TSA's Garrison-Alexander putting mission ahead of technology

Wednesday - 5/26/2010, 4:10pm EDT

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May 27, 2010 -- Emma Garrison-Alexander spent most of her career behind the cone of silence of the National Security Agency working on a host of technology issues.

When she decided to move to the Transportation Security Administration to be the chief information officer, she found one huge difference.

Garrison-Alexander says the public nature of TSA's work surprised her a little, but over the last year she has grown more comfortable with it. But at the same time, the goals of both agencies--to protect the nation--are similar in many ways.

In the year since she came to TSA, Garrison-Alexander has focused on helping the agency meets its mission through technology. That means every IT initiative must impact the way TSA does its job.

Her priorities over the next year include finishing TSA's data center consolidation, upgrading its technology infrastructure as a part of that effort and, of course, cybersecurity.

She also is hopeful TSA finally will transition to a new contractor to manage its IT infrastructure. TSA awarded a $489 million contract to CSC in early May to replace Unisys as its IT managed services contractor.