Bart R. Johnson has been named as the 2021 Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Federal Security Director of the Year for medium-sized airports across the country.
As the Federal Security Director (FSD), he is the top TSA official for 13 airports in the state of New York in areas outside of the metropolitan New York City area, including all of the airports in Upstate New York (UNY). He is responsible for mitigating threats against aviation and other transportation sectors by providing leadership and direction to TSA personnel engaged in intelligence-based security operations.
The airports that Johnson oversees for TSA include Albany International, Syracuse-Hancock International, Buffalo Niagara International, Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester International, Niagara Falls International, Elmira-Corning Regional, Greater Binghamton, Ithaca Tompkins International, Adirondack Regional, Plattsburgh International, Massena International, Watertown International and Ogdensburg International Airports. With respect to geography, his area of responsibility covers 46,280 square miles, has a population of approximately 6 million and is larger than 18 states and more populated 33 states.
In an area of responsibility this diverse and large, Johnson successfully developed the “One UNY” theme in the transportation security arena. Johnson embraced a multimedia approach to sharing information through individualized, in-person meetings, phone calls, email, video-teleconferences, and system-oriented communications that has brought statewide transportation stakeholders together to ask questions, share innovations and ideas and learn collectively.
Johnson’s partnership with the New York Aviation Management Association and the executive directors of the airports has yielded regular inter-organizational forums that emphasize partnership and collaboration in support of stakeholder objectives and the TSA mission.
Johnson has demonstrated a commitment to the TSA workforce that has been showcased during the pandemic, and the subsequent recovery and goal to return to normal operations. He remains committed to ensuring that the workforce is kept informed regarding the evolutions of the pandemic, and is positioned to effectively mitigate exposure risks. He implemented emergent policy and procedural changes associated with the pandemic that has allowed the TSA workforce at his airports to navigate pandemic response and recovery efforts with mission-focus and workforce protection in the forefront.
Johnson spearheaded the development of a COVID-19 action plan and associated tactical response plan for both internal and external stakeholders; an infection control monitor protocol that was recognized as a national best practice; and in May 2021, a normalizing operations training curriculum aimed at re-familiarizing TSA officers with security policies and procedural applications, while building workforce confidence and setting expectations as travel volume increased.
In addition to ensuring the overall well-being of the workforce throughout the pandemic, Johnson regularly meets and interacts with security officers, compliance inspectors, and his leadership team – both virtually and in-person – engaging them to ensure they receive the level of support needed to perform their duties.
Johnson has participated in initiatives and pilot programs related to computed tomography checkpoint optimization and other security equipment evolutions; TSA surface transportation security program development and inter-agency partnership initiatives; TSA pandemic response procedures evolutions; TSA efficiencies analyses; queueing dynamics; and the TSA model officer program. Johnson also served on the TSA National Pay and Compensation Board, where he lobbied for improved compensation for the officer workforce based on their position as the last line of defense, and highlighted the cognitive burden faced by officers in the course of their daily duties.
Johnson has always attributed the innovations and initiatives developed in UNY to the leadership team that he works with daily. Without their support, their collective commitment to the mission and their untiring dedication to keeping the public safe from harm, UNY would not have realized the success of these programs this past year under his leadership.
Johnson joined TSA in April of 2014, first as an Assistant Federal Security Director and in September of 2015 became a Federal Security Director. His professional career spans more than four decades and has always been focused on the related fields of security, intelligence and law enforcement. Johnson came to TSA from the International Association of Chiefs of Police, where he served as the organization’s Executive Director. Prior to that, he served as the Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis at the Department of Homeland Security where he was responsible for integrating the department’s intelligence efforts. Johnson also served as Director of Homeland Security and Law Enforcement in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. In this capacity, Johnson began his career with the New York State Police, where he served for 24 years and retired with the rank of Colonel.