Obama to nominate retired Army general to head TSA

March 8, 2010

The White House will nominate Robert A. Harding, a retired major general with 33 years of Army experience, as head of the Transportation Security Administration, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced March 8.

Harding served in many intelligence positions within the Army during his tenure and served as the director for operations at the Defense Intelligence Agency. He will be President Barack Obama’s second nomination for the position of assistant secretary in the Department of Homeland Security in charge of the TSA; Erroll G. Southers withdrew his nomination in January.

“The Transportation Security Administration plays an important role in determining the rules that govern general aviation and other modes of transportation,” said AOPA Vice President of Operations and International Affairs Craig Spence. “We will monitor the nomination process and stand ready to work with a new TSA administrator.”

Harding served in the Army from 1969 to 2001, when he retired as deputy to the Army’s chief of intelligence. His staff assignments included intelligence positions in U.S. Forces Command, U.S. Forces Korea, U.S. Army Europe, U.S. Army PERSCOM, and the Army Staff. He also commanded a HUMINT and counterintelligence battalion in Korea and the Army's premier counterintelligence group, the 902d, at Fort Meade, Md., according to the announcement.

From 1995 to 1996, Harding was director for intelligence for the Army's U.S. Southern Command. Then, he went on to be director for operations at the Defense Intelligence Agency. He has also served on the National Counterintelligence Review Group, on the Director of National Intelligence's diversity senior advisory panel, and as a member of the Obama Administration's presidential transition team. After retiring from the Army, Harding founded the company Harding Security Associates, of which he served as CEO until he sold the company in 2009.