President Bush has tapped James Loy, the head of the Transportation Security Administration and former commandant of the Coast Guard, to be deputy secretary of the Homeland Security Department.
Loy will assume his new position as soon as the Senate confirms him, said DHS spokesman Gordon Johndroe. He is replacing Gordon England, whom the administration has asked to return to his job as Navy secretary.
Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Susan Collins, R-Maine, said Thursday she plans to expedite Loy's nomination.
"Adm. Loy has front-line experience in homeland security, as well as the credibility and resourcefulness that is needed for this challenging position," Collins said in a statement. "I intend to hold the confirmation hearing as soon as possible, after the nomination is received by the Senate. This is a critically important job and I would like to get Adm. Loy confirmed expeditiously."
Johndroe said Loy was selected because of his experience in dealing with security-related issues. Loy served in the Coast Guard for 38 years and has served as administrator of TSA since March.
"I think you would be hard-pressed to find in this government someone who brings more experience and knowledge of operations and organizations when it comes to homeland security than Adm. Loy," Johndroe said. "He's been working on homeland security issues before most people knew what homeland security was."
No announcement has been made on who might succeed Loy at TSA. Loy will remain at the helm of the agency while serving in his new position until a new TSA administrator is appointed, Johndroe said.
TSA is one of 22 agencies that are part of the Homeland Security Department. As deputy secretary, Loy will be responsible for operations and management across the entire department.