The White House announced last week President Obama’s intent to nominate Erroll Southers, the associate director of USC’s Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events, as the assistant secretary of the Transportation Security Administration.
After announcing his intended nominees to various posts — Southers included — President Obama said in a press release, “I am grateful that these fine individuals have agreed to serve my administration at this important time for our nation. I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead to strengthen our economy, keep our nation safe and provide new opportunities for all our people.”
With a broad spectrum of public service under his belt, Southers will contribute his expertise and experience from serving as deputy director of homeland security for the state of California, a police officer with the Santa Monica Police Department and a special agent with the FBI.
“[We’re] sorry to see him go, actually,” said Marshall McClain, president of the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Association in a press release. “Out of the new management team, I would say he was the most well-received and most well-liked.”
In addition to his responsibilities at CREATE, he is also pursuing a doctorate in policy, planning, and development at the university.
CREATE declined to comment until the nomination is confirmed.
As a TSA administrator, Southers will supervise the efforts to protect United States highways, railroads, ports and mass transit systems. He will also be in charge of the Federal Air Marshal Service and security operations for 450 government-run airports throughout the country.
Additionally, Southers will oversee approximately 50,000 employees, 45,000 of whom work as screeners providing security at government-run airports nationwide, according to CNN.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano approved of President Obama’s intent to nominate Southers.
“Effective transportation security involves protecting our citizens from threats while facilitating travel around the country and throughout the world,” Napolitano said in a press release. “Erroll’s expertise in counterterrorism and airport security will be a great asset to the department in our efforts to ensure the safety of the nation’s transportation systems.”
Upon official nomination, the Senate Commerce Committee will commence with a background investigation of Southers that will lead to a Senate confirmation hearing.
Southers declined to comment until the nomination is official.
Southers holds a bachelor’s degree from Brown University as well as an MPA from USC.