Finding his place in the cyber world at TSA

Wednesday, February 28, 2024
Cybersecurity Inspector Logan Carson (TSA Compliance

In November 2002, Logan Carson was a young 20-year-old just starting his career at TSA and beginning to find his place in the world.

Over the last 21-plus years, he found it – at TSA.

“My home airport was a very small operation in Pocatello, Idaho,” Carson recalled. “I spent around nine years as a TSA officer, six as a lead officer and six as a supervisory officer.”

Then, in September 2023, he accepted a transfer opportunity to work with the newly formed Aviation Branch of the Cyber Assurance Division within TSA’s Surface Operations.

“Cyber was something I long targeted as a career path,” said Carson. “I’ve always been interested in computers, and I identified cyber as a growth field with all the potential in the world.”

The Cyber Defense Skilling Academy (CDSA) was Carson’s springboard into TSA’s cybersecurity program. CDSA is an intense, three-month accelerated training program offered by the DHS Cyber Infrastructure and Security Agency, better known as CISA. It’s designed for people looking to make a career change, join the cybersecurity community or learn cybersecurity skills.

“I accidentally discovered the CDSA while I was looking for something else on the DHS intranet,” Carson noted.

Logan Carson (second from left) and former team members at Pocatello Regional Airport. (Photo courtesy of Logan Carson)
Logan Carson (second from left) and former team members at Pocatello Regional Airport. (Photo courtesy of Logan Carson)

That accident led to his new full-time job as a cybersecurity inspector in TSA’s Compliance. In fact, Carson was the first TSA employee who graduated from the CDSA program and climbed the career ladder from TSA screening officer to cybersecurity inspector.

“I provide subject matter expert support to the Security Operations Cybersecurity Inspections team who are the credentialed inspectors supporting TSA’s cyber regulation efforts in aviation and cargo,” Carson explained. “This is a job where I have the chance to work with some of the smartest people across aviation. I look forward to coming to work and feel very lucky I can say that.”

He attributes much of his success to the mentors who supported his journey along the way, including through the CDSA program.

“Mentorship is one of the most valuable and effective development tools we have,” emphasized Carson. “Mentorship is how we teach people to avoid the mistakes of the past. I have been very lucky to be placed alongside people who have believed in me enough to allow me to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. Without those people, I would not be here in this position today.”

Carson believes in mentorship so much that he makes sure to give back to everyone he can. He directly mentored three TSA employees who attended the same CDSA program which started him on his successful cyber path.

Carson wants to be an example for other people interested in moving up the career ladder and offers some advice.

“Don’t give up. I know at times, we can find ourselves stuck for any number of reasons. We get passed over for promotions, we can’t get into a particular opportunity because of current workload, we don’t feel supported by those above us. Set lofty goals, and don’t let anything stand in your way. Seek out people who genuinely care about you as a person and professional. Pursue your education.”

Carson doesn’t feel he can tell his story without thanking many of the people who helped him along the way.

“Too many to name,” he said. “Those supervisors, managers, training specialists, program specialists, assistant (TSA) federal security directors and federal security directors all have my eternal gratitude. A special ‘thank you’ to my amazing wife, Angela, my rock and best friend.”

By Don Wagner, TSA Strategic Communications & Public Affairs