How To Train TSA

One of the most interesting parts of today's hearing on Maj. Gen. Robert Harding's nomination to become Transportation Security Administration chief, was his emphasis on training. In particular he said he'd like to see TSA move towards an Israeli model, which emphasizes behavior detection, includes interrogation ability, in other words, an enhanced, professionalized, career model for aviation security. So it's heartening to hear about things like a TSA program that got agency staff familiar with prosthetics for wounded veterans. Having a truly professionalized TSA workforce isn't just a matter of having good checkpoint procedures and having everyone follow them. It's having a career workforce with specialized, subject matter knowledge: the language skills to overhear a threatening conversation in a language other than English, the physiology knowledge to see that a prosthetic has been modified, the psychological skills to detect evasion or calm down a frightened person. All of those skills require serious, sustained investment in the people who are going to deploy them.

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