Wednesday, November 21, 2012

TSA No Longer to Breed Canines - Training Program to Continue



A puppy from the TSA breeding program.
There seems to be a lot of misinformation regarding the closing of our canine breeding program located at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. So, I feel a need to provide clarification.

A recent efficiency review showed the program was appropriated $1.8 million dollars for FY’12 (not $400K as reported elsewhere). It was determined that the program is important, but further investments would need to be made to take the breeding program to the next level. For example, it would take $4 million dollars alone just to build the facilities necessary. The program currently employs two full time Federal employees and has contracts with a local company for the up-keep of the kennels and for medical and health needs.

TSA decided to phase out the breeding program in an effort to best manage taxpayer dollars. IMPORTANT, however, is that TSA will continue to train the dogs for explosive detection responsibilities. Only the breeding program will be discontinued.

What you may not know is that TSA currently uses existing contracts like the one operated by the Department of Defense to purchase up to 80 percent of the canines used for the safety and security of the transportation domains we protect. That means that only 20 percent of the canines come from the breeding program in Lackland. Another 20 percent of the canines that are bred are purchased by other agencies and used in a variety of law enforcement or security functions.

While the breeding program is scheduled to cease all operations in by mid-year 2013, TSA recognizes that canines are a vital part of our layers of security. So, TSA will be expanding its canine training operations at Lackland Air Force Base.

A special thanks to all of the volunteers for their hard work and dedication with the breeding program. While these changes are prudent decisions, they will never result in compromising security.





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14 comments:

Anonymous said...

...and now a literal "Puppy Post" to push the real articles down (and off) the page.

Anonymous said...

Yep, Bob, you are definitely trying to get the Alkon post off the page. I don't see any comments about the canine program. Why don't you just apologize for your (most recent) loss of professionalism in the Alkon post?

Anonymous said...

Great. Invest less in something (dogs) that actually detects explosives, while investing more in whole body imagers, that do not detect explosives.

RB said...

I support TSA's canine program.

These 4 legged TSA workers probably demonstrate more intelligence than TSA's two legged employees.

The canines would at least know an artistic watch wasn't dangerous.

Sandra said...

Ah, yes, continuing to push the Amy Alkon thread down the page. Sorry that you wrote it, Bob?

screen shot

Anonymous said...

Here we go again... another blog post responding to a controversy that doesn't exist while stories that have received far more coverage are completely ignored.

A google news search for the terms "tsa," "canine," and "lackland" returns the following results:

1) A mildly critical article at mysanantonio.com that devotes some space to complaints from a volunteer puppy walker, who states that, "I'm very concerned that TSA will throw away 10 years of selective breeding for detection dogs,” an objection that wasn't covered in your rebuttal post.

2) A very brief write-up at woai.com that states that the program is being closed and makes a vague reference to critics of that decision without, however, presenting their specific arguments. This brief report can also be found in the Bryan-College Station Eagle, which has a circulation of roughly 24,000.

3) A feisty critique published by texaswatchdog.org (which bills itself as the home of "feisty investigations"). The piece points out that the dog breeding program represents an infinitesimal fraction of the TSA's 8.1 billion dollar budget. Your note that the program cost was projected to rise substantially is no doubt relevant, but it seems like arguing about small potatoes. For example, the annual budget for this program has been reported that $400,000 (.000049% of the TSA's budget), while you insist it is 1.8 million dollars (.00022%). Huge difference!

4) An article on foxsanantonio.com that links to a story about a San Antonio judge being appointed to a new position, but that does not seem to say anything about the TSA or this program.

5)A link to a Today Show video about a dog that was named after a 9/11 victim becoming a TSA bomb-sniffer.


As far as I can tell, "a lot of misinformation" refers to a handful of articles centered almost exclusively in the San Antonio media market that may or may not slightly misstate the program's budget.

So, to sum it up: nice Puppy Post, Bob.

[A screenshot of this post, which is in complete accordance with your regulations, has been taken.

chancers said...

..."Anonymous said...
Great. Invest less in something (dogs) that actually detects explosives, while investing more in whole body imagers, that do not detect explosives..."

I agree. However, maybe TSA will do something noble for once, like adopt and train shelter dogs for their office. Other organizations do for a wide variety of needs.......

Anonymous said...

Too bad as dogs make excellent crowd control tools. Even people that don't speak the language know what to do with a dog at their ankles.

Anonymous said...

So instead of breeding dogs especially made for this work we are going to throw money away to other countries to buy older dogs. And to top it all off we just wasted 2yrs of research and 10yrs of genetics.

Anonymous said...

1.8 million! Wow you have definitely not been to the kennels.. Wish I could attach a picture of the bathroom the staff has to use, its embarrassing I wouldnt even let my kids use The money must burried somewhere because I have not seen it. I would like to see a breakdown of the 1.8 million.
And this blog shoud be open and not need approval. I approve this message.

Gina D. Puppy walker said...

Bob, you have never been to the kennels where the puppy program is. I have volunteered there for 2 years and CANNOT detect any evidence of a 1.8 million dollar budget. Will you please break down the 1.8 dollars. How do you calculate in tthousand of hours volunteers have given in raising the dogs in their homes and helping at the kennel that was built in the 1940's... Not to mention Vet care located on base. This is NOT a wasteful program and 10 years of genetically specialized dogs that handlers will tell you are top notch is about to be lost... THIS IS URGENT!!! DON'T shut this down until a real investigation by leaders who really care make an objective plan regarding this breeding program of US born and raised dogs... Getting dogs from other countries is NOT where I want tax dollars to go. TSA has an incredible program here already!

Anonymous said...

How very nice of you to thank the volunteers who are complaining to their Congresspersons and yet fail to acknowledge the half dozen employees that were hired by the local contractor to take care of the kennel and were recently told that their jobs--which many of them have held for YEARS because they believe in this program--will end on December 31st. Happy Holidays--welcome to the unemployment line!

Anonymous said...

When is someone going to update the TSA Puppy Program website ( http://www.tsa.gov/about-tsa/tsas-puppy-program ) with this information, or is everyone going to pretend it's not happening until the TSA has closed the facility and finished firing everyone?

It's sort of an organizational mess if the IT department can't bother to update the program pages for months (one of the employees listed on it left in JULY) but the blog can make an announcement like this.

Anonymous said...

I personally support TSA's canine program.

But I can't believe that we are going to throw away 2 years of research and 10 years of genetics!!

If you want to have a look at how to really train a guard dog then look below:
How to Train a Guard Dog

I just needed to get that off my mind.