Passengers at O'Hare International Airport wait in line to be screened at a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint on May 16, 2016 in Chicago, Ill.
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty)

TSA replaces head of security as airport lines keep getting longer

The Transportation Security Administration moved dramatically Monday to address the issue of long lines at the nation’s airports, replacing its head of security and creating a centralized incident command team at TSA headquarters.

MSNBC Live, 5/14/16, 12:44 PM ET

TSA takes step to cut down airport lines

Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and high level national security officials are taking a look at what the U.S. travel association is calling a national crisis. National Security Analyst at the Terror Asymmetrics Project, Scriven King,…
Kelly Hoggan, the agency’s assistant administrator for security operations since 2013, will be replaced by Darby LaJoye, TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger said in an internal memo obtained by NBC News.

LaJoye, currently a deputy assistant TSA administrator, was previously a top security official at two of the world’s busiest airports — Los Angeles International Airport and JFK in New York.

Kelly Hoggan was replaced Monday as assistant TSA administrator for security operations.

Hoggan, who has been the focus of congressional inquiries into staffing and pay decisions, was reassigned to new duties, Neffenger said.

The appointment is part of a series of moves, some of them not revealed until Monday, that Neffenger has taken since hundreds of passengers were stranded in security lines as their planes took off at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport this month.

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Neffenger and his boss, Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, promised that more than 300 extra TSA officers would be assigned to Chicago’s airports by mid-August — 58 of them within the next three weeks — and that 100 more part-time workers in Chicago would be promoted to full time.

In his memo Monday, Neffenger said a new leadership team has been put in place at O’Hare, bolstered by screening experts from airports across the country.

In addition, Neffenger said the TSA has established a National Incident Command Center at the agency’s headquarters in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.

The center will track daily screening operations and will have the authority to shift officers and other resources on the fly as passenger volume dictates, he said.

“These adjustments will enable more focused leadership and screening operations at critical airports in the national transportation system,” Neffenger said.

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TSA replaces head of security as airport lines keep getting longer