Introduction of and Advice for the NEW FAA Chief of Staff 

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Morning Transportation



Experience with FAA (security and air traffic) , DOT, TSA/DHS and Marine intelligence

UVA and GMU degrees with honors

Peggy Gilligan as a role model for Power Behind the Throne



STEVE DICKSON’S COS: The head of the FAA has picked Angela Stubblefield to be his chief of staff, Brianna scooped on Tuesday. Right now, Stubblefield is the FAA’s deputy associate administrator for security and hazardous materials safety. She’ll start her new job next month. Acting chief of staff Tina Amereihn will move on to become director of the FAA’s office for Africa, Europe and the Middle East.


In September 2013, Ms. Stubblefield was selected as the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Security and Hazardous Materials Safety (ASH) at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). She leads an organization of almost 500 employees nationwide that operate and manage programs that ensure the security of FAA personnel, facilities, and information; ensure the safe transportation of hazardous materials aboard aircraft that operate in or are certificated by the United States; and conduct and execute national security, intelligence, and investigations missions at the FAA.

Prior to assuming her new position, Ms. Stubblefield directed a cadre of highly-skilled professionals that operate the FAA’s 24/7 Washington Operations Center and Current Intelligence Threat Evaluation Watch, plan, coordinate, and exercise the Agency’s crisis management and emergency response and recovery capabilities, provide intelligence analysis and threat I&W to senior FAA leadership, and conduct regulatory and administrative investigations. She is also a co-chair of two interagency bodies: the Aviation Government Coordinating Council (AGCC) and the Air Domain Awareness Information Sharing Working Group. Before selection as an executive, Ms. Stubblefield was the AEO Deputy Director. She returned to FAA in 2008 as the Agency’s liaison to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence where she was instrumental in leading interagency efforts to improve the integration of Air Domain Intelligence across the Intelligence, Law Enforcement, Defense, and Non-Title 50 communities. Her efforts were praised with awards from both the Director of National Intelligence and the FAA Administrator, including the 2009 Golden Compass Award for Exemplary Leadership.

Prior to returning to FAA, Ms. Stubblefield was the senior counterterrorism analyst in U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Office of Intelligence, Security, and Emergency Response. Her primary area of expertise was transnational terrorist threats to transportation. Ms. Stubblefield routinely briefed the DOT leadership and provided analytic support to agencies within the Intelligence Community. Before joining DOT in May 2004, Ms. Stubblefield was a senior intelligence analyst within the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to which she came as part of FAA cadre that was relocated as part of the creation of the organization. She began serving in the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Civil Aviation Security Intelligence in mid-2001. Ms. Stubblefield has received multiple awards for her contributions to transportation security and intelligence at FAA, DOT, and the Department of Homeland Security.

Before moving into transportation security intelligence, Ms. Stubblefield was chief of the Middle East geo-political and military threat analysis team at the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity. The Marine Corps is also where Ms. Stubblefield received her initial intelligence training, serving at several commands in the U.S. and overseas.

As a Phi Beta Kappa member, Ms. Stubblefield graduated from the University of Virginia with high distinction, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government and Philosophy. In January 2007, she was awarded a Master of Arts degree in Transportation Policy, Operations, and Logistics at George Mason University’s School of Public Policy. Ms. Stubblefield received the Student of the Year Award from the Council of University Transportation Centers and the Malcolm P. McLean Transportation Award for exceptional ability, involvement and promise in the field of transportation.

Administrator Dickson selected wisely his Chief of Staff. Ms. Stubblefield brings a wealth of knowledge about the internal workings of the FAA, with the DOT and among the other institutions of the Executive Branch. The Captain knows how his former employer works and how to navigate the US Air Force. Eight Hundred Independence Avenue is a different kind of maze and his Chief of Staff has successfully went through several floors of both the Wright Brother Buildings (Orville and Wilbur).  Through her days and nights at the Communications Center and her ASH network around the country, she has a rolodex (do they still have such archaic things?) beyond the 202 area code. Ms. Stubblefield brings a talent rare to the AOA office; she has worked over at the Department of Transportation- another puzzle place with even more dimensions.


The title of this post “The Power Behind the Throne” (TPBT) introduces one of the most difficult aspects of the COS position. It is a common assignment of the Administrator’s Chief to deliver disconcerting  messages to fairly senior FAA executives and more than occasionally she will be called on the ask disturbing questions. The delivery of those communications can cause personal and/or organizational waves. Demeanor, tone of voice, location, timing and a number of other occasional variables can influence how the conversation is received.

The front cover includes pictures of the new Chief of Staff, of one of her predecessors and the Throne warning. The symbology is not difficult to discern—go talk to Peggy.


Ms. Gilligan was COS for more than one Administrator and survived, nay succeeded,  after she left the 10th

floor. More importantly, her career positively progressed after her days working for the boss. Obviously, she was not perceived as tough TPBT who threw her weight around, but rather as a knowledgeable and diplomatic communicator. She’s a great role model.



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