U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta named Rear Admiral Richard E. Bennis, USCG, (ret.) as the Associate Under Secretary of Transportation for Maritime and Land Security at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
Admiral Bennis, who led Coast Guard response in New York to the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, will direct TSA exercise of security responsibilities for the nation’s seaports and land transportation assets. In his last Coast Guard assignment as captain of the Port of New York, Bennis directed the successful evacuation by water of approximately 500,000 people from lower Manhattan.
“Rear Admiral Bennis’ leadership during an unimaginable situation was remarkable,” said Secretary Mineta. “He brings many hard-won skills into a demanding new environment, and will take a leading role in creating and shaping a new, 21st century organization with a 21st century mission
Under Secretary of Transportation for Security John W. Magaw added, “Admiral Bennis is uniquely qualified and we are very fortunate he decided to continue his public service career with us. He brings a great deal of specialized experience, leadership and knowledge to our team.”
Admiral Bennis served the Coast Guard for 30 years in a variety of headquarters and field assignments and was captain of the nation’s three largest East Coast ports. In addition to service as captain of the port and commander of Coast Guard Activities New York, he was port captain and commander of the Coast Guard marine safety offices in Charleston, SC and Hampton Roads, VA. He served as the chief of the Office of Response at Coast Guard Headquarters addressing implementation of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990; oil spill and hazardous materials response, planning and preparedness; and port safety
and security, including Olympic security for the 1996 Summer Olympics. He also took part in the Coast Guard’s response to the Exxon Valdez tanker accident in Prince William Sound, AK. He retired from the Coast Guard on March 15.
He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Rhode Island and a master’s degree in energy and environmental policy from Harvard. He and his wife, Gloria, have three children and one grandchild.Congress created the Transportation Security Administration to oversee security at the nation’s airports, seaports and other land transportation facilities.