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August 02, 2013

Report: TSA Worker Credentialing Office Needs Improvement

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, released the below statement in response to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report he requested on the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) Adjudication Center – which performs security background checks for Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) applicants, among other programs. TWIC cards allow individuals to gain access to secure areas of our nation's transportation infrastructure. The report, entitled "Transportation Security: Action Needed to Strengthen TSA's Security Threat Assessment Process" shows that the Adjudication Center produces mixed results.

"TSA must resolve the deficiencies that plague the Adjudication Center. TWIC applicants deserve an appeals process that is fair, efficient, and accurate - and the American public deserves a process that quickly and accurately ferrets out those individuals who may present a threat to ports and railways. TSA's continued overreliance on contractors to complete much of this work must end. I urge TSA to follow GAO's recommendations, and I look forward to working with the TSA Administrator in resolving these long-standing problems."

Highlights of the report include:

  • While the Adjudication Center met timeliness and performance measures, it did not meet caseload performance measures—leading to frequent case backlogs.
  • The Adjudication Center was unable to show if disqualified applicants were informed in a timely manner, which would permit these applicants to begin the adjudication process quickly.
  • The Adjudication Center's error rate may be inaccurate because only incorrectly disqualified applicants are counted. Incorrectly approved applicants should also be included in the accuracy rate.
  • TSA relies heavily on a contractor workforce to complete the work of the Adjudication Center. Although TSA planned to use only a government workforce in the Adjudication Center, it continues to rely heavily on contractors and has not developed a plan to convert to government workers.

LINK TO REPORT

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Media Contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978