Huban A. Gowadia is currently the Acting Administrator of the TSA. She assumed the role after the stepping down of the previous head of TSA at the end of the Obama Presidency.
Huban Gowadia is the Deputy Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration. In addition to guiding implementation of the Administrator’s strategic goals, she oversees the day-to-day operations of TSA. As a proven counterterrorism and security professional, she provides leadership, direction and guidance to further the Administrator’s goals for the agency and assists in determining TSA policies, objectives and priorities.
Prior to joining TSA, she most recently served as Director of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security where she led DHS’s coordinated efforts to protect the United States from nuclear attack. Under her direction, DHS advanced national nuclear forensics capabilities and coordinated government-wide efforts to enhance worldwide capabilities to detect, analyze and report on nuclear and other radioactive materials that are out of regulatory control.
She also served as Program Executive for DHS’s Science & Technology Directorate, where she led the Countermeasures Test Bed, evaluating next-generation technologies for detecting explosives and nuclear materials, operational requirements and response protocols.
Dr. Gowadia began her federal career with the Federal Aviation Administration in 2000, working on aviation security technologies and policy. When the office transitioned to TSA as the Office of Security Technologies in 2001, she served as Checkpoint Program Manager and after September 11, 2001, she led TSA’s initiative to replace all walk-through metal detectors at airports with enhanced systems.
Dr. Gowadia received a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Alabama and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering from Pennsylvania State University.
More about Huban
Gowadia was born in 1969 in Mumbai, India. She graduated from the University of Alabama in 1993 with a Bachelor of Science in aerospace engineering. She went on to earn a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Pennsylvania State in 2000. She specialized in fluid mechanics and heat and mass transfer. Her dissertation research dealt with “the scientific background for an explosives detection portal for personnel screening.”
She worked for the Federal Aviation Administration’s aviation security laboratory from 2000 to 2001 as part of the explosives and weapons detection team. The September 11, 2001, attacks had a profound effect on Gowadia. After being appointed DNDO director, she told Crimson White, the University of Alabama campus newspaper, “I would have to say the most impactful and shaping event of my life was Sept. 11. Right then and there learning curves were steepened at an incredible pace.…I realized the words of good mentors at the time, and teammates, because we had to do very difficult things in very short periods of time.”
Shortly after the attacks, Gowadia moved to the Transportation Security Administration, where she worked until 2003 as checkpoint program manager. She then managed Homeland Security’s Science & Technology Countermeasures Test Beds until 2005, when she joined DNDO.
Gowadia moved quickly up the ladder in that agency, starting as assistant director for assessments. In 2007, she became assistant director of the mission management directorate before becoming deputy director of DNDO in 2010. She took over as acting director of the agency in 2012 before being formally appointed as director in 2013.