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Full Senate to vote on TSA nominee Pistole

By Joe Davidson
Anne Bartlett

By The Post's Federal Diary columnist Joe Davidson:

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Thursday approved, with a voice vote, the nomination of John Pistole to be head of the Transportation Security Administration. Last week, his nomination was advanced by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

Now that the nomination has cleared both panels, it will go to the full Senate.

If approved as expected, Pistole, currently deputy director of the FBI, will run an agency that has not had a full-time director since President Obama took office. His two previous nominees withdrew. The TSA plays a major role in protecting air, rail and trucking safety.

Filling the TSA administrator's job has been particularly important to the two largest federal employee unions that are seeking to secure collective bargaining rights for about 50,000 airport screeners.

The committee also approved the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act, which is designed to guard the nation's computer networks from attack. Reforming the federal cyberspace workforce is among the many things it would do. The legislation, sponsored by Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.), Susan M. Collins (R-Maine) and Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.), calls for agencies develop plans on how they will recruit, hire and train cyberspace personnel.

The Office of Personnel Management would develop strategies to recruit students into the federal service for cyberspace related positions. Under the legislation, the Department of Homeland Security would have temporary hiring and pay flexibility in order to quickly staff a new National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications, which would take the lead in developing programs to protect public and private sector cyber-networks.

The committee also approved legislation designed to improve the training of federal managers. Introduced by Sen. Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii), the bill would require training for new supervisors during their first 12 months on the job and retraining every three years after that.

By Joe Davidson  | June 24, 2010; 4:23 PM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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