Today's news are filled with articles citing another GAO report issued yesterday and entitled "TSA Could Strengthen Oversight of Allegations of Employee Misconduct".
Apparently the rate of complaints against TSA screening officers have increased by 26% in the past three years. The report said 3,408 misconduct allegations were filed against TSA workers last year, up from 2,691 in 2010. Many of the charges for screening and security-related incidents pertain to violating standard operating procedures, including not conducting security or equipment checks, and allowing patrons or baggage to bypass screening.
While the increase in allegations (if they're based on true foundations) is lamentable, with over 1.6 million of screened passengers per day and over 56,000 Transportation Security Officers involved, the numbers cited must be taken in a proper context.
Many of the problems plaguing TSA today were 'built in' during its early days after 9/11 when the agency was established. Given authority not only to regulate security policies and develop procedures, but also to implement them through hiring and managing of a mammoth workforce and oversee themselves in the process, the agency's job can only be described as Sisyphean labour.
One of the biggest problems from day One was TSA's inability to develop and implement a quality-driven performance measurement framework with regard to selection, training and supervision of the workforce. Tasked with raising the force right after 9/11, the perceived level of threat (plus, political expediency) dictated an immediate response at the expense of quality. Over ten years later, with thousands hired and procedures and adopted mentality in place, the job of John Pistole is unenviable. I am surprised the statistics cited in GAO report are not higher.
(One thing about Pistole as TSA's chief -- his focus on risk-based security is commendable. See here for his recent interview during the Aspen Security Forum)
CHI Security team includes professionals with diverse backgrounds and experiences. In this blog we share our musings on how to build a resilient security force. Hardware comes later...