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TSA Replaces Head of Security as Airport Lines Keep Getting Longer

by Alex Johnson and Jay Blackman /  / Updated 
IMAGE: Kelly Hoggan
Kelly Hoggan was replaced Monday as assistant TSA administrator for security operations.Transportation Security Administration

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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.

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.

IMAGE: Kelly Hoggan
Kelly Hoggan was replaced Monday as assistant TSA administrator for security operations.Transportation Security Administration

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.

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.

Related: TSA Apologizes for Delays, Promises Hundreds of New Staffers at Chicago O'Hare Airport

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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