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Homeland Security Committee Hears TSA Testimony on Organizational Structure, Technology Implementation, Frontline Workforce

March 14, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. — This week, the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation and Maritime Security, led by Chairman Carlos Gimenez (R-FL), held a hearing to examine the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) efforts to maintain an effective organizational posture. Witnesses provided insight into the functionality of the agency’s structure, the impact of workforce satisfaction and attrition on security, and concerns over technology implementation timelines.

TSA witnesses included Stacie Fitzmaurice, executive assistant administrator for operations support; Brian C. Belcher, executive assistant administrator and director for the Law Enforcement and Federal Air Marshal Service; Julie Scanlon, executive assistant administrator for enterprise support; and Steve Lorincz, deputy executive assistant administrator for security operations.

In his opening line of questioning, Chairman Gimenez questioned witnesses on the agency’s implementation of new technologies:

“How agile is your organization in implementing new technologies, and how can we help you implement these new technologies faster?”

Scanlon answered: 

At our current funding levels through our appropriations, our checkpoint funding is approximately $80 million so that will take us through 2049 to get our computed tomography, CT, machines out there, and 2042 to get our credential authentication technology out to the airports that we need them to be in. Currently we have vendors ready to accel[erate] the delivery of that system. We have the mechanisms in place and if we had the appropriate funding, we could get all of our equipment deployed between now and 2029… [We are] working with vendors to look at those emerging threats and to try and develop algorithms and technology to make sure that we are equipped.”

Rep. Nick LaLota (R-NY) emphasized the concerning timeline of these technology rollouts and asked if Lorincz shared the same concern:

“Administrator Pekoske was sitting in the seats that you’re in right now not too long ago and told this committee that, based on past present, current, and projected funding, it won’t be until 25 years from now––the year 2049––that TSA is able to reach its full operational capability for credential authentication technology, CAT machines, and 18 years from now, in 2042, that we will meet the standard for checkpoint property screening systems, including computing tomography. To put those delays in perspective: a baby born today will be old enough to vote and, or, rent a car before these standards are met. Mr. Lorincz, is that acceptable to you?”

Lorincz replied:

“We need the best technology out there to make sure that we stay ahead of the threat. And it’s challenging when you have different technologies at a certain airport, not only from a passenger experience, from a security effectiveness piece, but also from a training piece. So, your continued support from this committee is greatly appreciated.”