter Neffenger, the U.S. Coast Guard’s second-in-command, has been nominated by President Barack Obama to run the Transportation Security Administration. He will be tasked with keeping passengers safe during times of serious threats from the Middle East and beyond.

According to ABC News, Neffenger has served in the Coast Guard since 1981 and has been its vice commandant since 2014. He was overseen port security in two California locations, one being Los Angeles, and was the deputy commander for the oil spill that resulted from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion.

Obama declared Neffenger a “recognized leader” and someone who has tackled on the nation’s prior critical challenges.

“The talent and expertise Vice Adm. Neffenger brings to his new role after more than three decades at the U.S. Coast Guard will be valuable to this administration’s efforts to strengthen transportation security,” Obama said in a statement.

The nomination comes at a time where the agency is struggling to address ever evolving threats of terrorism that have become harder to detect since the TSA was formed in the wake of 9/11.

Neffenger’s nomination was also welcomed by Sen. Kelly Ayotte who sits on the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Ayotte stated the TSA needs “strong leadership and a coherent strategy” to ensure the United States has the best security.

“Filling this vacancy is a critical and long overdue step in that process,” said Ayotte.

If confirmed by the Senate, Neffenger will replace former TSA chief John Pistole who announced his retirement last year.

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