Transportation Security Administration Has Strengthened Planning to Guide Investments in Key Aviation and Surface Transportation Security Programs, but More Work Remains

DHS and TSA have undertaken numerous initiatives to strengthen the security of the nation’s transportation system, including actions to address many recommendations made by GAO. With respect to aviation security, TSA has focused its efforts on, among other things, more efficiently allocating, deploying, and managing the Transportation Security Officer (TSO) workforce—formerly known as screeners; strengthening screening procedures; developing and deploying more effective and efficient screening technologies; strengthening domestic air cargo security; and developing a government operated watch-list matching program, known as Secure Flight. For example, in response to GAO’s recommendation, TSA developed a plan to periodically review assumptions in its Staffing Allocation Model, and took steps to strengthen its evaluation of proposed procedural changes. TSA has also explored new passenger checkpoint screening technologies to better detect explosives and other threats, and has taken steps to strengthen air cargo security, including conducting compliance inspections of air carriers. Finally, TSA has instilled more discipline and rigor into Secure Flight’s systems development, including preparing key documentation and strengthening privacy protections. With regard to surface transportation security, TSA has, among other things, taken steps to develop a strategic approach for securing mass transit, passenger and freight rail, commercial vehicles, and highways; established security standards for certain transportation modes; and conducted threat, criticality, and vulnerability assessments of

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