TSA testing mobile devices for its employees, CIO says
Official describes TSA's need for workforce mobility
- By Alice Lipowicz
- Jun 17, 2011
The Transportation Security Administration is exploring how to put more mobile devices in the hands of some of its managers and employees, TSA's CIO said June 16.
“We need secure mobility,” said Emma Garrison-Alexander, who has been in charge of TSA’s annual $400 million IT budget since June 2009. “We have inspectors, behavior officers and managers moving from location to location.”
Garrison-Alexander, who spoke at the Women in Technology’s Government Leaders at the Helm event, said she has carried her personal MacBook Air notebook computer while traveling on business but has not hooked it up to the TSA network because it is not an approved device.
TSA names Garrison-Alexander as CIO
She said TSA is evaluating a number of mobile devices, including iPads,
to meet its workforce mobility needs. “We want something light and easy
to use,” she added. “We are not fixated on the iPad, but it has to be
portable, light and secure.”
TSA is currently testing several tablet PCs and other mobile devices to
determine whether they can meet the federal requirements for security,
including those specified by the Federal Information Security Management
Act, the Homeland Security Department, and the National Institute of
Standards and Technology, Garrison-Alexander said.
So far, the devices’ performance has suffered when operating with strong security, she added.
“The iPad can operate the security applications, but it takes away from
the functionality,” she said. “We are still trying to work toward a
TSA already offers a popular mobile application for consumers called
MyTSA that provides information on what travelers are allowed to bring
on airplanes and real-time crowdsourced data on waiting times at major
Other speakers at the event included Linda Cureton, CIO at NASA; Lesley
Field, deputy administrator at the Office of Federal Procurement Policy;
Amy Morris, executive editor at Federal News Radio; and Patricia
Waddell, deputy director of the IT Schedule 70 program at the General
Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.