Compared to his predecessors John Magaw and David Stone, Kip Hawley had a relatively long tenure as senior administrator of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Before being appointed director, Hawley had led focus groups (called "go-teams") within the TSA. Unlike other directors who preceded and succeeded him, Hawley's background was not in the military, but rather as an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley. He had been CEO of Skyway, a supply-chain service, as well as vice president of Union Pacific Railroad.
The most prominent feature about Hawley's original appointment was that he offered to work for free, as he took pride in his ability to strategize. Hawley's plan included 32,000 airport screeners, far more than Congress's estimated 28,000. Hawley's plan was called "system of systems." It involved a security plan including layers of security beyond just screeners: he wanted luggage-scanning and bomb-detecting equipment.
When Hawley was appointed head of the TSA, he implemented the "3-1-1" policy concerning liquids. This policy's name comes from the stipulation that each liquid, gel, or aerosol container must be 3.4 ounces or less, that they must be placed inside one clear, quart-sized bag, and that each passenger is allowed only one such bag. This policy remains in effect.
Hawley was in charge of the TSA between July 2005 to January 2009, at which point he was replaced by senior administrator Gale Rossides, who had been working for the TSA under it's first post-9/11 leader, John Magaw.