TSA's Loy to fill DHS post

President Bush announced Thursday that he intends to nominate James M. Loy as the deputy secretary of the Homeland Security Department, filling one important job but leaving his post open as the administrator of the Transportation Security Administration.

Loy replaces Gordon England, who served briefly as the second in command at DHS before returning to his old post as Navy Secretary. Both Democrats and Republicans applauded Loy's selection which must be approved by the Senate.

"I've worked closely with Admiral Loy over the years and have great confidence in his abilities," said Rep. Harold Rogers (R-Ky.), chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security. "Admiral Loy is a proven leader who has a lot of experience directing far-reaching organizations such as the U.S. Coast Guard and TSA."

Rogers said Loy's extensive knowledge and expertise in the homeland security arena will be an important asset to the White House and DHS Secretary Tom Ridge.

"Adm. Loy has dedicated his career to securing the American homeland. His leadership and experience will serve the Department well in this new assignment," stated Rep. Jim Turner, ranking member of the homeland security subcommittee.

Loy has guided TSA through rocky times as the new agency developed strict screening systems for the nation's airports and passengers. A plan to screen the backgrounds of every air passenger was put on hold because Congress demanded more study before the program was implemented.

Loy previously served as undersecretary of Transportation for Security. Earlier in his career, he served as the commandant of the Coast Guard.

There was no immediate word on who would replace Loy at TSA.

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