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Transport Security Administration (TSA) Research Paper

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Updated: Mar 23rd, 2022


The following essay is concerned with the Transport Security Administration (TSA) screening program. The essay thus examines what the program entails and how it has evolved to what it is today. Also, the essay describes the enhancements that are believed to make the program grow in the future. The Transportation Security Administration commonly refereed to as TSA refers to the United States agency which provides security measures to the United States citizens as they travel. The TSA was assigned the task of enhancing safety on all the means of transport by the Aviation and Transportation Security Act,2001 and the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007.Transaportt Security Administration program usual makes traveling safer particularly to those who uses the air. The need to enhance security in the United States airports has been a major issue among most residents. The 2001 terrorist attacks have brought about increased awareness and improved security systems so as to prevent the occurrence of a similar attack in the future. The lack of airport security thus implies that people cannot travel by air for fear of being attacked by the terrorists. This in turn will render to huge losses in the airline industry and hence many people will lose their jobs (United States science committee on Commerce and Transportation, 2005, P.61).

The TSA consist of more than 50,000 employees who are concerned with ensuring that the citizen’s travels safely. The staff has the role of looking for bombs at the point of entries in airports, inspecting the rail cars, patrolling passageways together with the police officers so as to enhance security of transportation systems. The TSA thus inspects the areas where they suspect that the terrorist as well as gangs have concealed their dangerous weapons. Other improvements that the Transportation Security Administration has made include the baggage screens as well as increased screening of passengers. Also, the screening methods have been updated and Air marshals who operate on both the home as well as worldwide flights redoubled. There are also tight restrictions that are aimed at ensuring that the passengers don’t carry dangerous items as part of their luggage (USSCCT, 2005, P.61-65).

The evolution of Transport Security Administration program

Many countries around the world have been using the explosive detection in their airline industries for years. For instance, the Canines have been used in the airport security systems for years in an effort to enhance securities in their airline industry.

The Transport Security Administration program was formed as to address the September 2001 terrorist attacks. John Macaw was the initial administrator of the Transport Security Administration program in the United States. The program was meant to enhance security by combating hijacking of the aircraft and also ensuring that the US residents travel safely to their destinations. The Transport Security Administration also has the mandate of overseeing security for railroads, highways among other (Lord, 2010, P.36).

The following reflects the significant events concerning the TSA following the terrorist attacks in 2001.The first phase wit regards to TSA was the testing in order to determine the effectiveness of the explosive detection system commonly known as EDS. According to this phase, pilots were deemed to determine the required performance of the EDS.The TSA began by screening cargo in six airports. The EDS technology was thus used to screen the bulk cargo during this phase as part and parcel of the Transport Security Administration’s pilot test.

TSA began its second phase of the explosive detecting system in August of 2004 and another six additional airports were used in this phase. The main objective of this phase was to determine the effectiveness of the explosive detection system technologies in cargo environments as well as cargo configurations. The 12 airports that were selected for the two phases were however based on variance with regards to the volume and type of the cargo that was being transported. The second phase was finalized in July 2005.The TSA extended the use of the explosive detection system for one year. During this period that the EDS were being extended, the air carriers screened the bulk cargo by the use of the EDS. The main objective of phase one was to enable the pilot’s performance to be assessed for effectiveness. This pilot test involved the use of eighteen Transportation Security Administration –certified explosives from the canine teams. The teams overall performance was impressive despite the fact that they were not trained in advance. This in turn implied that the teams were capable of adapting to different and new tasks as well as environments. The second canine inspection phase which was conducted at the additional six airports also involved eighteen Transportation Security Administration which were certified. The canine teams also performed well despite the fact that they were not trained in advance. The two phase’s results demonstrated that the canines were promising alternatives as far as air cargo inspection was concerned (General Accounting office, 2003, P.67-72).

The enhancements that could enhance the growth of the program in the future

The following are the enhancements that could enhance the growth of the program in the future;

The transport Security Administration should assess itself in order to determine as to whether or not its operational activities are indeed meeting the intended objectives. This will help to reduce the risks of external as well as internal threats as far as the airport security is concerned (General Accounting office, 2003, P. 67-72).The TSA should recognize in the first place that challenges still exist as far as the effectiveness measuring is concerned. Therefore it should consider the services of NIPP’s Risk Management Framework that helps to provide the mechanisms that enhances qualitative feedback. The NIPP’s Risk management Framework could therefore be applied so as top improve the efficiency as well as the effectiveness of the protective activities and programs. For instance, the TSA should consider working with the stakeholders e.g. the airport operator’s e.t.c. This stakeholder plays an important role of identifying and also sharing lessons that are learned together with the best practices. This is indeed an effective way of ensure that the TSA efforts are tailored and that it continues to improve security. The TSA program should also aim at identifying the program information that is qualitative. This information is useful in that it allows the Transformation Security Administration to determine as to whether its activities are indeed effective. The TSA program could also apply the covert tests in order to determine as to whether or not the security men are acting within the TSA policies while screening (General Accounting office, 2003, P.67-72).

The Transport Security Administration program should use the data that had already collected so as to identify trends as well as establish the baseline data. This baseline data is very essential as far as future operation is concerned as it enables comparison of the effectiveness. For instance, the cross-sectional analysis concerning the employees who are caught possessing items which are prohibited at particular worker screening areas could help to provide an insight on the security measures that could be employed in order to avoid such an act in the future. This analysis thus plays a crucial role of providing useful context that ensures tat conclusions are drawn concerning whether some security measures are appropriate and reasonable in certain conditions (Berrick, 2010, p.24).

The TSA should consider using the proxy measures which enables the program to know the effectiveness of its activities. Proxy measures entail the indirect measures that help to approximate the direct measures. Thus, the TSA could apply these measures in order to address the deterrence as well as other security objectives. The TSA could also use the proxy measures so as to gain information concerning the aircraft worker’s efforts of securing the aircraft. The use of a multiple proxy measures is useful due to the fact that the measures that are identified provide an indication concerning the overall security risks.

For TSA to be more efficient and effective, it has to invest in effective tools that will enhance its evaluation on performance. This will enhance the implementation of strategic plans that will make it easy to achieve the goals and objectives of TSA. With this regards, TSA requires a clear mission statement which is based on statutory requirements of the agency. It should establish clearly the goals which are to be achieved in the future and this entails devising the twelve-month performance plans for accountability purposes. Also, the progress must be measured so as to ensure that the goals are achieved within the stipulated time. The strategies as well as the resources require to be determined so as to ensure that the objectives are effectively accomplished. The TSA should make use of the performance information that facilitates the programmatic decisions.The results should be communicated well in the annual performance reports.

TSA should take the risk base-based management steps aimed at addressing the air cargo safety. This security measures should incorporate the recommendations that are made by airline stakeholders. This will help minimize the threats associated with air cargo. The pans will thus prevent the hijacking of cargo aircrafts (Lord, 2010, P. 36).

TSA should also implement a testing program aimed at identifying the weaknesses of air cargo. This will help in countering the future effects as a result of weakness in security of air cargo.

The TSA requires hiring and deploying a high number of federal workforces so as to cater for the growing number of passengers. Also, they should increase the number of baggage screeners as well as installing the modern equipment in all the commercial airports so as to enhance the screening process. The Transportation Security System should therefore turn its attention towards strengthening of the passenger prescreening. This calls for matching of the traveler information against the watch list of terrorists before the departure of an aircraft. The TSA should allocate and deploy the people who are responsible for screening in an efficient manner so as strengthen the screening procedures. It should not lag behind as far as innovation is concerned and should instead develop efficient as well as effective screening technologies. With this regards the Transportation Security Administration program should seek to evaluate effectiveness of the security technologies e.g. the biometric systems so as to restrict access to specific areas at the airports. The Transportation Security Administration inspectors should be deployed in order to enhance surface transportation. The program should thus develop and administer the grant programs with regards to the surface transportation (Berrick, 2007, P.46).

The Transportation Security Administration needs to address the legislative requirements in order to enhance its effectiveness and efficiency in the future. The TSA has not been successful in addressing such requirements such as background checks, security training, and screening among others. Furthermore; TSA has not devised plans that describe the actions that should be taken in order to address fully these requirements. By addressing the requirements fully, the TSA will ensure that the workforce is trained well to check criminal records of the patients and thus enhance the security. The Transportation Security Administration should also analyze and quantify costs in order to determine the changes that are likely to occur in the industry and also to determine as to whether it is operationally feasible to monitor the implementation of security program (Berrick, 2007, P.46).

The TSA should also conduct background for all the workers in the airport. With this regard, the TSA should ensure that the employees at the airport undergoes a mandatory criminal records checks.The airport operators should thus compare the employees name against the TSA watch list. Workers should only be granted access to them airport restricted areas once they undergo the reviews. In order to fully comply with the requirements, the airport operators should transmit the fingerprint’s of the workers and this will ensure that the security is indeed enhanced (Lord, 2010, P.36).

The leadership should be committed so s to create high performing TSA. This is a critical aspect s far as the success of TSA is concerned. It involves creating an environment that enhances results achievement. The top leaders should therefore be committed if the overall objectives are to be achieved. The leaders should carry out their role of changing the organizational culture as and when necessary. The management or top leadership also plays a crucial role of overcoming resistance to change. The TSA leadership has not been successful with regards to creating a result-oriented environment. In should therefore act promptly to ensure that the leadership is fully committed to motivate the employees to perform their duties effectively and hence enhance the efficiency of TSA (USSCCT, 2005, P.61-65).


The Transport Security Administration exists to prevent the terrorist attacks as well as protecting the United States transport network. The increasing cases of terrorist in the world have lead to the increasing use of Transport Security Administration. TSA has grown tremendously in the USA in the recent years. The greater part of the changes however has taken place in the aviation area. The TSA requires applying the above measures in order to ensure that the future security is enhanced. The TSA needs to hire and deploy a high number of federal workforces in order to work effectively. This will help them cater for the growing number of passengers. The number of baggage screeners should also be increased and modern equipments installed in all the commercial airports so as to enhance the screening process. This will make the TSA more effective and efficient in carrying out its goals and objectives.

Reference List

Berrick, C. (2007). Passenger rail security: enhanced federal leadership needed to Prioritize and guide security efforts: testimony before the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, U.S. Senate. Pennsylvania: DIANE Publishing.

Berrick, C. (2010). Transportation Security: Key Actions Have Been Taken to Enhance Mass Transit and Passenger Rail Security, But Opportunity Exist to Strengthen Fed. Strategy and Programs. Pennsylvania: Diane Publishing.

General Accounting Office. (2003). Aviation security: efforts to measure effectiveness And strengthen security programs. Pennsylvania: DIANE Publishing.

Lord, S. (2010). Aviation Security: TSA Has Made Progress But Faces Challenges in Meeting the Statutory Mandate for Screening Air Cargo on Passenger Aircraft. Pennsylvania: DIANE Publishing.

United States Science Committee on Commerce and Transportation (USSCCT). (2005). Transport Security’s has Made Progress in Implementing the Transportation Worker Identification Credential Program, but Challenges Remain. Pennsylvania: Diane Publishing.

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