TSA Administrator Kip Hawley's Oral Testimony on the FY2009 Budget Proposal and on TSA’s Progress on Program Activities Testimony & Speeches

Click here to download Kip Hawley's Written testimony.
Oral Statement of KIP HAWLEY
Before the

MAY 13, 2008

Thank you, Chairman Inouye, Vice Chairman Stevens, and Members of the Committee. It is a pleasure to share this panel with Cathy Berrick from GAO. I am pleased to appear before you today to discuss the President's FY 2009 budget proposal and TSA's program activities.

TSA's focus in the year ahead continues to be improving the ability of our Transportation Security Officers to detect Improvised Explosive Devices and other threats to aviation security beyond prohibited items. Today our threat environment remains high and TSA's challenge is to defeat known threats as well as those the terrorists invent specifically to get around our technology and procedures.

This requires us to use technology, our people, and our process in ways that are effective, yet flexible enough so that vulnerabilities cannot be predicted and exploited.

On the technology front, Millimeter Wave Whole Body Imaging technology is now deployed at John F. Kennedy International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. We will deploy at least 30 more of these machines by year end.

Also by year end, we will deploy 600 Advance Technology (AT) X-ray machines to improve detection of IEDs [Improvised Explosive Devices] by giving our Transportation Security Officers a much clearer picture of what is in a carry-on bag.

To get the most out of this technology investment, every TSO [Transportation Security Officer] working at a checkpoint will undergo this year an extensive twelve hour retraining, bringing together the latest thinking from intelligence, from explosives detection, and in human factors that can affect security.

This will give us the tools to go on offense, to make security smarter and harder to beat.

Underway now is the most significant checkpoint redesign in thirty years—we call it Checkpoint Evolution, an integrated security checkpoint bringing together the three elements of people (including passengers), technology, and better process.

The prototype is now operational in Baltimore. The checkpoint configuration and technology supports a team approach that is calmer and more conducive to smart security.

Smart security involves layers.

Risk-based, layered security continues as a major priority for the year ahead and it is reflected in the President's FY2009 budget request. We have added new layers of security in front of the checkpoint and to other areas of the airport, including:

Travel Document Checkers looking for fraudulent documents.
Trained Behavior Detection Officers who can identify someone who could pose a threat well before that person gets to the checkpoint, let alone the aircraft.
Bomb Appraisal Officers providing IED expertise.
VIPR [Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response] teams to intensify the visible presence of security in both aviation and surface modes. We have conducted more than 1000 VIPR team operations, over half of them in surface modes. In fact, we had one yesterday in Atlanta, where I was a participant.
We have added random Employee Screening to protect the “back side” of airports and we're running a ninety day test of employee screening at seven airports, including Boston, Denver, and Jacksonville, FL.
To put this in perspective, by the end of 2008, the vast majority of passengers will be covered by Behavior Detection Officers; 100 percent of passengers will be covered by Travel Document Checkers; and over half the flying public by AT X-ray. Every airport now conducts random screening every day of its employees.

All of these programs work together as connected pieces in a multi-layered, multi-modal, total security system to put us one step ahead of evolving threats.

In prior hearings, we have discussed TWIC [Transportation Worker Identification Credential] and Secure Flight, and a quick update is in order on both programs.

TWIC is on track. The compliance date is now set at April 15, 2009, allowing for 18 months of enrollment according to the final rule. We already have more than 250,000 people enrolled. And we are on pace to begin enforcement this October in New England. These are important steps in fulfilling the mandates of the Safe Port Act.

On Secure Flight, the budget request includes an increase of $32 million to accelerate implementation. With this Committee's ongoing support, TSA anticipates beginning passenger vetting in early 2009 and full assumption by late 2009 or early 2010.

I would once again like to thank this Committee for its support for TSA's mission. TSA has made progress across the board, and I look forward to our work together to further strengthen security throughout the transportation network. Thank you for the opportunity to appear and I would be happy to answer any questions.

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