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Contributor:

Gary S. Becker

Gary S. Becker is the Chief Economist for Catalyst Partners, LLC. In this role, Becker offers economic analyses to clients on matters relating to homeland security, including the cost impact of proposed and final rulemakings. He offers advice on how to save money while achieving desired security benefits.

He holds more than 35 years of experience as an economist working in the private sector, as well as working (in chronological order) at: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Department of Labor; Department of Transportation; Office of Management and Budget; Department of Agriculture; and most recently, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

From 2004 through the end of 2014, Becker served as Senior Economist for the DHS Private Sector Office (PSO), Office of Policy. He took the lead role in formulating, analyzing and informing other senior staff on the economic impact of DHS policies, procedures, actions, and rulemakings on the private sector. While at DHS, he worked closely with a number of components including, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and focused on performance measures and issues such as wait times and customer service. His analyses helped support CPS’s Global Entry and TSA’S Pre✓™ programs.

Before joining DHS, Becker served as a senior economist at a number of different federal agencies, writing and reviewing the economic analyses of hundreds of proposed and final rules. At the Federal Aviation Administration, he developed the economic analysis on the use of child safety seats that still continues to allow guardians the option to purchase an airplane seat for their infant if they choose. He also developed the economic analysis on aircraft ground deicing.

Becker has completed his Ph.D. coursework in Agricultural Economics from The Ohio State University. He holds a M.S. degree in Agricultural Economics from The Ohio State University and a B.S. degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Science from Purdue University. He was born in Washington, D.C and has two children. He currently resides with his wife, Ruth, in Bethesda, Maryland.

CBP Needs to Improve Customer Service at Ports of Entry

Comments to Customs and Border Protection at land ports of entry indicate many people entering the United States find CBP employee conduct to be distasteful.

CBP Customer Service at Cape Canaveral Sea Port of Entry

I recently obtained nationwide CBP customer service data to examine the challenges CBP faces across U.S. ports of entry. Here’s what I found out about Cape Canaveral.

Public Participation in Identity Verification Biometrics Study

Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in an experiment to test biometric technologies in an airport setting for the DHS AEER program . Here’s how it went.

Does Privatizing Airport Security Make Sense from a Customer Service Perspective?

TSA says there is no statistical difference in customer service between federal airport screeners and private contractors. Confirming or rejecting this statement takes data. So all we need to do is compare TSA data with contractor data, right? It’s not that simple, even though it should be.

New Study on Identity Verification Using Biometrics

DHS is funding a new study to understand how biometrics can be used to assist individuals who need to verify their identify at border crossings, airports, and in other U.S. transportation systems. I will be one of their test subjects.

TSA Checkpoint Wait Times Impact More than Aviation Security

The long lines at airport security checkpoints across the country are not just frustrating travelers but encouraging people to use statistically more dangerous modes of transportation, which has cascading social and economic costs. Improving wait times is not just about aviation security.

Airport Checkpoint Wait Times Driving Complaints Against TSA

Recently, a number of news articles have reported that long lines at our nation’s airports are getting longer. Is this having an impact on complaints against TSA year-over-year? Yup.

From the Front Lines – Port of Entry Wait Times at San Ysidro

At the San Ysidro Port of Entry, passenger vehicles are waiting 50 minutes in the Ready Lanes and 55 minutes in the Standard lanes. Having to wait nearly an hour in some cases and two hours in others provides a significant disincentive to cross from the Mexico into the United States, yielding cascading consequences for the U.S. economy and national security.

Complaints Against TSA? Let Them Know!

If you have a complaint about how you were treated or concerning long processing times when going through TSA airport security checkpoints, complain! Data shows a 900% increase in complaints against TSA since 2015. Keep it up, travelers.