TSA testing mobile devices for its employees, CIO says

Official describes TSA's need for workforce mobility

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.


Related story:

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 solution.”

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 airports.

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 Services Administration.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

The 2015 Federal 100

Meet 100 women and men who are doing great things in federal IT.

Featured

  • Shutterstock image (by venimo): e-learning concept image, digital content and online webinar icons.

    Can MOOCs make the grade for federal training?

    Massive open online courses can offer specialized IT instruction on a flexible schedule and on the cheap. That may not always mesh with government's preference for structure and certification, however.

  • Shutterstock image (by edel): graduation cap and diploma.

    Cybersecurity: 6 schools with the right stuff

    The federal government craves more cybersecurity professionals. These six schools are helping meet that demand.

  • Rick Holgate

    Holgate to depart ATF

    Former ACT president will take a job with Gartner, follow his spouse to Vienna, Austria.

  • Are VA techies slacking off on Yammer?

    A new IG report cites security and productivity concerns associated with employees' use of the popular online collaboration tool.

  • Shutterstock image: digital fingerprint, cyber crime.

    Exclusive: The OPM breach details you haven't seen

    An official timeline of the Office of Personnel Management breach obtained by FCW pinpoints the hackers’ calibrated extraction of data, and the government's step-by-step response.

  • Stephen Warren

    Deputy CIO Warren exits VA

    The onetime acting CIO at Veterans Affairs will be taking over CIO duties at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

  • Shutterstock image: monitoring factors of healthcare.

    DOD awards massive health records contract

    Leidos, Accenture and Cerner pull off an unexpected win of the multi-billion-dollar Defense Healthcare Management System Modernization contract, beating out the presumptive health-records leader.

  • Sweating the OPM data breach -- Illustration by Dragutin Cvijanovic

    Sweating the stolen data

    Millions of background-check records were compromised, OPM now says. Here's the jaw-dropping range of personal data that was exposed.

  • FCW magazine

    Let's talk about Alliant 2

    The General Services Administration is going to great lengths to gather feedback on its IT services GWAC. Will it make for a better acquisition vehicle?

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above