Elisabeth Smeda currently serves as the Team Lead Desk Officer for the Western Hemisphere desk, in the Office of Global Strategies International Operations Directorate. She joined TSA in 2008 after 18 years in the private sector as a senior technical writer and program manager on various contracts, including NASA, the World Bank, and the Department of Energy. In her current role, Smeda works as a domestic counterpart to TSA Representatives (TSARs) in Mexico and Canada.
“What I do matters because I help maintain U.S. diplomatic matters related to aviation security within the Western Hemisphere. Desk Officers are based stateside and work in coordination with TSARs posted around the globe who are responsible for international cooperation, information sharing, and transportation security. The TSARs are on the frontlines with international stakeholders to promote consistency among international security standards, foreign government requirements, and TSA regulatory programs.
“Desk Officers are on the frontlines with our agency partners in Washington, D.C. In close collaboration with our regional managers, we often serve as point of contact for our respective issues, representing our TSARs both within DHS and to other federal stakeholders (e.g., FAA, DOS, etc.). While the TSARs foster relationships with host countries to help secure the multi-modal transportation system, I work to ensure that those efforts are embedded into a broader strategy, consistent with TSA, DHS, and the U.S. government’s overarching approach to the region.
“I am fascinated by the international nexus of OGS’s mission. Each Desk Officer has a unique portfolio of countries, so no two Desk Officers work issues the same way. I find it rewarding to learn how each issue is resolved based on the culture, political will, and resources of any single country.”
From the Office of Strategic Communications/Public Affairs