The Transportation Security Administration has made big strides in improving how they work with airports to secure passengers and cargo. Yet, the work is unfinished, and more needs to be done. Even as TSA becomes more risk-based in its approach, using better technology and communicating with airports, there remain several areas for improvement.
The Transportation Security Administration recently posted on its website a notice about some of the religious activities the traveling public may see in airports during the current Islamic holy month of Ramadan. This was a well-meaning effort from TSA, but it left me asking – who is making these decisions about communications to the public? There are some big problems with this notice to travelers.
Charles Kenny, a Fellow with the New America Foundation and the Center for Global Development, published an opinion piece in Bloomberg BusinessWeek called, “The Case for Abolishing the DHS.” He makes some powerfully accurate assessments on the return on investment from DHS, but as powerful as those arguments and examples may be, Kenny’s declaration that “closing the DHS is a small government solution that works” is a glass-is- half-empty summation that misses some important metrics.
Americans are suspicious of drones. Reports of the unmanned aerial vehicles’ use in war zones have raised concerns about what they might do here at home. For instance, in Seattle earlier this year, a public outcry forced the police department to abandon plans for eye-in-the-sky UAV helicopters.
In Security Debrief’s fourth annual April Fools coverage, we’ve collected some stories the rest of the media somehow missed.
The Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) most recent decision regarding the prohibited items list has drawn the ire of some in the Congress, as well as the flying public. Critics argue any vulnerability is unacceptable, but from TSA’s risk-based perspective, there are other aviation stakeholders who shoulder the safety responsibility. Recognizing that most people, even those with knives, do not run around stabbing others, from whom does non-explosive threat largely stem? In short, drunks on planes.
The sequester has nearly arrived with little sign officials in Washington 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, 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. Yet, the length of airport security lines are a result of TSA’s screening methodology, not its budget and staff.
In the old adage, “the only constant is change,” the word “change” could very easily be substituted with: “Congressional excoriation of TSA.” As the 112th Congress drew to a close, I imagine some at the Transportation Security Administration – those who have been there since the beginning – anticipated an end. Not of the Mayan variety, but of the Mica variety. Congressman John Mica may have finished his term as Chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, but sorry TSA, this may only be the beginning again.
In the logistics business, there is little tolerance for uncertainty. The supply chain, from the producer to the consumer, must be finely tuned so goods arrive at the right destination within tight time frames. TSA rules, particularly security procedures for processing cargo transported by air, can dramatically affect supply chain performance. Yet, there are no TSA enforcement guidelines detailing the agency’s discretion in enforcing noncompliance with air cargo security rules.