Hearing Wrap-Up: Oversight Committee Reviews National Security at TSA

Published: Nov 3, 2015

Witnesses:

Mr. Peter Neffenger, Administrator, Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
The Honorable John Roth, Inspector General, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Ms. Jennifer Grover, Director, Homeland Security and Justice, U.S. Government Accountability Office

TAKEAWAYS:

• The new Transportation Security Administration (TSA) administrator faces multiple organizational challenges including low employee morale, deficiencies in procurement, and a reactive security posture.
• Administrator Neffenger committed to closing out all remaining open recommendations from both the Inspector General (IG) and GAO.
• TSA needs to improve its risk management in screening passengers and its procurement and use of detection technology.
• The hearing highlighted the need for TSA to adopt a more proactive approach in effectively addressing flaws within the agency.
• Under direction from DHS Secretary Johnson, TSA will continue to overhaul its passenger screening system to address the security gaps highlighted by the IG and GAO.

PURPOSE:

• To explore with the agency’s new leadership TSA’s challenges and planned responses.
• To provide members an open dialogue with TSA to discuss potential solutions to gaps in aviation security.

BACKGROUND:

• TSA oversees passenger checkpoint screening through a variety of screening technologies at approximately 440 airports across the country.
• A history of covert testing failures at airports revealed longstanding security gaps including procedural and operator error with screening technology.

KEY VIDEOS:

Representative Gowdy (R-SC) questions Administrator Neffenger on “the source of the poor {employee} morale.”

Representative Walberg (R-MI): “How will you work with airports, airlines, and others to disrupt the incentives that can emphasize speed over security?”