Q&A: George Naccara

March 15, 2011

TSA Federal Security Director George Naccara.

George Naccara is currently serving as the Federal Security Director for the Transportation Administration (TSA) under the Department of Homeland Security at Logan International Airport. He holds a Masters Degree from Central Michigan University and was a Research Fellow in National Security at Harvard. He is a Coast Guard Academy graduate. He served in the US Coast Guard, retiring as a rear admiral. In 2002 he came to Boston to head the TSA.

Today, he leads a security force of 1300 men and women employed by the TSA. Admiral Naccara was interviewed in his Logan Airport office recently. Here’s what he had to say.

Q: Where are you from and what was it like for you at the Coast Guard Academy?

A: I was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Northern New Jersey. I studied science and math at the academy and I played football two years for Otto Graham.

Q: What about your career with the Coast Guard?

A: I spent 33 years in the Coast Guard. I enjoyed every bit of my service. I was stationed on Governor’s Island, New York at the time of 9/11.

Q: How were you affected by 9/11?

A: Profoundly. The events of that day renewed my Patriotic spirit. And I said to myself that day that when I retired I’d want to continue as part of the fight to keep this nation free.

Q: When did you begin at Logan?

A: I arrived in 2002. I had a choice – Dulles Airport near to Washington, D.C. or Logan. At the time, and due to circumstances, Logan was considered one of the most challenging assignments. I chose Logan. I’ve never regretted it.

Q: What are your responsibilities?

A: I am responsible for the training and the conduct of 1300 men and women security employees whose job it is to maintain Logan International Airport as the safest in the nation. I am also responsible for security when it comes to the safe conduct of millions of passengers using Logan Airport. In addition to the 24/7 security work we do here at Logan, TSA has other responsibilities with nearly every form of transportation from ferries on the Cape Islands to bus-lines connecting Boston with the rest of the nation.

Q: How would you describe TSA at Logan Airport?

A: We are Massport’s leadership partner in every sense of the word when it comes to security and we work hard to build on our professionalism all the time. The partnership with Massport is strong.

Q: Is security discussed everyday?

A. Since 9/11, there has been a daily, morning meeting at 8:30 a.m. headed by Massport’s Aviation Chief Ed Freni. All of us meet everyday without exception in the  Massport media room. This includes all of Logan’s federal and state authorities, representatives of all of Logan’s carriers, and everyone responsible for security.

Q: What is discussed at those daily meetings?

A:  We focus on security. It is a great forum to focus on security – and we do. Every incident of every kind that happened in the past 24 hours is scrutinized. Every arrest, every airplane malfunction or issue, every State Police incident at the airport and on and on.

Q:  What about advanced detection policy? How is it going?

A:  Logan was the first airport in the nation with advanced imaging. It has gone well here. Less than 1/10 of a percent opt out of being scanned and our security force is trained never to begin with a scan until the person scanned knows exactly what is being done. As good as the imaging is, there are new technologies about to be tested.

Q: What is TSA’s contribution to security at Logan?

A:  Our security employees are honest. They have integrity. They’ve been trained well. We all truly work together at this airport. Security is the focus. The Logan Airport community has been brought together through that impetus – and it works.

  • Cucu

    TSA= Tugs Serving America