TSA CIO Garrison-Alexander retiring

Friday - 3/15/2013, 4:47pm EDT

Transportation Security Administration Chief Information Officer and Assistant Administrator in the Office of IT Emma Garrison-Alexander is retiring after 29 years in government.

"I'm taking an early out as part of TSA's voluntary retirement authority that they are offering," Garrison-Alexander said in an interview with Federal News Radio. "The time just comes. When time comes, you know it's right and you know it's time to move on to do other things. I also have some family medical things to address. I've had a tremendous career and opportunities here and at NSA."

She said her last day in the office is today.

"I haven't decided what comes next," Garrison-Alexander said. "I've been going full speed for 10 years so now I'll take a break and then reassess what comes next."

In a note to staff yesterday, which Federal News Radio obtained, Garrison-Alexander said the opportunity to serve the country has been a blessing and an honor to work with federal employees.

"Since joining TSA in 2009, it has been a privilege to lead the Office of Information Technology as it has matured in responsibility and taken a key role in supporting the TSA mission," Garrison-Alexander wrote. "TSA has been a leader for several critical Department of Homeland Security IT initiatives, including data center consolidation, mobile computing, application development, and the digital government strategy. TSA has also become a highly respected leader in strengthening cyber security across DHS and the federal government."

TSA deputy CIO Steve Rice will move into the acting role.

During her time as CIO, Garrison-Alexander focused on helping TSA's mission through technology. TSA has been one of the DHS test agencies for its private cloud for test and development services, and around cybersecurity and the development of a continuous monitoring framework.

"OIT's success is predicated on the strength of its staff, and I am proud to have had the opportunity to lead and collaborate with so many highly skilled and dedicated employees," she wrote. "I encourage you to continue to build your expertise and apply your knowledge to the continuous improvement of IT services at TSA. The challenges to transportation security will never stop evolving, and the application of information technology to mitigate risks is a critical factor in keeping our nation's travelers safe. Never forget that!"

Garrison-Alexander started her career as an electronic engineer at the National Security Agency and worked her way up through the intelligence agency. Garrison-Alexander becomes the second DHS component CIO to leave in the last few weeks.

FEMA's Jeanne Etzel went to work for the DHS CIO permanently on March 5, and Rob Thomas, the deputy CIO, is now the acting one until a new one is hired.

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