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Homeland Security

Airport Insecurity: TSA's Failure to Cost-Effectively Procure, Deploy and Warehouse its Screening Technologies

US House of Representatives Seal
112th Congress
May 9, 2012

Executive Summary

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, led to dramatic reforms in how the federal government protects the traveling public and the Nation’s transportation sector. Securing commercial aviation became a top priority for Congress and resulted in the development and passage of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act of 2001 (ATSA). ATSA created the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and directed the agency to secure travelers through improved passenger and baggage screening operations. To successfully carry out its mission, TSA utilizes many layers of security, including screening technology.

This report is a critical examination and analysis of TSA’s procurement, deployment, and storage of screening technologies. During the past ten years, TSA has struggled to cost-effectively utilize taxpayer funding to procure and deploy security equipment at the Nation’s 463 airports where TSA provides screening operations.

This report highlights serious inefficiencies in TSA’s management and deployment of screening technology, and provides recommendations for the improvement of TSA’s role in securing the U.S. transportation system. The report makes recommendations emphasizing TSA’s need to more effectively develop its deployment strategy prior to the procurement of screening technologies. In addition, TSA must look for ways to reduce significant shipping costs for the thousands of pieces of equipment it deploys annually.

Joint Committee Transportation Security Oversight

This investigation and report was conducted by Majority staff of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. It is the second joint-committee report issued by these committees1 within the past six months and a continuation of oversight of TSA operations in Orlando, Florida; Dallas, Texas; and Los Angeles and San Francisco, California and examines how to best reform and enhance TSA’s aviation security operations. Members of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure were responsible for authoring the organic legislation that created TSA and continue to conduct general oversight activities of the agency. Since its inception, Members of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform have been responsible for oversight of TSA, especially as it pertains to waste, fraud, and mismanagement.

Read the Full Report: Airport Insecurity: TSA's Failure to Cost-Effectively Procure, Deploy and Warehouse Its Screening Technologies [PDF]

1 On November 16, 2011, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure issued a joint staff report, entitled, "A Decade Later: A Call for TSA Reform," as "an examination and critical analysis of the development, evolution, and current status and performance of TSA ten years after its creation."

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