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Published on : Wednesday, June 24, 2015
On Monday night, the U.S. Senate voted to confirm the nomination of Coast Guard Vice Admiral Peter Neffenger to lead the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). This comes in the wake of a report leaked on an internal investigation of TSA showing security failures at dozens of the nation’s busiest airports, where undercover investigators were able to smuggle mock explosives or banned weapons through checkpoints in 95 percent of trials.
More than 40 million business trips, most of which require air travel, occur each month. Passenger facilitation is vital to business travel which supports 8 million jobs. If the current reports of TSA failures are left unresolved, it will lead to future breakdowns that have the potential to devastate the country’s economy and the travel industry.
“To understand the urgency and the importance of what must happen at TSA to right the ship, we have to accept that one, the ongoing health of our economy is based upon the success of TSA’s mission; and, two, the current state of TSA operations has evolved to a level of unacceptable risk that cannot be corrected with incremental improvements,” said Michael W. McCormick, GBTA executive director and COO.
GBTA calls for TSA to fulfill its mission and optimize both passenger security and efficient passenger processing. The first order of business should be to call for a comprehensive study of TSA operations. This review should fully evaluate how passengers and baggage are processed using outside private and public sector experts capable of recommending the right balance of the different airport configurations, associated technologies and PreCheck-type operations to maximize passenger processing and screening. This should also include an immediate cessation of using managed inclusion as a part of passenger screening. Only a fully vetted population should qualify for PreCheck benefits.
“We must all share the responsibility of supporting the efforts necessary to protect one of most valued assets: safe and secure air travel,” said McCormick. “This is not a time for finding fault, but for working to lower the overall risk profile and increase efficiency at TSA.”
GBTA looks forward to working with the incoming Administrator and will continue to offer our full support on behalf of the business travel industry to ensure air travel is safe and efficient for our future.