The sequester has nearly arrived with little sign officials on the Hill and in the White House will reach an agreement to amend the billions in spending cuts. While both sides of the aisle have speculated on how these cuts will impact the U.S. economy, the actual ramifications are not yet known.
TSA Administrator John Pistole recently testified about how the sequester will impact airport security, echoing a warning from DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano that security lines at airports will grow longer post-sequester. Here is a piece I wrote for Foreign Policy magazine explaining why the length of airport security lines is a product of TSA’s screening methodology, and how sequestration offers an opportunity for TSA to more quickly shift all airport operations towards a risk-based approach to passenger screening.
You Can Leave Your Shoes On – Foreign Policy
Sequestration is coming…maybe. The $85 billion in spending cuts that were designed to force Congress to the bargaining table will go into effect March 1, and Washington is warning it could make your airport experience even more miserable than usual. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has said sequestration could cause delays because fewer air traffic controllers means fewer flights. And Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told Congress that spending cuts could lead to longer security lines at airports, as the Transportation Security Administration deploys fewer officers.
But, to be blunt, the length and speed of security lines at airports are a function of the TSA’s inefficient security methodology, not its budget and staff. Reduced federal funds will magnify this inefficiency, but to claim longer lines are purely a result of budget cuts is a cop-out. Sequestration is actually an opportunity for the TSA to abandon its insistence on screening all airline passengers, which demands extraordinary resources and manpower, and instead adopt a more efficient and effective approach. If it does, budget cuts might be the best thing that ever happened to airport screening.
Read the full article.