U.S. taps GM, Oracle, airline CEOs for Homeland Security advisory panel

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FILE PHOTO: Holiday season at Atlanta airport

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Homeland Security Department said Thursday it was naming the chief executives of General Motors, United Airlines American Airlines, Bank of America, Oracle and others to an advisory council.

Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said he was adding 33 members in advance of the council’s first meeting set for Monday, which is tasked with helping “define the department’s strategic vision, strengthen the department to better meet the increasingly dynamic and rapidly evolving threat landscape, and harness technology and innovation to modernize the programs it administers.”

Others being named include the chief executives of Polaris, Duke Energy and Chobani LLC.

Mayorkas told reporters that he picked “leaders in a diverse array of fields with a diverse breadth of expertise, so that not only can we tap that expertise, but quite frankly, we can hear from them the concerns that they have.”

U.S. airlines have faced international travel restrictions over the past two years over COVID-19 and have been pressing the Biden administration in recent weeks to end requirements for masks on airplanes and to end a requirement that international air passengers get a negative COVID-19 test a day before flying to the United States.

Automakers, including GM, were hit by border disruptions from Canadian trucking protests in February that caused cuts to production in the United States.

Mayorkas said the executives would help the department “capitalize on the power of technological innovation, and serve our country by living up to our highest ideals.”

The Transportation Security Administration plans to launch a pilot project with Apple to allow people in eight states to add their driver license or state ID to their iPhone and Apple Watch Wallet for use at airport checkpoints.

Other advisory members include former Cabinet secretaries under Democratic and Republican presidents, executive leaders of national law enforcement organizations and non-profit organizations.

(Reporting by David Shepardson and Ted Hesson, Editing by Franklin Paul and Nick Zieminski)