In a recent article “Acting TSA head reassigned after watchdog report reveals airport security failings” it is revealed that the Transportation Security Administration isn’t serving the traveling public as it could. The article explains that officers within the organization have failed 96 percent or 67 out of 70 tests carried out by the special Department of Homeland Security investigators known as “red teams,” as part of a DHS inspector general review.
After reading this article I reached out to people close to me and asked for their thoughts regarding the ordeal. One friend stated that the lack of proper training is the result of the missed tests. Management stresses that it’s up to the Transportation Security Officer to ask their assigned lead for the day for permission to complete any assigned training. Yet the Lead Officer has the authority to say no due to operational needs. It seems to me that training should supersede operational need.
Another friend stated that if management didn’t focus on things outside the realm of providing security i.e. allowing passengers through pre-check even if their boarding passes don’t specify pre -check, making sure officers only give one TSA sticker per child and monitoring the hair length of female officers. Management is more concerned with satisfying the needs of the traveling public by allowing them to dictate how long they should have to wait in line. So management seems obsessed with wait times over 20 minutes even though passengers are asked to arrive two hours before their flights departure time.
The job of protecting the traveling public is a job that requires ongoing training not just the training provided upon being hired. With the understaffed security checkpoints, the extremely early start times (shifts start as early as 3:30 a.m.) and the added pressure from management stressing over things that shouldn’t take precedent over safety officers are fatigued, stressed out and have to be subjected to verbal abuse and often times physical abuse from travelers.
It is my hope that since the mistakes of the agency have been brought to the attention of the powers that be, something will be done, changes will be made and more emphasis will be placed on protecting the traveling public and less on the insignificant issues on how many stickers should be passed out to families traveling with small kids.