Monday, December 8, 2014

The Evolution of TSA Risk-Based Security



Passenger Aircraft in Flight
The threat to the aviation system persists more than a decade following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.  We continue to face a real and persistent threat, against actors adept in the design, construction and concealment of explosives, including non-metallic improvised explosive devices. TSA continues to evolve its approach to transportation security and to lower the risks we all face when traveling from, within and to the United States.

In 2011, TSA changed the way it screens the nearly 2 million passengers who fly daily from more than 450 commercial airports in the U.S. We moved from the “one-size-fits-all” approach to more efficient risk-based, intelligence-driven security operations.

Mostly, passengers notice this at airport security checkpoints. The risk-based security approach  is not limited to just passenger screening, it also applies to cargo security along with the work we do at train stations, bus depots and seaports.

Since the vast majority of people pose little to no threat to aviation, we can expedite the screening process at airports. This allows TSA to focus more on individuals who may pose an unknown level of risk to the traveling public.

Through risk-based initiatives such as TSA Pre✓®, we are providing effective security while gaining efficiencies and improving the travel experience for millions of passengers each week.

A record number of travelers flew this Thanksgiving holiday period. More than 12.5 million passengers were screened between Nov. 26 and Dec. 2, a 1.3 percent increase from 2013. Nearly 50 percent of these passengers experienced expedited screening. Nationwide, 99.6 percent of passengers waited in a line for less than 20 minutes.

Throughout 2014, we focused on increasing the population of known and trusted travelers receiving TSA Pre✓®. In fact, we enrolled more than 740,000 travelers in the program since opening the first application center in December 2013. We expanded TSA Pre✓® to more than 120 airports and opened more than 300 application centers nationwide.

With more people experiencing TSA Pre✓®, airports are opening more expedited screening lanes and expanding the hours in which those lanes are staffed. Passenger support for TSA Pre✓® is positive and we are confident it will only grow as more people recognize the benefits of this program.

As we continue to adapt our security approach, we work relentlessly to stop commercial airplanes from being turned into weapons used against us and our way of life. Today’s TSA is fully committed to strengthening transportation security in America, while improving the traveler experience. Risk-based, intelligence-driven security is not a concept for the future; it is what we do every day at TSA to keep our nation safe and secure.

John S. Pistole
Administrator
Transportation Security Administration
Arlington, Va.

50 comments:

Susan Richart said...

CBS Investigative Reports getting to you, Pistole?

Anonymous said...

Hopefully, this is the last time we will hear from you. I can't imagine that your successor will be as arrogant as you have been to both the citizens of this country as well as to Congress.

RB said...

When non Pre Check people are herded in groups to the Pre Check lanes that is not a Risk Based Security plan.

I don't think TSA even understands what Risk Based Security is seeing as how TSA confiscates plain water and then tosses it into the rubbish bins right at the checkpoints.

How about TSA start doing something really noteworthy and start being honest with the public.

Pistole failed TSA as its administrator. Hope the next person does a better job.

Anonymous said...

Why are we still removing our shoes in this country? I've traveled around the world and just about every other country no longer requires shoes to be removed. I even see signs at foreign airports that say not to remove shoes. Their flights are just as safe as ours so why do we still have to remove our shoes in this country?

David Greenberg said...

I'm very pleased to read that more PreCheck lanes will be open. It is wonderful that more and more folks are signing up for this program, but it is hardly a benefit if the wait at the PreCheck lane is three times longer than any of the others, which I've seen more that 25% of the time in recent months. Please accelerate the acceleration of of accelerated lanes. And thanks for your vigilance, as always.

Anonymous said...

However, why are only 20% arrested of those caught with prohibited items? Your saying it is up to local police to arrest is an evasive response.

Agrippa said...

How does using an iPad that points a passenger to PreCheck or non PreCheck security lanes equate to a Risk Based Screening program?

Anonymous said...

Completely agree with David G. You continue to increase TSA Pre-check status but fail to increase to lines to accept the individuals. I am TSA Pre-check but often select to go though normal screening as the lines are much shorter. It's a great concept and I thank you for looking at alternatives to assist with the screening delays. However, if you continue to promote/brag about TSA Pre-check, please increase the staffing lanes to handle those travelers.

Anonymous said...

"In 2011, TSA changed the way it screens the nearly 2 million passengers who fly daily from more than 450 commercial airports in the U.S."

Why do you say that when a few paragraphs later you state that PreCheck is available at only 120 of those 450 airports?

743,000,000 people travel by air in this country each year, most of whom are not frequent flyers. Yet you seem to think that 740,000 enrolled in PreCheck is a success. It doesn't seem like it is such a resounding success.


SSSS for Some Reason said...

"...We continue to face a real and persistent threat, against actors adept in the design, construction and concealment of explosives, including non-metallic improvised explosive devices. "

Funny, but I have never see those posted in the weekly police blotter posts.

Tanja Meece said...

You do what you can and that's what matters most.. Happy holidays TSA.

RB said...

We expanded TSA Pre✓® to more than 120 airports and opened more than 300 application centers nationwide. 

With more people experiencing TSA Pre✓®, nearly 2 million passengers who fly daily from more than 450 commercial airports in the U.S.

?????????????????????????????????

So let me get this straight. 450 commercial airports servicing nearly 2 million passengers daily yet TSA is only capable of instituting Pre Check in about 120 airports or only about 27% of all airports?

Isn't it true that Pre Check eases the workload of TSA screeners? Does it not reduce the number of screeners per lane?

Since TSA admits that nearly all travelers are little to no threat then reason would dictate that all passengers be screened by Pre Check level screening protocols. If an alarm or other factor developes then intensify the screening of that individual.

TSA should end ID checking. Doing ID checks adds absolutely nothing to improving security.

TSA should terminate the BDO program unless able to prove with hard facts that GAO is wrong in its assessment of the BDO progeam.

TSA should end the LGA restrictions. There is no evidence of a threat vector from LGA's.

And TSA should end the Sky is Falling crying as Pistole did in his article. If there is a threat then produce the evidence. With TSA's history of dishonesty, lack of integrity, and flat out lies why should anyone believe Pistole or anyone else at TSA that a significant threat exists? Once you lose credibility, which TSA lost long ago, you should not be surprised that the public no longer has faith in TSA announcements.

Lastly, where are the results from the WBI NPRM? It has been over a year since the comment period ended. The public deserves a final rule that embraces the input from the public yet TSA continues deploying WBI machines even into Pre Check lanes.



Anonymous said...

A TSAnonymous said that you use stock photos for your blog posts of confiscated weapons. Is this true?

Anonymous said...

Why bother with your precheck exhortion program when you've admitted Ib court that no terrorist group is trying to take over our blow up planes?

You have no need to background check someone who wants or needs to travel by plane. Land of the free?

Time After Time said...

Blotter Team, why are you using posts from part weeks to represent weapons allegedly found this week?

Anonymous said...

Blotter Team, why are TSA employees publicly suggesting a work slow down, causing missed flights and loss of revenue by the flying public?

Chris Boyce said...

PreCheck is nothing more than extortion, being used as a means to create a privileged class that is dependent upon you for that privilege. You have successfully silenced your most vocal and knowledgeable opponents because they want to keep the privilege you bestowed upon them that you can remove at any time for any reason.

I doubt you ever studied Soviet Communism in law school. Look up the term "Apparatchik" and read about the Soviet system of privileges.

Anonymous said...

With over 2 million passengers flying daily and only a couple former screeners complaining on this site, I'd say TSA is one of the most successful agencies in history.

Anonymous said...

You and we know that the only reason precheck exists is because your spectacularly botched implementation of slow, invasive, and ineffective naked body scanners in 2010 was an utter fiasco, and because you needed to do something to undo the bottleneck your ineptitude created at checkpoints. Precheck, like your agency, is a farce; it should be the only level of screening, and it should apply to ALL travelers, not just the wealthy and the lucky. You and your agency harm and disgrace America each and every day. Shame on each and every one of you.

Anonymous said...

Pistole, how many dangerous objects have ever been detected by your naked body scanners?

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "However, why are only 20% arrested of those caught with prohibited items? Your saying it is up to local police to arrest is an evasive response."

That is not evasive, it is a nod to the fact that different locations vary greatly in their laws. Once a dangerous item is found, the local LEOs are the authority that must deal with and proceed through the possible prosecution of the the person in question. We are pretty much not involved in the process past that point and because of that, we are not always going to have a follow-up report on the incident. It is not evasive, just a reflection of the fact that we are pretty much out of the process past the discovery phase.

David Greenberg sez - "Please accelerate the acceleration of of accelerated lanes. And thanks for your vigilance, as always."

We are currently accelerating the acceleration of as many accelerated lanes as possible. We even completed training some new hires here within recent months. They will be on the accelerated lane here, accelerating the acceleration of the process for you.

Tanja sez - "You do what you can and that's what matters most.. Happy holidays TSA."

Thank you Tanja, and Happy Holidays to you as well.

Anon sez - "A TSAnonymous said that you use stock photos for your blog posts of confiscated weapons. Is this true?"

I am unaware of that practice, I know that we have used stock photos for some of our posts, but I am unaware of them being used on the weekly update. I will check and see if that is the case.

Time after Time sez - "Blotter Team, why are you using posts from part weeks to represent weapons allegedly found this week?"

What is a part week?

Anon sez - "Blotter Team, why are TSA employees publicly suggesting a work slow down, causing missed flights and loss of revenue by the flying public?"

I am not certain of what you are referring here. Please include a link that provides some more insight as to where this came from.

West
TSA Blog Team

Susan Richart said...

Worst places to work in Federal Government:

At the bottom, DHS, down almost 3 points from last year's dismal showing.

http://tinyurl.com/mcg9g4n

Is it any wonder that so many screeners are disagreeable, even nasty. The attitude pours down from the top. Pistole is disrespectful and arrogant; so are the employees under him.

screen shot/DHS OIG statement

Anonymous said...

TSAnonymous (probably the Bold Blotter Intern) said...
"With over 2 million passengers flying daily and only a couple former screeners complaining on this site, I'd say TSA is one of the most successful agencies in history.
December 9, 2014 at 9:30 AM"


West, why are you allowing this anonymous TSA employee to continue insisting that two of the commenters here are former TSA employees, which you know is not true?

@ TSAnonymous - When do you turn 20? You're acting like a silly teenager.

Working Worker said...

West,

Here is the link where TSA employees publicly refer to a work slow down

Comments under the December 7, 5:24pm post:

PB: "Yall need to start screening passengers the way the SOP dictates it. You gotta move slow to ensure that you don't miss anything."

IB: " If we follow SOP to the T and allow the lines to build up as they would then they would see that we need more TSOs not less. But everyone seems to take the passengers wait personal and rush them in never allowing a true wait time for Washington to see. Therefore our "numbers" do not display the actual need for more employees. Whatever, lets see how they do us now."

Anonymous said...

Anon sez - "Blotter Team, why are TSA employees publicly suggesting a work slow down, causing missed flights and loss of revenue by the flying public?"

I am not certain of what you are referring here. Please include a link that provides some more insight as to where this came from.WestTSA Blog TeamDecember 9, 2014 at 12:27 PM


West, don't you think a prudent person would inform superiors that there is some chatter about a work slow down afoot?

Facebook.com/groups/tsatalk might be a good place to start reading.

Time After Time After Time said...

West wrote like a 9 yr old girl, "Time after Time sez - "Blotter Team, why are you using posts from part weeks to represent weapons allegedly found this week?"

What is a part week?"

Since you pretended you weren't able to decipher an autocorrect error from the context, it's PAST weeks.

So, let me try again. Why are you using pictures from PAST weeks to represent weapons allegedly found in later weeks? Comments have been posted that were never answered in previous posts.

Look at your November posts. You reused photos. Why? Simple question. Will you fix it with appropriate notation? Another simple question.

Sandra said...

"99.6 percent of passengers waited in a line for less than 20 minutes."

Yet, in an article in "Government Executive" you apparently told a conference that "security check wait times have been reduced by 75 percent to under five minutes for most passengers despite rising volume;"

These two statements are very far apart - but what else is new coming out of your mouth, John Pistole?

ss

SSSS for Some Reason said...

Anonymous said...
With over 2 million passengers flying daily and only a couple former screeners complaining on this site, I'd say TSA is one of the most successful agencies in history.

Well, that is your opinion so it is fine for you to say that.

The rest of us, including the couple former screeners, have a different opinion and will continue to call out the TSA on their problems, violations of our rights and abuses of the traveling public in general.

Politicalouttake@aol.com said...

Lol

Anonymous said...

Did I see risk-based screening in effect at FLL yesterday when the full body scanner line was so backed up that the TSA employee started letting random people through the walk-through metal detector?

Would it have been risky to open up another lane for the 50% of flyers who aren't getting expedited? Or is it part of TSA's risk-based approach to try to stuff a large number of flyers into too few general lanes (often only one lane) even though the PreCheck lane is almost always underutilized at every airport I fly through?

And where in the world is the PROOF that PreCheck is effective? Where is the PROOF that the PreCheck background checks are useful to any degree?

Agrippa said...

Anonymous said..."Did I see risk-based screening in effect at FLL yesterday when the full body scanner line was so backed up that the TSA employee started letting random people through the walk-through metal detector?"
___________________________________

Yes, that's what TSA calls Risked Base Screening.

Surprised by the total incompetence of TSA?

Anonymous said...

SSSS said, "...former screeners, have a different opinion and will continue to call out the TSA on their problems, violations of our rights and abuses of the traveling public in general."

To no avail...next.

Shorty said...

Next comment criticizing the TSA? Okay. Precheck is useless exhortion by a department that violates our rights and the Constitution every day.

SSSS for Some Reason said...

Anonymous said...
SSSS said, "...former screeners, have a different opinion and will continue to call out the TSA on their problems, violations of our rights and abuses of the traveling public in general."

To no avail...next.

You read it. That is at least one more person who is going to think about what the TSA is doing. Even if that thought is fleeting, it is one more fleeting thought about what the TSA is doing and how. My efforts may be but a drop in the ocean, the drops do add up. Enough drops can become a trickle, a trickle becomes a stream, a stream becomes a river, you get the idea.

RB said...

Anonymous said...
SSSS said, "...former screeners, have a different opinion and will continue to call out the TSA on their problems, violations of our rights and abuses of the traveling public in general."

To no avail...next.

December 11, 2014 at 6:52 PM

..............................

So you say we sit back and just let it happen, it'll be over soon enough.

Should the peoples of Europe and Great Britain have not fought back against Germany?

Should the United States have just said "oh well" after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor?

Should we have said "stuff happens" after the terrorist attacked our country on 9/11?

I say no. We stand up to those who wrong us no matter who they are.

TSA needs some serious corrective action and until it happens I, and I hope others, will continue to be the voice of opposition.

And you don't need to be a former screener to speak out against TSA, you might just be a wronged passenger who lost faith that TSA would do the right thing.

Anonymous said...

"...but it is hardly a benefit if the wait at the PreCheck lane is three times longer than any of the others..."

You don't think getting to keep your shoes on, getting to keep your jacket on, getting to keep you laptop in the bag, and avoiding the choice of naked photo vs. patdown is a benefit?

What you are really saying is that your time is more important than others' right to be treated with dignity.

Anonymous said...

"With over 2 million passengers flying daily and only a couple former screeners complaining on this site, I'd say TSA is one of the most successful agencies in history."

I guess you missed the 5,000+ public comments submitted in response to TSA's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the use of 'Advanced Imaging Technologies.' Here's the link so that you can be informed:

http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=TSA-2013-0004

GSOLTSO said...

Working Worker sez - "Comments under the December 7, 5:24pm post:"

Thank you for pointing me in the right direction for this info, it has been sent up the chain for review.

Anon sez - "West, don't you think a prudent person would inform superiors that there is some chatter about a work slow down afoot?"

It has been reported (as soon as I had the directed post), thank you for your concern.

West
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

West Cooper, why are you too scared to answer simple and legitimate questions about false positive rates of TSA's primary screening technology?

Anonymous said...

GSOLTSO said...

Working Worker sez - "Comments under the December 7, 5:24pm post:"

Thank you for pointing me in the right direction for this info, it has been sent up the chain for review. 

Anon sez - "West, don't you think a prudent person would inform superiors that there is some chatter about a work slow down afoot?"

It has been reported (as soon as I had the directed post), thank you for your concern. WestTSA Blog TeamDecember 13, 2014 at 3:44 PM

Do TSA employees have a no strike clause like most other federal employees?

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez "Do TSA employees have a no strike clause like most other federal employees?"

Yes.

West
TSA Blog Team

Working Worker said...

Thank you, West for answering a couple of questions.

Anonymous said...

since we're talking "risk-based security", I continue to wait for some justification for active duty military being included in pre-check, but not retired military or holders of current DoD or LE background investigations. military retirees have at least 20 years documented service to this Nation, pretty much proving their lack of risk. both DoD and LE background investigations should reveal any risk factors. active duty military do not, necessarily, have a background check or any significant length of service. neither citizenship nor a background investigation is required to enlist in the military, in fact there are likely illegal immigrants serving. if it is really about safety, then why are potentially unscreened non-citizens allowed through? sounds like it is just pandering to an admirable group to get PR, not adjusting the rules to ease screening on those who present a lower likelihood of threat.
Let me be clear: pre-911 screening should be the norm. it is all that is required, now that cockpit doors have been reinforced and locked, and flight crews and passengers know that the rules have changed and passivity=death. however, if we are going to continue this massive waste of tax dollars on security theatre, at least have _some_ of the rules make sense. now you're even allowing college kids (kaydets) to endure more reasonable screening, but those who sacrificed for 20+ have to take their bloody shoes and belts off!! it's pretty clear that TSA doesn't understand risk assessment or risk-based anything, much less security.

Barbara said...

My husband and I recently were each selected "randomly" for additional screening in the TSA PreCheck lane at two different airports. No one at either airport seemed to recognize the absurdity of random extra screening of people who had voluntarily gone through the process of getting background checked, fingerprinted, photographed and interviewed. I had to go through the whole body xray to avoid removing my shoes and being patted down. I thought TSA PreCheck was supposed to avoid this. Now I feel like a sucker for spending $100 to get into the program.

Wintermute said...

Barbara said...
"My husband and I recently were each selected "randomly" for additional screening in the TSA PreCheck lane at two different airports. No one at either airport seemed to recognize the absurdity of random extra screening of people who had voluntarily gone through the process of getting background checked, fingerprinted, photographed and interviewed. I had to go through the whole body xray to avoid removing my shoes and being patted down. I thought TSA PreCheck was supposed to avoid this. Now I feel like a sucker for spending $100 to get into the program."

The government has always stated that the money spent does not guarantee that you've bought your freedoms back.

Susan Richart said...

Barbara wrote:

'No one at either airport seemed to recognize the absurdity of random extra screening of people who had voluntarily gone through the process of getting background checked, fingerprinted, photographed and interviewed. I had to go through the whole body xray to avoid removing my shoes and being patted down. I thought TSA PreCheck was supposed to avoid this."

This is the TSA's version of bait and switch. I'm sorry that you fell for it.

Thank you for writing about it, however, as more people learn that they were lied to yet again by the TSA, fewer people will fall for the scam.

screen shot/DHS OIG statement

Anonymous said...

"My husband and I recently were each selected "randomly" for additional screening in the TSA PreCheck lane at two different airports...."

Yeah. The government doesn't actually trust you.

Anonymous said...

Susan wrote, "...fewer people will fall for the scam."

What scam? When you sign up for Pre-check you are told, in wrtiting, that occasionally you will not have access to Pre-check lanes. No excuse for not reading what you're signing.

Susan Richart said...

"Anonymous said...

Susan wrote, "...fewer people will fall for the scam."

What scam? When you sign up for Pre-check you are told, in wrtiting, that occasionally you will not have access to Pre-check lanes. No excuse for not reading what you're signing.

December 24, 2014 at 9:43 AM"

The public was told when this scam first surfaced that they would be, for the most part, able to by-pass the scanners. And that was true for a while. But all of a sudden, TSA is installing scanners in more and more precheck lanes and "randomly" selecting more and more people to go through those hated surrender machines. That's where the scam lies.

screen shot/DHS OIG statement

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
Susan wrote, "...fewer people will fall for the scam."

What scam? When you sign up for Pre-check you are told, in wrtiting, that occasionally you will not have access to Pre-check lanes. No excuse for not reading what you're signing.

December 24, 2014 at 9:43 AM"


Are you a TSA employee? Did you write this while at work or on a government machine/network?