DHS needs a uniform policy across all components on disseminating high quality, objective data that provides utility to all who use it. The data needs to be transparent and reproducible. With regards to the collecting and posting of wait times, much work is still needed across at least three agencies: CBP, TSA and USCIS.
There were about 160,000 unanswered FOIA requests in 2014, with the Department of Homeland Security accounting for 65%. The federal government has a culture of risk aversion, but there are four reasons why taking a smart risk in answering FOIA requests would be good for TSA and other agencies.
As much as I like Mel Carraway, it is difficult to disagree with DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson’s decision to reassign Carraway, the (now former) acting TSA Administrator. The news reports of an Inspector General (IG) investigation finding serious problems in TSA screening processes were difficult to ignore. A good man – one whom I am 100% convinced does not condone sloppy security procedures – was sacrificed to set an example to the rest of the agency.
In an era where the public and private sectors alike are using data analytics to better understand and manage resources, DHS’ stance on making customer service compliment and complaint data publicly available is frustrating. This is a missed opportunity, as public access to analyze and learn from this data would improve our national economy, especially the travel and tourism industries.
DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson announced at the 2015 RSA Conference that DHS is opening a satellite office in Silicon Valley. His words were vague, leading to questions of why DHS is setting up this office and with whom the Department will be working. Perhaps a more pressing question is, what makes DHS think Silicon Valley wants to work with the federal government in the first place?
The watchdog group Judicial Watch issued a press release announcing it had obtained records from TSA detailing allegations of sexually related assaults on passengers by TSA screeners. Unfortunately, these claims are just the latest in a trend of poor TSA performance at the Nation’s airports. It’s time for a change at TSA.
TSA has responded to outlandish claims made by Judicial Watch about TSA screeners. Judicial Watch asserts that TSA screeners were engaged in improper behavior while performing secondary screening procedures, such as a despicable occurrence at Denver International Airport. Rather than commend TSA leadership for its prompt action, Judicial Watch and others paint with broad brushes to create the (false) impression that most, if not all, TSA screeners are insensitive “perverts.” I know the truth is otherwise.
The travel and tourism industry would benefit from understanding how well the efforts of TSA contribute to improved customer service at our nation’s airports. Fortunately, they provide this data to the Department of Transportation (DOT). This analysis shows some of the impacts before and after the introduction of Pre-Check.
Members of Congress recently re-introduced the Residue Entries and Streamlining Trade (REST) Act, and at issue were requirements on getting empty containers back into the United States. CBP should be applauded for a policy on delaying these additional requirements.