New TSA Administrator Discusses Global Aviation Security
November 29, 2017
Over the last nine months, the Transportation Security Administration has implemented new security standards for flights to the U.S. and international airports with connections to the United States. Working with allies and industry, David Pekoske, who became the seventh administrator of the TSA in August, is leading the global effort to raise standards for aviation security.
In this Events @ RAND podcast, Pekoske joins RAND terrorism and security expert Brian Michael Jenkins for a discussion about the TSA's strategy and approach to operations in the face of evolving threats to transportation from terrorist groups and the individuals they inspire.
Administrator, Transportation Security Administration
We have to accept that humans, no matter how well-trained they are or how dedicated they are to their mission, are just not very good at maintaining laser-like focus while performing repetitive tasks. That does not mean airport security can ever be completely given over to machines.
Long lines at airport security checkpoints are a sign of the post-9/11 world. Can aviation security be more efficient? Better yet, could a “trusted traveler” program not only reduce traveler burden but also increase security?
With its current 47,000 screeners, an armed TSA would become the federal government's largest armed entity outside of the military. In the eyes of many, arming TSA screeners would change the image of the organization from a service aimed at guaranteeing safe air travel to an unwanted imposition of federal authority.
The Transportation Security Administration's RMAT has enabled a more sophisticated understanding of terrorism risks to the air transportation system, but TSA should not treat RMAT results as credible estimates. Rather, the results can help to inform the components of terrorism risk and possible influences of system changes on that risk.