[House Hearing, 115 Congress] [From the U.S. Government Publishing Office] THE FUTURE OF THE TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION ======================================================================= HEARING BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION AND PROTECTIVE SECURITY of the COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ONE HUNDRED FIFTEENTH CONGRESS FIRST SESSION __________ FEBRUARY 2, 2017 __________ Serial No. 115-1 __________ Printed for the use of the Committee on Homeland Security [GRAPHIC NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT] Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/ __________ U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLISHING OFFICE 26-395 PDF WASHINGTON : 2017 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Publishing Office, http://bookstore.gpo.gov. For more information, contact the GPO Customer Contact Center, U.S. Government Publishing Office. Phone 202-512-1800, or 866-512-1800 (toll-free). E-mail, [email protected] COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY Michael T. McCaul, Texas, Chairman Lamar Smith, Texas Bennie G. Thompson, Mississippi Peter T. King, New York Sheila Jackson Lee, Texas Mike Rogers, Alabama James R. Langevin, Rhode Island Jeff Duncan, South Carolina Cedric L. Richmond, Louisiana Tom Marino, Pennsylvania William R. Keating, Massachusetts Lou Barletta, Pennsylvania Donald M. Payne, Jr., New Jersey Scott Perry, Pennsylvania Filemon Vela, Texas John Katko, New York Bonnie Watson Coleman, New Jersey Will Hurd, Texas Kathleen M. Rice, New York Martha McSally, Arizona J. Luis Correa, California John Ratcliffe, Texas Val Butler Demings, Florida Daniel M. Donovan, Jr., New York Nanette Diaz Barragan, California Mike Gallagher, Wisconsin Clay Higgins, Louisiana John H. Rutherford, Florida Thomas A. Garrett, Jr., Virginia Brian K. Fitzpatrick, Pennsylvania Brendan P. Shields, Staff Director Joan V. O'Hara, General Counsel Michael S. Twinchek, Chief Clerk Hope Goins, Minority Staff Director ------ SUBCOMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION AND PROTECTIVE SECURITY John Katko, New York, Chairman Peter T. King, New York Bonnie Watson Coleman, New Jersey Mike Rogers, Alabama William R. Keating, Massachusetts Clay Higgins, Louisiana Donald M. Payne, Jr., New Jersey Brian K. Fitzpatrick, Pennsylvania Bennie G. Thompson, Mississippi Michael T. McCaul, Texas (ex (ex officio) officio) Krista P. Harvey, Subcommittee Staff Director Cedric C. Haynes, Minority Subcommittee Staff Director C O N T E N T S ---------- Page Statements The Honorable John Katko, a Representative in Congress From the State of New York, and Chairman, Subcommittee on Transportation and Protective Security: Oral Statement................................................. 1 Prepared Statement............................................. 3 The Honorable Bonnie Watson Coleman, a Representative in Congress From the State of New Jersey, and Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Transportation and Protective Security: Oral Statement................................................. 4 Prepared Statement............................................. 5 The Honorable Bennie G. Thompson, a Representative in Congress From the State of Mississippi, and Ranking Member, Committee on Homeland Security: Prepared Statement............................................. 6 Witnesses Mr. Roger Dow, CEO, U.S. Travel Association: Oral Statement................................................. 8 Prepared Statement............................................. 9 Ms. Nina E. Brooks, Head of Security, Airports Council International: Oral Statement................................................. 17 Prepared Statement............................................. 19 Mr. J. David Cox, Sr., National President, American Federation of Government Employees: Oral Statement................................................. 25 Prepared Statement............................................. 26 Appendix Questions From Honorable Brian Fitzpatrick for Roger Dow......... 45 Question From Honorable Brian Fitzpatrick for Nina E. Brooks..... 46 THE FUTURE OF THE TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION ---------- Thursday, February 2, 2017 U.S. House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Transportation and Protective Security, Committee on Homeland Security, Washington, DC. The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:03 a.m., in Room HVC-210, Capitol Visitor Center, Hon. John Katko [Chairman of the subcommittee] presiding. Present: Representatives Katko, Higgins, Watson Coleman, Keating, and Payne. Also present: Representative Jackson Lee. Mr. Katko. The Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Transportation and Protective Security will come to order. Before I commence with my statement, I do want to note for the record how happy I am to have Mrs. Watson Coleman as my new Ranking Chair on this. We have a very good working relationship, as well we should. I think it is something more people in Congress could try and do. We are going to endeavor to do that going forward. So Mrs. Watson Coleman, welcome, and thank you for being on the committee with me. Mrs. Watson Coleman. Thank you. Delighted to be here with you. Mr. Katko. Thank you for being here as well, Mr. Payne. There are others in the committee. They have some conflicts, so may be coming in and out, but we will deal with that as we move forward. The subcommittee is meeting today to examine how TSA can better achieve its mission to secure transportation systems across the United States. In addition, the hearing will cover opportunities for TSA to improve, as it relates to technological advances and communications, for the State, local, and private-sector partners. I now recognize myself for an opening statement. I would like to welcome everyone to the Subcommittee on Transportation and Protective Security's first hearing of the 115th Congress, which gave us added responsibilities to have oversight of the Secret Service as well as TSA. So, we kind-of doubled our workload here, much to the chagrin of my staff. I am grateful to my constituents for giving me the opportunity and privilege to return to Congress and continue to Chair this important subcommittee. This committee has a proven track record of working together to advance long-term, common- sense, and strategic reforms to the Department of Homeland Security. While there may be divisions and discord elsewhere, here in this room, we all share an unshakable commitment to ensuring the security of the traveling public, because we know that the consequences of failure are just too great. The Transportation Security Administration was founded just weeks after 9/11. Congress did what it does best. It reacted to a crisis, and unfortunately threw a lot of money at it without sometimes thinking about the overall structure. Here we are nearly 16 years later. The American taxpayer has spent billions of dollars. It is clear that TSA is long overdue for an overhaul. The agency has been plagued with uncertainty and a lack of consistent leadership. Since 2014, TSA has had 6 different administrators leading the agency--6. While we have been able to advance legislation to address many of the challenges that TSA faces, it is incumbent upon us to provide clearer direction and intent for this often-troubled agency in the form of a full-scale reauthorization, and find a way to limit the revolving door of leadership. Without continuity at the top, it is impossible for any organization to successfully implement a long-term strategic vision. Instead, we have all been left with the many fits and starts of the last few years. I have juxtaposed that with, for example, the FBI, an agency where the director is there for a 10-year term and how the stability really helps moving forward. Under former Administrator Neffenger, TSA began to move in the right direction. A new training and education program was put into place for all front-line employees. Emphasis was placed on engagement with the private sector. TSA launched an innovation task force to seek out new technologies. All of these things had a very positive effect on morale, at least to some extent. While these were important first steps, they did not go far enough, and now many of these potentially transformative initiatives are left to languish or disappear altogether with yet another change in leadership when the President names a new administrator. It would be wise for the new administrator to continue to build upon many of these positive changes initiated by Admiral Neffenger. When confirmed, he or she will have an eager partner in the subcommittee to help garner Congressional support for reform and improvement within the agency. Over the last few years, we saw record-breaking numbers of Americans traveling. Unfortunately, TSA was at times ill-prepared for the volume of travelers and was caught flat-footed. At the height of the wait-time crisis last summer, news coverage around the country showed passengers stranded at airports overnight due to long TSA wait lines, sleeping on cots or on the floor. The number of passengers will continue to increase. We must ensure TSA is prepared to effectively and efficiently screen passengers. Simultaneously, TSA must focus on working with its State and local partners to keep all areas of our airports safe and secure. This issue was front and center on January 7 when a disturbed individual opened fire in the baggage claim area at the Hollywood-Fort Lauderdale International Airport, resulting in the loss of 5 lives and scores of injuries. Air traffic was brought to a halt as law enforcement officials and first responders rushed to contain the situation. This tragic incident served as a stark reminder of the threats facing our Nation's aviation system. Although TSA is one of the youngest agencies in the Federal Government, it has come to operate as an entrenched Federal bureaucracy. This means that oftentimes it fails to achieve important efficiencies. It lacks the flexibility to respond to an ever-changing threat landscape. I believe, that with the start of this new administration we have a unique opportunity to effect positive change at TSA. The purpose of our hearing today is to look forward--not backwards, forward. We will hear from the many willing and ready partners TSA has to help inform us what innovations and efficiencies TSA could better leverage to enhance its ability to achieve its critical mission. The private sector is a primary engine of innovation and efficiency in the U.S. economy. The Department of Homeland Security and TSA must look to them for best practices and new technologies that can simultaneously improve aviation security and passenger experience. I look forward to hearing from all of our witnesses today on the specific reforms necessary to advance TSA and make the traveling public safer. [The statement of Chairman Katko follows:] Statement of Chairman John Katko February 2, 2017 I would like to welcome everyone to the Subcommittee on Transportation and Protective Security's first hearing of the 115th Congress. I am grateful to my constituents for giving me the opportunity and privilege to return to Congress and continue to chair this important subcommittee. This committee has a proven track record of working together to advance long-term, common-sense strategic reforms to the Department of Homeland Security. While there may be divisions and discord elsewhere, here in this room, we all share an unshakable commitment to ensuring the security of the traveling public, because we know that the consequences of failure are too great. The Transportation Security Administration was founded just weeks after 9/11. Congress did what it does best--it reacted to a crisis and threw money at a problem. Here we are nearly 16 years later, the American taxpayer has spent billions of dollars, and it is clear that TSA is long overdue for an overhaul. The agency has long been plagued with uncertainty and a lack of leadership. Since 2014, TSA has had 6 different administrators leading the agency. While we have been able to advance legislation to address many of the challenges that TSA faces, it is incumbent upon us to provide clearer direction and intent for this often troubled agency in the form of a full-scale reauthorization, and find a way to limit the revolving door of leadership. Without continuity at the top, it is impossible for any organization to successfully implement a long-term strategic vision. Instead, we have all been left with the many fits and starts of the last few years. Under former Administrator Neffenger, TSA began to move in the right direction. A new training and education program was put into place for all front-line employees, emphasis was placed on engagement with the private sector, and TSA launched an Innovation Task Force to seek out new technologies. While these were important first steps, they did not go far enough, and now many of these potentially transformative initiatives are left to languish or disappear altogether with yet another change in leadership when the President names a new administrator. It would be wise for the new administrator to continue to build upon many of these positive changes initiated by Admiral Neffenger. When confirmed, he or she will have an eager partner in this subcommittee, to help garner Congressional support for reform and improvement within the agency. Over the last year, we saw record-breaking numbers of Americans traveling; unfortunately TSA was ill-prepared for the volume of travelers and was caught flat-footed. At the height of the wait times crisis, news coverage around the country showed passengers, stranded at airports overnight due to long TSA wait lines, sleeping on cots. The number of passengers will continue to increase, and we must ensure TSA is prepared to effectively and efficiently screen passengers. Simultaneously, TSA must focus on working with its State and local partners to keep all areas of our airports safe and secure. This issue was front and center on January 7, when a disturbed individual opened fire in the baggage claim area at the Hollywood-Fort Lauderdale International Airport. The incident resulted in the loss of 5 lives and scores of injuries. Air traffic was brought to a halt as law enforcement officials and first responders rushed to contain the situation. This tragic incident served as a stark reminder of the threats facing our Nation's aviation system. Although TSA is one of the youngest agencies in the Federal Government, it has come to operate as an entrenched Federal bureaucracy. This means that often times it fails to achieve important efficiencies, and it lacks the flexibility to respond to an ever- changing threat landscape. I believe that with the start of this new administration, we have a unique opportunity to affect positive change at TSA. The purpose of our hearing today is to look forward. We will hear from the many willing and ready partners TSA has to help inform us what innovations and efficiencies TSA could better leverage to enhance its ability to achieve its critical mission. The private sector is the primary engine of innovation and efficiency in the U.S. economy. The Department of Homeland Security and TSA must look to them for best practices and new technologies that can simultaneously improve aviation security and passenger experience. I look forward to hearing from all of our witnesses today, on the specific reforms necessary to advance TSA and make the traveling public safer. I would like to thank all of you for being here today and with that, I am pleased to recognize the new Ranking Member of the subcommittee, the gentlelady from New Jersey, Ms. Watson Coleman, for her opening statement. Mr. Katko. With that, I am pleased to recognize the new Ranking Member of the subcommittee, the gentlelady from New Jersey, Mrs. Watson Coleman, for her opening statement. Mrs. Watson Coleman. Thank you, Chairman Katko. I really do appreciate this opportunity to work with you. I look forward to working in a bipartisan way to ensure that we have efficiency, effectiveness, and a robust traveling economy that benefits from the things that we shall do together. I want to thank you for convening this hearing. At the outset, let me say that I am looking forward to working with the Transportation and Protective Security Committee to address those challenges within all modes of transportation. The Transportation Security Administration as well as airlines, airports, and other stakeholders have experienced major challenges recently in regard to aviation security. While there have been many lessons learned and improvements made to aviation security, there is much to be done in this area. Mr. Dow. I understand that the U.S. Travel Association has taken time to produce a plan for the future of aviation security. I look forward to hearing your perspective on how we can enhance security while facilitating an efficient experience for travelers. I also look forward to your perspective on ensuring that the aviation security fee, which is currently diverted to offsetting the deficit, is utilized as a resource for enhancing aviation security, the purpose for which it was originally introduced. Ms. Brooks, I look forward to hearing the perspective of aviation security stakeholders around the world through your expertise as head of security for Airports Council International. Aviation security is a global issue. Your exposure to technology and diverse security policies through the Smart Security initiative will add great value to this hearing. President Cox, I thank you for being here today. In 2016, TSOs screened more than 738 million passengers, 466 million checked bags, and discovered more than 3,300 firearms in carry- on bags. However, when issues arise at the Nation's checkpoints, such as lengthy wait times associated with the recent peak travel season or reported high failure rates from covert testing, transportation security officials usually bear the brunt of the traveling public's frustrations. Eventually, we learned that a multitude of factors can contribute to these issues, including, but not limited to, technology, policies, and management, not just transportation security officers. I thank TSOs for working day in and day out to ensure that no weapon or person with ill intent is able to harm us via our commercial aviation system. I look forward to your testimony about disparities between the rights of these Federal employees in comparison to those in the other workforce. As we discuss the future of TSA and transportation security, we cannot leave out the perspectives of those that you represent. I also believe that this subcommittee must convene a hearing on this topic that also includes the perspective of the agency whose future we are discussing, the Transportation Security Administration. Last, year after year, the funding for the aviation sector is multiples higher than the funding for the surface sector. My district has extensive rail infrastructure, including Amtrak's Northeast Corridor, as well as both freight and commuter trains that run through it and are extremely important to my constituents. Given the attacks on trains in Brussels, in which a metro train was the subject of a bombing that killed and injured travelers, as well as the attempted attack on a high-speed train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris, we must ensure that discussions of the future of TSA and transportation security also incorporate other modes of transportation, Mr. Chairman. I look forward to engaging in those opportunities with you. Those who wish to do American citizens harm will continue to attempt to exploit soft targets. We must shore up vulnerabilities that exist throughout all transportation systems. Once again, I thank all witnesses for appearing before us today and look forward to your testimony. With that, I yield back the balance of my time, Mr. Chairman. [The statement of Ranking Member Watson Coleman follows:] Statement of Ranking Member Bonnie Watson Coleman February 2, 2017 The Transportation Security Administration, as well as airports, airlines, and other stakeholders, have experienced major challenges recently in regard to aviation security. While there have been many lessons learned and improvements made to aviation security, there is much left to be done in this area. Mr. Dow, I understand that the U.S. Travel Association has taken time to produce a plan for the future of aviation security, and I look forward to hearing your perspective on how we can enhance security while facilitating an efficient experience for travelers. I also look forward to your perspective on ensuring that the aviation security fee, which is currently diverted to offsetting the deficit, is utilized as a resource for enhancing aviation security--the purpose for which it was originally intended. Ms. Brooks, I look forward to hearing the perspective of aviation security stakeholders around the world through your expertise as head of security for Airports Council International. Aviation security is a global issue, and your exposure to technology and diverse security policies through the Smart Security initiative will add great value to this hearing. President Cox, I thank you for being here today. In 2016, Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) screened more than 738 million passengers, 466 million checked bags, and discovered more than 3,300 firearms in carry-on bags. However, when issues arise at the Nation's checkpoints, such as lengthy wait times associated with the recent peak travel season, or reported high failure rates from covert testing, transportation security officers usually bear the brunt of the traveling public's frustrations. Eventually we learned that a multitude of factors can contribute to these issues, including, but not limited to technology, policies, and management--not just transportation security officers. I thank TSOs for working day in and day out to ensure that no weapon or person with ill intent is able to harm us via our commercial aviation system. I look forward to your testimony about disparities between the rights of these Federal workers in comparison to those of other Federal workers. As we discuss the future of TSA and transportation security, we cannot leave out the perspectives of those that you represent. I also believe that this subcommittee MUST convene a hearing on this topic that also includes the perspective of the agency whose future we are discussing, the Transportation Security Administration. Lastly, year after year, the funding for the aviation sector is multiples higher than the funding for the surface sector. My district has extensive rail infrastructure, including Amtrak's Northeast Corridor, as well as both freight and commuter trains that run through it and are extremely important to my constituents. Given the attacks on trains in Brussels, in which a metro train was the subject of a bombing that killed and injured travelers, as well as the attempted attack on a high-speed train travelling from Amsterdam to Paris, we must ensure that discussions of the future of TSA and transportation security also incorporate other modes of transportation. Those who wish to do American citizens harm will continue to attempt to exploit soft targets, and we must shore up vulnerabilities that exist throughout our transportation systems. Mr. Katko. Thank you, Mrs. Watson Coleman. Other Members of the committee are reminded that opening statements may be submitted for the record. [The statement of Ranking Member Thompson follows:] Statement of Ranking Member Bennie G. Thompson February 2, 2017 The Transportation Security Administration is essential to our Nation's security. I believe that this committee, particularly this subcommittee should work in a bipartisan fashion to achieve the shared goal of advancing TSA. However, we cannot discuss TSA's future without hearing from the agency. It is my hope that after confirmation of a TSA administrator, this subcommittee will hold a hearing to receive the administrator's vision for the agency. When we discuss TSA and its future, it is imperative that we give attention to its workforce. Contrary to statements made by the President--TSA is not a ``disaster'' and has not been on the brink of ``falling apart''. Unfortunately, the President has used his public platform to disparage TSA employees, many of whom are TSOs, Federal workers who are at the front line of aviation security. The President's irresponsible and baseless statements about the component, which is already plagued with low morale, demoralizes a work force who work day in and day out but do not receive the compensation and benefits of other Federal employees. I am introducing a bill that will give the TSOs the same rights as Federal employees. As we consider options for improving TSA, I urge both Congress and the administration to look for viable solutions that actually improve security. I know some of my colleagues across the aisle believe that putting aviation security in the hands of contractors is a viable solution for TSA. I disagree. Our Nation's aviation security should not be for sale. The pre-9/11 model of having a privatized screening workforce, is not an option that can improve security. Instead, it puts security directly in the hands of the best bidder. When it comes to our Nation's security, we cannot operate off of the best deal. Instead we have to explore solutions, including improving technological advancements. TSA needs technologies that address the threats of tomorrow, instead of the threats from yesterday. TSA also needs to ensure that it engages with the small business community to ensure that those businesses with ideas and technologies to improve security are not left out just because of their size. Mr. Katko. We are very pleased to have a distinguished panel here to testify before us today on this very important topic. The idea of having you here is to hear from you the concerns you have before we find out who the new administrator is so that when an administrator gets here he will know that we have a game plan as to what we would like to do to help them address some of their issues. Our first witness, Mr. Roger Dow, serves as the president and chief executive officer for the U.S. Travel Association. Prior to joining U.S. Travel in 2005, Mr. Dow had a 34-year career at Marriott International. Most notably, Mr. Dow served in the United States Army with the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam, where he received the Bronze Star and other citations. That is something I think about often these days as my son is beginning his career in the Army in the infantry after graduating from college as an officer. So I will be swearing him into the Army as an officer in May. That is going to be a high honor for me, but also high fear, as you might imagine. Our second witness, Ms. Nina Brooks, has been the head of security at Airports Council International in Montreal since 2015. She has worked in the aviation industry for many years and started her aviation career at Virgin Atlantic Airways. In addition to her current role, Ms. Brooks also teaches aviation security at McGill University, a truly fine institution, and is a member of the editorial board of Aviation Security International. I am hoping at some point she invites me up to Montreal to see a hockey game because I am a hockey nut. So I would be happy to come up. Our third witness is Mr. Cox, J. David Cox, the national president of American Federation of Government Employees, whom we know well. Mr. Cox was first elected president of AFGE in August 2012 and was re-elected to a second 3-year term in August 2015. I have had many conversations with your group. I always find it fruitful, productive, and helpful. So I applaud you for that, and thank you all for being here today. I now recognize Mr. Dow for his opening statement. STATEMENT OF ROGER DOW, CEO, U.S. TRAVEL ASSOCIATION Mr. Dow. Thank you, Chairman Katko. Thanks to your son for what he is about to do. Ranking Member Watson Coleman, I am a Jersey boy. So I grew up in Jersey, so my heart is there, and good to be with you. Members of the committee, I thank you for allowing this testimony. I am talking on behalf of U.S. Travel, which represents the entire of the travel industry, which is $2.1 trillion of our economy and 15.1 million jobs, 1 in 9 jobs. Our mission is simple, to get more people traveling to the United States and within the United States. We have been driving the National discussion on aviation security and traveler security for a decade now and have worked with every one of the administrators, and look forward to working with the next administrator. We have a belief that greater security and increased travel are mutually compatible goals. I also believe that without security there is no travel, period. So this is why this is so important. Five years ago, we made a recommendation to the TSA of several points that we believed could take place. Last month, we issued an update of that report. I was pleased that the Chairman was with us as we rolled it out. Also with us was Member Keating. It was an event at Roll Call where we talked about items that I will get to that can really make a difference here. It is very important with a new Congress and the dawn of a new administration that we really make sure that we are doing the right thing for the safety of Americans. We are pleased to offer many policy recommendations here. We are going to suggest a new series of reforms that we think are very important to give the American people the best return on the investment that we are making in our country's security at the airports. We recognize TSA has a mission that is critical to detect and deter any threats, and the challenge that you mentioned, Mr. Chairman, of the 750 million people that go through airports every year. It is complex. It is expensive. It is extremely important. Recognize that TSA has made many good moves. But we think there is more that can be done. As you mentioned with the long lines and all that, there have been some perceived failures. There have been real failures, but also a perception that those lines could make it difficult to travel. We have done some research that shows that Americans would make two or three more trips if they felt they could get through an airport efficiently. But when they think there are big lines, they avoid the trip and they make a telephone call. It is not nearly as effective, as we know, as face-to-face. We know there are many challenges that the TSA has faced over the past 5 years. We think a lot of work remains. Some of the ideas that we put forward--I would like to work 15 recommendations. But I would like to focus on just a few of those in our report ``Transforming Security at Airports: An Update on Progress and the Future of Aviation Security.'' First is fee diversion, and you mentioned that. It is so important. What has basically happened is the fees went up by $1.6 million but the decision was made to keep the amount of money going to TSA at TSA, and that overflow would go to the general fund. We are strong believers that that one-third of fees should go to TSA and to improve TSA. Congress should stop diverting funds and put those fees toward staffing, technology, equipment, et cetera. The next way is the best way to really ensure this is trusted traveler programs. We all know that PreCheck and the Global Entry Program are very effective. But when it comes to those programs, I talk about the four P's. One is the process. We have got to get the ability to sign people up efficiently. I don't think we need to have two forms of ID. I can get on any plane, any airport, with one form of ID. We can do things like that to get people signed up. Promotion. If 10 million people signed up, it would be $850 million. In the private sector, if we had an opportunity to get these people signed up, we would put money toward promoting it and getting people to sign up. We would also look at price. When you look at price, if it is $85, to a businessman, that is not much. But if you take a company that signs up several thousand people, we should figure out a way to get a volume discount. For a family of 4, that is $340. So we should think about what we can do. Making it a priority is very important. Next area I want to focus on is innovative technology. We have got to not just talk about technology, but we have got to put it in place and spend the money to do so. Last place is empower the airports and the private sector to really help in SPP, which is basically the Secure Partnership Program, to really help bring more innovative ideas, better security. We are extremely interested in this. This committee is doing extraordinarily important work. As I say once again, without security there is no travel. Thank you. [The prepared statement of Mr. Dow follows:] Prepared Statement of Roger Dow February 2, 2017 Chairman Katko, Ranking Member Rice, and Members of the subcommittee, I am pleased to offer testimony on behalf of the U.S. Travel Association (U.S. Travel), the National non-profit organization representing all sectors of America's travel community. I've testified numerous times over the years on the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and ideas the travel community has on improving this vital security and facilitation part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The U.S. Travel Association has been driving the National discussion regarding aviation safety and travel security for more than a decade. Our advocacy is rooted in the belief that greater security and increased travel are mutually compatible goals. Based on this view, we commissioned a report 5 years ago offering recommendations for the TSA. Late last year, we issued an update of that report, and were pleased to have Chairman Katko and Subcommittee Member Keating participate in the roll-out of that report at a Roll Call event in November. Despite some challenges, TSA has improved its performance over the last 5 years, providing greater convenience to travelers while ensuring a high level of safety and security across the system. In particular, the TSA PreCheck trusted traveler program has been a major breakthrough in improving the travel experience. The leadership of the last two TSA administrators--John Pistole and Peter Neffenger--has been critical to the growth of this very popular and effective program. I'm pleased to report that our relationships with these two former administrators in particular was of tremendous benefit to the travelling public, and we look forward to similarly strong dealings with the Trump administration's nominee for TSA once that is decided. But no matter who the next nominee for TSA head is, he or she will find that much work remains. As we've looked back at our policy recommendations over the years, we've seen that some of the ideas our organization put forward in 2011 still need to be implemented fully; for others, work has not yet begun. For example, we continue to believe that funds raised from TSA fees should be used to improve transportation security, not be diverted to general revenues. The Screening Partnership Program (SPP) has not yet brought broad-based efficiency improvements and innovation to enough checkpoints across the country. And we have not yet harnessed the technology innovation of our country's leading security companies to bring a better checkpoint experience to all travelers. But the best opportunity to ensure security and get travelers through lines quickly is presented by effective trusted traveler programs such as TSA PreCheck. Efforts to continue that program's expansion--for which you, Chairman Katko, have been such an effective proponent--should focus on Four Ps: Process, promotion, price, and prioritization. We look forward to working with this committee, others in Congress, the new leadership team at TSA and DHS, our colleagues in the travel industry, and the traveling public to continue improving TSA so that it delivers what we all deserve--the highest possible levels of security and expanded travel facilitation. background In 2011, the U.S. Travel Association concluded a year-long expert- led project to formulate recommendations for travel-enhancing changes to the goals and performance of the TSA. Led by former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, Congressman Jim Turner, Sabre CEO Sam Gilliland, and American Airlines CEO Robert Crandall, this blue-ribbon panel issued a groundbreaking report, ``A Better Way,'' which made 14 recommendations for reforming TSA, based on the experience of security professionals, input from industry stakeholders, advice from privacy advocates, and surveys of travelers. Six years later, we now urge the new administration and the new Congress to place a renewed focus on refining and enhancing the operations of the TSA. Its mission to detect and deter security threats to the busiest aviation system in the world while facilitating the travel of nearly 750 million fliers per year is a complex, expensive, and extremely important undertaking. However, an effective TSA is crucial not only to our National security, but also to the U.S. economy. U.S. Travel surveys have demonstrated that the public travels less when the system is bogged down by excessive or unpredictable wait times, or TSA dysfunction and chaos. These real or perceived failures impose an immense cost on the American economy. Research found that travelers would take between two and three more trips per year if TSA hassles could be reduced without compromising security effectiveness-- and these additional trips would add $85 billion in spending and 888,000 more jobs to our economy. Unfortunately, the past 6 years for the TSA have been the most tumultuous political and budgetary environment in recent history, forcing the agency to regularly navigate a series of fiscal crises amid its usual operational challenges. Notably, the TSA suffered a major budgetary setback when the Murray-Ryan 2013 budget deal became law. This law mandated that TSA fee increases be diverted to the General Fund as part of a deficit reduction package, which U.S. Travel opposed. These fees should have been appropriately reinvested into enhancing security measures and creating a first-class travel experience. In addition, despite many efforts by this subcommittee, Congress has failed to reauthorize TSA since its original creation. This void creates confusion and dysfunction, because numerous Congressional committees have oversight of TSA and often provide inconsistent recommendations on how to balance security, privacy, and facilitation. The need to continually focus on TSA improvements was made obvious to all during the spring and early summer of 2016. Unacceptably long lines were commonplace at too many TSA checkpoints due to a combination of more travelers, reductions in TSA screening staff numbers, and the return of many travelers to the regular screening lanes after the sudden end of the arbitrary ``managed inclusion'' practice from the early days of TSA PreCheck. These lines were alleviated only through an emergency real location of funds, along with significant efforts by airlines and airports to assume non-essential tasks from TSA and invest private-sector funds into many checkpoints. The crisis demonstrated, however, that more structural changes are needed to help TSA succeed in its mission of strengthening security and facilitating travel. As we look at the beginning of a new Congressional session and the dawn of a new administration, U.S. Travel is pleased to offer policy recommendations on some of the most pressing issues facing our aviation security system, suggesting a new series of reforms that would further improve air travel in America, protect traveler privacy and dignity, and give the American people the best return on their investment of traveler fees and Government dollars. recommendations Redirect Airline Passenger Fees to Cover the Cost of and Improve TSA Screening Operations The 2013 budget deal (known as ``Murray-Ryan'') increased TSA fees from $2.50 per segment to $5.60, but used the increased Federal revenue as a general revenue measure, failing to provide the funds to TSA. Thus more than one-third of all airline passenger fees collected are being diverted from TSA aviation security screening to the General Fund until fiscal year 2025. As a result, travelers are paying considerably more in user fees but are not receiving the benefits of their fees in terms of better TSA performance, shorter lines, or better-trained screeners. This provision was included in the budget deal as one of many measures designed to meet revenue targets and avert additional worry about a Government shutdown or debt limit crisis. Changes to TSA ticket taxes had been proposed numerous times by the Bush and Obama administrations but were always rejected by Congress as an inappropriate additional tax on travelers. During this budget negotiation, however, the breadth of the budget package made it possible for negotiators to not only include ticket tax increases, but also to use the additional revenue as an offset for spending outside of DHS or TSA. Over the objection of the travel and aviation industries, the provision became law in early 2014, and became effective in July 2014. Comparing 2013 to 2015, travelers paid $1.6 billion more in fees-- $3.5 billion vs. $1.9 billion--for the exact same service. This diversion essentially requires travelers to fund aspects of Government completely unrelated to TSA's mission--anything from military bands to education funding to flood control. While we recognize the emergency nature of the Murray-Ryan deficit reduction package, Congress must reverse the on-going diversion. Revenue raised from aviation security fees should go toward securing travelers, not to deficit reduction. We support solutions to repeal the current requirement that a portion of aviation security service fees be credited as offsetting receipts and deposited into the General Fund of the Treasury. More broadly, we encourage Congress to ensure that security funding is used to improve all aspects of aviation security including, but not limited to, staffing, developing technologies and checkpoint and airport facility enhancements. Improve and Expand the TSA Pre-Check Trusted Traveler Program As urged in our 2011 report, TSA has implemented TSA PreCheck, a voluntary, Government-run trusted traveler program that utilizes a risk-based approach to checkpoint screening. The goal of TSA PreCheck is to refocus resources on the higher-risk passengers and expedite screening of low-risk, pre-vetted travelers. This program is one of the most popular programs across all of Government, and one of the most celebrated initiatives ever launched by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The current TSA PreCheck program allows travelers to apply for program participation and, if eligible, receive expedited screening through designated lanes at participating airports. Individuals who apply pay $85 to receive the expedited screening benefit for 5 years. As part of the application, individuals have a fingerprint-based background check conducted by the FBI. As of early 2017, more than 4 million travelers are enrolled in TSA PreCheck and more than 3.7 million are enrolled in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) Global Entry program, which also provides participants with PreCheck benefits. TSA is working on providing additional enrollment mechanisms and more fully integrating these marketing and enrollment mechanisms for all trusted travel programs--not just TSA PreCheck. The program, while generally successful, needs important reforms to increase participation, particularly making enrollment more convenient without sacrificing security. Reduce the Cost of TSA PreCheck for Families and Corporate Groups Currently, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has required TSA to charge a standard enrollment fee (currently $85 for 5 years) for all TSA PreCheck applicants. This one-size-fits-all approach has hindered efforts to enroll large classes of individuals that would benefit TSA and more than pay for the cost of their enrollment. Thus, a parent who is handling enrollment for 3 young children is treated the same as 4 distinct enrollments. A corporate travel manager who is handling enrollment for perhaps thousands of employees pays the same fee per employee, ignoring obvious economies of scale. For families, the math is important. While younger children (12 and under) are allowed to join a parent in the TSA PreCheck lane, older children cannot. The one-time cost of enrolling a family of 5 may be a significant factor for many families and deter enrollment. We encourage TSA and its partners at OMB to reconsider fee rules for children, offer volume discounts, and explore a subscription model for fees that would be paid on an annual basis, not 5 years at a time. In terms of companies, Microsoft last year announced it would reimburse employees for both TSA PreCheck and Global Entry. The company hosted a mobile enrollment event for 800 employees as a first step to potentially enrolling up to 5,000 employees. This decision came after then-DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson and then-Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker wrote to 100 large U.S. companies requesting assistance in marketing and promoting TSA PreCheck. The fact that more companies have not followed Microsoft's lead may be because the up-front cost of an $85 enrollment fee, multiplied by hundreds or thousands of employees, is a measurable and significant cost, with harder-to-measure returns. Providing quantity discounts to corporate travel managers, especially those who supply applicants to TSA for on-site enrollment, may create more corporate interest. Annual payment plans would also spread the cost out and ease concerns for cost-conscious managers. Offer Vetted Populations for TSA PreCheck Expansion Various proposals have been suggested to allow those individuals who have passed a security review automatic access to TSA PreCheck, including security clearance holders and Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) card-holders. Millions of Americans have gone through elaborate and regularly recurring background checks deemed sufficient to provide them access to Classified information, weapon systems, or sensitive transportation facilities and conveyances. However, other than expansion to active military members, TSA has been very slow to leverage Government security reviews for its own purposes. As one particularly egregious example, an airport worker allowed access to secure areas of an airport and aircraft in the morning is not entitled to use the TSA PreCheck line if he or she is flying out of the same airport later in the day. We recognize that issuance of a clearance does not mean an individual poses no risk. However, many of the categories listed above go through a more elaborate background check than TSA PreCheck requires. In an era where we expect that Government will coordinate programs and not allow information to exist in silos, TSA should make prompt decisions about expansion of the TSA PreCheck program to these or other applicable populations. Leverage REAL ID Compliance for TSA PreCheck Enrollment The two-document requirement for TSA PreCheck applications is a major deterrent to travelers who would otherwise start an enrollment application spur-of-the-moment (i.e., with time to spend in an airport). Currently, individuals who want to apply for TSA PreCheck, but who do not have a passport (or one of six other forms of identity/ citizenship) must instead present two forms of identity documents-- generally, an unexpired driver's license and a U.S. birth certificate. These identification requirements were set by law, and have not changed over time. Obviously, most individuals rarely carry around their birth certificates or passports, and thus, spontaneous enrollment in TSA PreCheck is unlikely. In 2005, Congress passed, and the President signed the REAL ID Act, which set new security requirements for driver's licenses. After numerous delays, implementation of the law will occur in two phases, with one phase beginning in January 2018, and the second phase in October 2020. During the first phase, individuals who want to board a commercial aircraft will have to show a REAL ID-compliant credential at the TSA security checkpoint. REAL ID documents are secure under Federal standards and will become more commonplace over the next couple of years. Since the two- document requirement unnecessarily burdens individuals who want to spontaneously apply for the program, we recommend that Congress direct DHS to allow an applicant with a REAL ID-compliant driver's license to fulfill the document requirement with that form of identification alone. Clarify the Role of Third-Party Vendors Currently, TSA PreCheck facilitates the movement of travelers through designated lanes at airports. Additionally, CLEAR, a company that uses biometric scanning technology to help customers speed through security by using fingerprints and iris images to confirm identity, operates at a limited number of airports. CLEAR lanes are available at 16 airports, and speed the movement of the program's members through security checkpoints. CLEAR members who have TSA PreCheck simply verify their identity at a CLEAR lane and are then taken to the designated TSA PreCheck lane to be physically inspected. In the near future, we may see additional number of third-party prescreening vendors providing TSA PreCheck enrollment services to TSA. With the proliferation of travel facilitation products in the marketplace, it is important that the roles of each vendor, the benefits of their products and the regulatory structure they operate under are clearly understood by the public, airports, and airlines. While enlisting third-party prescreening companies to sign individuals up for the program has not worked out as an approach to date, TSA should find ways to make enrollment more convenient and more accessible for passengers. As the agency's Unified Enrollment contract (which TSA uses for its PreCheck enrollment) expires later this year, TSA should look for ways to improve our 4 Ps of PreCheck improvement: Process, promotion, price, and prioritization. Empower Airports and the Private Sector to Innovate and Improve Security The years-long political fight over allowing airports the option to utilize privatized airport screening under TSA supervision has been a disappointing development. While the current TSA Security Partnership Program (SPP) has proven popular among the limited number of airports that participate, TSA has made it very difficult for airports to make a business case for shifting into the SPP. As we wrote in our original TSA report in 2011, current law provides only limited flexibility for airports to utilize different methods of screening passengers and bags--therefore, the variations between ``Federal'' and ``privatized'' screening workforces are not sufficient to merit consideration of another option. Congress should overhaul the SPP so that it becomes a viable, flexible, and innovative option for helping airports deploy more efficient, effective security solutions tailored to their specific requirements. We believe that the legal authorities regulating the SPP should be amended to provide airports with greater flexibility to propose alternate screening programs and vendors to TSA for their review and approval. This could include different approaches to equipment procurement, checkpoint configuration, workforce scheduling, use of canines, and other screening requirements. In addition, TSA must be much more willing to work with interested airports on their SPP options, focusing more on oversight of security effectiveness than on micromanaging airport decisionmaking about security workforces. TSA should set the security requirements and allow airports to meet them in the way they deem appropriate for their particular environment. In this model, TSA would also be responsible for auditing performance against those requirements. Annually Test Vulnerabilities and Weaknesses to Improve Perimeter Security of U.S. Airports. In May 2016, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommended that TSA update the risk assessment of airport security to reflect changes to its risk environment and share results of this risk assessment with stakeholders on an ongoing basis. According to the report, since 2009, TSA has conducted perimeter security assessments at only 19 percent of commercial airports. The risk to aircraft does not solely come from passengers. Security experts have been increasingly worried about insider and perimeter threats, especially in light of the recent shooting at Fort Lauderdale International Airport and attacks at foreign airports. The 2016 GAO report notes that while TSA has made some progress in assessing airport perimeter and access control security risks, including developing its own Comprehensive Risk Assessment of Perimeter and Access Control Security in 2013, it has not updated this 2013 assessment to reflect the current potential for insider threats. TSA needs to update this risk assessment to better focus limited resources on the most severe risks to airport security. TSA's Joint Vulnerability Assessment (JVA) process, which it conducts with the FBI, has only been conducted at 81 (about 19 percent) of the 437 commercial airports in the United States due to resource constraints. GAO recommended, and we concur, that TSA should develop and implement a method for conducting a system-wide assessment of airport vulnerability that will provide a more comprehensive understanding of security vulnerabilities in airport perimeter and access control. Perimeter security assessment at only 19 percent of commercial airports is not acceptable. While we recognize that resources are not unlimited, we do not believe constraining this program is in the best interest of National security, the airports or the traveling public. Improve Preparation of Travelers and Encourage Wider Use of Secure ID Documents While the public's general understanding of how TSA checkpoints work has improved, TSA officers still encounter far too many travelers who attempt to bring inappropriate and disallowed items through the checkpoint, or are confused by the rules for removing their personal items. For example, in 2015, TSA detected more than 2,600 firearms at airport checkpoints, and the amount of firearm detections continues to escalate. TSA typically releases ``travel tips'' around busy travel periods such as holidays and spring breaks, noting that travelers who fail to properly follow standards for liquids and weapons ``cause delays for themselves and everyone behind them.'' Travel industry stakeholders should work with TSA to improve its education and communication efforts about security rules and regulations, targeting locations and sources that travelers are likely to review as they book or prepare for their trip. The reduction in use of the ``managed inclusion'' program means that travelers either clear checkpoints under TSA PreCheck rules if they are enrolled, or under the rules for the general public--no exceptions. While airlines and travel agencies normally provide TSA- related guidance somewhere on their websites, giving specific TSA screening instructions during the flight check-in process would be more useful to travelers. There is no reason for travelers to arrive at a TSA checkpoint unclear of what to do with their electronics, belts, jackets, shoes, and liquids as they go through security. Additionally, families should be able to know in advance how the checkpoint will handle a mixture of adults and children. Meanwhile, the percentage of Americans traveling with secure travel documents continues to climb thanks to record issuance of passports, increased REAL ID compliance, and growth in trusted traveler programs. However, the current standoff between non-compliant States and DHS over the agency's planned enforcement of REAL ID document standards potentially means that tens of millions of Americans will not be allowed to use their State-issued driver's licenses as a primary form of identity at airport checkpoints beginning in 2018. As of early 2017, only 25 States and the District of Columbia were fully compliant with REAL ID, and several large States have repeatedly refused to enact compliance legislation. Education targeting these travelers on the new rules has begun late in 2016, far in advance of the January 22, 2018 deadline, so that citizens of these States know that they may need to obtain alternate identification when traveling. More broadly, we urge Federal and State governments to embrace programs that build and deploy secure identification documents in order to provide the traveling public with higher-quality identity documents that meet Government security standards. Improve the Checkpoint Experience We encourage stakeholders to make the TSA process less stressful by collaborating on ways to occupy travelers' time and minds with interesting content such as informational videos, updates on flights and security processing times, and information about eating and shopping options after the checkpoint. This recommendation requires a partnership at the local level, between TSA and airports and airlines servicing the airport. Private-sector players such as theme parks and hotels have long recognized that the time waiting in line can be less frustrating and more helpful when guests are occupied with interesting content while in a queue. We recommend that checkpoints not only feature informational videos prepared by DHS about threat levels and programs like ``See Something, Say Something,'' but also display updates about flight departures, gate changes, and eating and retail opportunities after security. Airports may also find value in providing information about new flight routes, amenities, transit options, and the like. The time travelers spend waiting at the checkpoint may also present a marketing opportunity for TSA PreCheck. And if TSA PreCheck opportunities are available post-checkpoint, they should be advertised as well. In short, there is no reason to make the time waiting in a TSA line a boring, frustrating process. Providing a traveler with information relevant to his or her flight or future travel options will make the wait more manageable and take advantage of a captive audience. Develop a Strategic Technology Planning Capability While TSA produces a 5-year technology plan every 2 years, it does not use that plan when building budgets or funding deployment of the most advanced technology possible. Akin to the Department of Defense, TSA's budget submissions should aim to implement multi-year strategic planning priorities, particularly related to checkpoint technologies. These plans should take advantage of technology advances developed elsewhere inside DHS via robust information sharing across agencies and offices. TSA is implementing a new procurement strategy consistent with legislation successfully backed by U.S. Travel. To date, two 5-year procurement plans have been developed by the agency, approved by the OMB and released to stakeholders. They have included an appropriate level of detail on what TSA envisions deploying and when the agency plans to do so. In 2014, Congress passed, and the President signed H.R. 2719, the Transportation Security Acquisition Reform Act. A core part of this measure requires the TSA to annually produce a projection of its technology needs over the next 5 years. This requirement emerged due to years of strained relationships between technology vendors and TSA. Vendors complained that TSA's failure to produce a technology roadmap made it difficult for companies to create investment plans, while TSA argued that its technology needs have changed quickly, and a detailed forecast would become outdated too quickly to be useful. While the requirement to create a 5-year plan has been helpful in enabling all stakeholders to better understand how TSA views technology's ability to manage risk, the agency has not built and followed acquisition strategies designed to field the technology in the plans. As a result, the five-year planning process is just an exercise on paper that has meant little in terms of deploying technology in the commercial aviation sphere. In order to make this a truly effective process that improves security and the experience of commercial aviation passengers, TSA should, like the Department of Defense, include implementing plans, acquisition strategies and sufficient budgets in its 5-year plans. Until the link between plans, acquisition, and budget is effectively made, this 5-year planning effort will be of little value to TSA or its stakeholders. Additionally, to be as effective as possible, this plan should draw from resources across DHS that are trying to solve security problems similar to TSA. The DHS Science and Technology Directorate and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for example, have reviewed inspection and detection technologies that should be assessed to determine if they might assist TSA as it implements its transportation security mission. Deploy Modern Staffing Solutions Domestic and international travel are key drivers of the U.S. economy, supporting over 15 million jobs, $2.1 trillion in economic output and $231 billion in wages. It is expected that domestic and international travel will continue to increase in 2017. This growth is positive for the U.S. economy and job creation as a whole, but these increases and persistent funding fluctuations are straining TSA's current staffing resources. It is imperative for TSA to continually strive to develop and deploy strategies that will optimize its current workforce. For TSA to most effectively manage its workforce, the agency should provide its airport Federal Security Directors (FSD) the ability to utilize world-class staffing management tool and technologies, including staffing software. It is imperative that staffing and technology solutions be managed under the FSD's authority and coordinated with the local airport. Given these factors, the efficiency of the TSA workforce must be constantly evaluated. Staffing airports with the right number of full- and part-time workers is a complicated responsibility, taking into account leave, vacation, union rules, management of the overtime budget, and training. Regardless of whether the TSA has the appropriate number of Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) or is understaffed, it is imperative that the TSA be able to fully optimize the efficiency and effectiveness of its current workforce. This approach will have the added benefit of reducing staff turnover, overtime, training costs, and traveler complaints. To accomplish this goal, the agency should utilize world-class staffing management tools and technologies, including staffing software that exists in the market today. Deploying available technologies that continuously collect and aggregate real-time data from numerous sources including airlines, airports, and third-party providers will lead to more accurate predictions of staffing needs at airports. This will allow for the creation of a strategic short- and long-term staffing matrix that will enhance TSA's ability to predict and incorporate the complexities of scheduling a large and dynamic workforce. Undertaking a technology assessment to identify enhancements and close any technology gaps will further the goal of TSA's management at the National and local level to remove pressure from the front-line workforce, so it can focus on security while creating a scheduling system that provides flexibility to local airports. This would help keep travelers secure, but also create a memorable customer experience, which would be a win for the traveling public and the TSA. Further Utilize Canine Screening Units The National Explosives Detection Canine Team Program (NEDCTP) was transferred to TSA in 2002, after its establishment as the Federal Aviation Administration's Explosives Detection Canine Program in 1972. TSA's NEDCTP utilizes Passenger Screening Canine (PSC) teams to deter and detect explosives within airports and other transportation systems across the Nation. The agency currently deploys 997 canines, 322 of which are led by TSA handlers, with the remaining 675 utilized by local law enforcement in transportation environments, including airports. Approximately one-half of TSA's 322 teams are already certified, and 10 teams are operational in passenger screening. TSA currently uses two types of canines to support airport security operations--the traditional ``approach and sniff'' type (called Explosive Detection Canines) and ``vapor wake method'' PSC dogs trained specifically for use in the checkpoint area, while also being able to perform the more traditional explosive detection missions. In a June 2016 hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, then-TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger emphasized the importance of PSC, noting that the program increases efficiency in the passenger screening process, often with greater accuracy than conventional methods. As a result, TSA shifted PSC teams to the 20 largest airports in the United States, to maximize detection capability in an effort to mitigate long wait times outside of secure areas. TSA has been retraining cargo canines for passenger screening, and the remaining multi-modal teams will be trained for passenger screening operations in 2017. TSA should continue to increase funding for the PSC program to bring this capability to a larger number of Category X and Category 1 airports. At the same time, we encourage TSA to better engage local law enforcement so that resolution protocols (i.e., operating procedures employed when a PSC detect explosives) can be adopted, which is critical to program expansion. Focus TSA Screening on Bags from International Arrivals Not Screened to TSA Standards The requirement that TSA rescreen luggage that has safely arrived in the United States on an inbound international flight has long been the bane of travelers forced to reclaim, manage, and recheck their bags during a flight connection. TSA has agreed to end the rescreening requirement for bags arriving from Canada. We recommend that TSA negotiate agreements with the United Kingdom and European Union based on the Canadian initiative. The rescreening issue remains a major problem for inbound flights from all other countries in the world. The policy requires TSA and airlines to expend immense resources in order to rescreen such checked luggage. The policy was predicated on the concept that TSA should only recognize screening at a foreign airport if it used the same high standards imposed on the U.S. aviation process. In 2011, as part of the U.S.-Canadian ``Beyond the Border'' initiative, the countries agreed that inbound bags from Canadian flights would not need to be rescreened once Canadian airports utilized TSA-approved explosive detection equipment. We understand that by the end of 2016, all Canadian airports with flights to the United States will meet this standard, and TSA will end the rescreening requirement for bags associated with connecting flights in the United States. In late 2016, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority installed explosive detection systems that fully meet TSA baggage screening requirements. The technology will be fully operational by mid-2017 at all 8 Canadian preclearance facilities and thus eliminates the need for baggage rescreening on connecting U.S. flights. While TSA has improved its scrutiny of foreign airport screening, a wholesale end to rescreening is not likely. We recommend that TSA negotiate agreements with the United Kingdom and European Union based on the Canadian initiative. We understand that productive discussions on issues such as screening of liquids have been held, but also recognize that recent events in Europe require that our mutual confidence levels in detection programs be high. This initiative should be a top priority as part of broader border and aviation security discussions. For U.S. Travel, nothing matters more than the safety of our Nation and travelers. We appreciate your holding this hearing to explore ways to make TSA more efficient and effective both from a security and facilitation perspective. Again, thank you Chairman Katko, Ranking Member Rice, and all Members of the subcommittee for inviting me to testify today. I look forward to answering your questions. Mr. Katko. Thank you very much. I appreciate your testimony. I have many questions to ask you when the time comes, but I appreciate that. Now, I now recognize Ms. Nina Brooks for her testimony. STATEMENT OF NINA E. BROOKS, HEAD OF SECURITY, AIRPORTS COUNCIL INTERNATIONAL Ms. Brooks. Thank you. Chairman Katko, Ranking Member Watson Coleman, and Members of the subcommittee, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to provide a perspective from the Airports Council International, the global trade representative of the world's airports on the advancements in airport security, screening practices, and in particular, the Smart Security project. Recognizing the challenges of growing passenger numbers, continuously evolving security threats and limited resources, ACI and our airline partners at the International Air Transport Association joined forces in 2013 to define a future for passenger and cabin baggage screening where passengers proceed through security with minimal inconvenience, where security resources that got allocated based on risk, and where airport facilities are optimized. Today this vision is being widely recognized throughout the world by airports, airlines, and regulators. An increasing number of airports around the world are implementing measures and processes recommended by the Smart Security Program. The objectives of the program are threefold. First, to deliver strengthened security through a focus on risk, better use of existing technologies, and the introduction of advanced detection capabilities. Second, to increase the operational efficiency of the checkpoints, including faster throughputs, better use of equipment, reduced cost per passenger, and the best use of space and staff. Finally, to improve passenger and staff experience through a reduction in queues and waiting times, reduce manual handling, and better use of technology for less intrusive and less time-consuming security screening. Although focused on the screening checkpoints, Smart Security also benefits the security as an airport as a whole, particularly through the reduction in queues and crowds in public areas. The Smart Security Program is structured through trial of tests and information sharing. Airports, regulators, and airlines have worked together to test different technologies and processes, and have shared their findings with the project team in order to produce a set of best practices or guidance material. This, in turn, is shared with the wider community so that all can benefit from the experience of participants in the project. There is no one solution for all airports. Instead, the project has identified a number of components that can be implemented depending on the regulatory requirements, the needs, facilities, and the risk profile of the airports. For this reason, there is not one smart checkpoint that can be used as an exact model, rather a menu of options that can be combined to meet requirements. Smart Security has demonstrated significant improvements in operational efficiency, passenger satisfaction, and security valuing. To give you some examples, some of the components deployed include centralized image processing or remote screening to enable X-ray machines to be networked and images viewed away from the checkpoint location or across lanes. Trials have demonstrated significant efficiency improvements. Some airports have seen increases in image throughput as well as reductions in total passenger processing times by an average of 30 seconds per passenger. Checkpoint environments and management enhancements include greater automation, for example, tray handling systems, resource optimization such as parallel divesting, and automated checkpoint performance monitoring solutions. Using these, some airports have reported a flow increase of up to 20 percent. Some airports have implemented a completely new look and feel at checkpoints, such as Amsterdam's Schiphol, which is designed to provide a calmer, more passenger-friendly environment for travelers to divest and then be reunited with their possessions. This reimagined checkpoint benefits the passenger experience, but also aids the detection of suspicious behavior. Using full-body scanners for passenger screening is also demonstrated to provide effective security while improving the passenger experience and reducing the need for full manual searches. Airports that have taken part in trials include Amsterdam's Schiphol, Dublin, Doha, Melbourne, London Heathrow, Gatwick, and Manchester, and many others. Many have implemented components--for example, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority has installed new automated lanes in Montreal and Calgary. Automated lanes are beginning to be deployed here in the United States using many of the same principles recommended by Smart Security, such as lane automation, parallel divesting, and tray return systems. Looking forward, the focus for the coming year will be on technology such as computer tomography, advances in stand-off trace detection, queue management, passenger tracking, identity management, and differentiated screening according to risk. Some of the key enablers of Smart Security have been the outcome-focused regulation, flexibility in checkpoint design and configuration, understanding that not all airports and risk profiles are the same, adequate funding for staffing, screening technology, and research and development, along with efficient processes for testing and evaluation of new technologies. In the United States, we have been working with TSA toward sharing of information, from the implementation of automated screening lanes at Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which implement a number of these Smart Security best practices. We have also had some very constructive discussions with the TSA's Innovation Task Force. We believe that there is a great deal of opportunity here in the United States to benefit from the lessons learned by Smart Security and vice versa, and we look forward to working further with TSA and more U.S. airports. I would like to thank you for this opportunity to testify, and I look forward to your questions. [The prepared statement of Ms. Brooks follows:] Prepared Statement of Nina E. Brooks February 2, 2017 Airports Council International--the global trade representative of the world's airports--is pleased to submit this testimony on global advancements in airport security screening practices, in particular the ``Smart Security'' Program. smart security vision and objectives Recognizing the challenges of growing passenger numbers, continuously evolving threats, and limited resources, ACI and our airline partners at the International Air Transport Association joined forces in 2013 to define a future for passenger and cabin baggage screening where passengers proceed through security with minimal inconvenience, where security resources are allocated based on risk, and where airport facilities are optimized. Today, this vision has been widely recognized throughout the world by airports, airlines, and regulators. An increasing number of airports around the world are implementing measures and processes recommended by the Smart Security program. The objectives of the program are three-fold. First, to deliver strengthened security through a focus on risk, increased unpredictability, better use of existing technologies, and the introduction of advanced detection capabilities. Second to increase operational efficiency including faster throughput, better use of equipment, reduced cost per passenger, and best use of space and staff. And finally, to improve passenger and staff experience through reduction in queues and waiting times, reduced manual handling and better use of technology for less intrusive and less time-consuming security screening. Although focused on the screening checkpoint, Smart Security also benefits the security at an airport as a whole, particularly through the reduction of large crowds in public areas. The Smart Security program is structured through trials, tests, and information sharing. Airports, regulators, and airlines have worked together to test different technologies and processes and have shared their findings with the project team, in order to produce a set of best practices or guidance material. This, in turn, is shared with the wider community so that all can benefit from the experience of participants in the project. There is no one solution for all airports. Instead, the project has identified a number of ``components'' that can be implemented, depending on the regulatory requirement, and the needs, facilities, and risk profile of the airport. For this reason there is not one ``Smart Checkpoint'' that can be used as an exact model, rather a menu of options that can be combined to meet requirements. Smart Security has demonstrated significant improvements in operational efficiency, passenger satisfaction, and security value. Components deployed include Centralized image processing--or remote screening--to enable X-ray machines to be networked, and images viewed away from the checkpoint location or across lanes. Trials have demonstrated significant efficiency improvements, especially when combined with other concepts. Most notably, airports have seen increases in image throughput and as well as reductions in total passenger processing times by an average of 30 seconds per passenger at some airports. Checkpoint environment and management enhancements include greater automation (e.g. tray handling systems), resource optimization (such as parallel divesting) and automated checkpoint performance monitoring solutions. Some airports have reported a flow increase of up to 20%. Some airports have implemented a completely new look and feel at checkpoints, such as Amsterdam Schiphol, which is designed to provide a calmer, more passenger friendly environment for travelers to divest and reunite with their possessions. This reimagined checkpoint benefits the passenger experience and aids the detection of suspicious behavior. Using full-body scanners as a primary or secondary measure for passenger screening also has been demonstrated to provide effective security while improving passenger experience and reducing the need for full manual searches. Smart Security pilots have demonstrated that an airport using a WTMD and a security scanner as a secondary screening device can facilitate over 400 passengers per hour per lane. Airports that have taken part in trials and research include Amsterdam Schiphol, Dublin, Doha, Melbourne, London-Heathrow, Gatwick, and Manchester. Many others have implemented components; for example the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority has installed new automated lanes at Montreal and Calgary, and automated lanes are beginning to be deployed here in the United States, using many of the same principles recommended by Smart Security such as lane automation, parallel divesting stations, and tray return systems. Turning to governance, the project is steered by a group of international partners made up from regulators, airports, and airlines. This means that all interests are taken into account and there is a high degree of cooperation between all parties that need to buy-in to a trial or implementation. Both TSA and CATSA are members of the steering group, along with the U.K. and Dutch governments. The key to success has been collaboration and openness, with a view to improving the whole aviation security system. results Quantifying results has been achieved through proof-of-concept implementations in close collaboration with early adopters, and uses a set of very specific performance measures to evaluate the impact. security effectiveness The threat detection capability and the robustness of a security system can be measured through observation, covert testing, security officer performance data, and the evolution in the number and type of items detected/confiscated, etc. Screening equipment is tested and certified against specific threat detection standards. Other key performance indicators, such as the deterrence factor, the level of adaptability, and the application of an outcome focused risk-based framework requires qualitative appraisal by State agencies. The key role of measuring security effectiveness is reserved for the Government regulators and agencies represented on the Smart Security Management Group (SSMG), which currently include the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the New Zealand Aviation Security Service, the UK Department for Transport (DfT), and the Dutch National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism (NCTV). While the project team focuses on the operational performance and passenger experience implications of Smart Security solutions in the various tests, trials, and proof-of-concept implementations, regulators and government agencies need to ascertain that these solutions are in line with their expected security outcomes. However, there are strong qualitative arguments to support the notion that the solutions promoted by Smart Security are a step up from the conventional security checkpoint that relies on walk-through metal detectors (WTMD) and conventional X-ray equipment.
Security scanners address metallic and non-metallic threats in a single process. Multi-view X-ray equipment, which is increasingly prevalent, provides the operator with more information by showing multiple viewing angles of the same bag or tray. Next generation X-ray systems that are currently in operational testing stage, further improve on this by displaying the image in a 3- dimensional projection that can be rotated freely to allow the operator to see around objects; this can be complemented with software capabilities like virtual separation of objects, allowing the operator for instance to virtually ``remove'' a laptop from the image and to inspect the bag and the laptop separately in a 3D view. Explosive Trace Detection (ETD) further augments explosives detection on passengers and cabin baggage. Auto Clear (automatic clearance of low-clutter images) and Auto Reject (automatic rejection of high-clutter images) algorithms do not directly add to the threat detection capability of the system, but will allow the officer to dedicate more attention to those images where human intelligence provides added value. Automated threat detection systems such as Explosive Detection Systems (EDS) will further augment the officers' threat detection capability. There is general consensus among security experts that the unpredictable approaches that Smart Security promotes would contribute to the deterrence factor. operational efficiency This arguably is the area where most progress has been made to date. Very significant improvements in operational efficiency have been achieved through a combination of the following components: Centralized Image Processing (CIP) or remote screening is by far the biggest game-changer we have seen in recent years. It allows for networking of cabin baggage screening equipment so that the images can be reviewed and analyzed by an officer without the need to be physically located next to the equipment. This also opens the door for further optimization, for instance by assessing images from passenger, crew, and staff checkpoints in a single control room, or by centralizing across terminals or even across airports in a long- distance scenario. While CIP has the ability to dramatically increase X-ray image processing capacity, the benefits will be even more substantial when it is combined with optimized lane configuration and automation, starting with innovative divest solutions to maximize the in-feed and reduce X- ray starvation, such as a parallel loading system, which has the added benefit of allowing passengers to overtake one another in the process, reducing the stress factor as passengers can take their time to unpack without holding up the queue. An optimized CIP lane will also require further automation, such as the use of tray handling systems and an automated diverter to ensure that bags/trays that are selected for secondary search are duly separated in the process without the need for human intervention. Furthermore, these lanes will have to be equipped with secondary screening workstations, allowing the secondary search officer to precisely identify what caused the bag to be rejected by the remote X- ray operator. It has also been demonstrated that, in most scenarios, security scanners can be deployed as primary screening device while keeping pace with the optimized CIP lanes; where higher throughput is required or where other factors come into play, they can be deployed as a secondary screening method. The most common way of expressing operational efficiency is by measuring sustainable throughput (i.e. with a continuous in-feed, the throughput rate that can be sustained for an extended period of time). This is typically measured in terms of passengers per hour per lane (i.e per X-ray). A conventional security lane (typically about 10 to 12 meters long, with walk-through metal detector and conventional X-ray equipment), will typically reach sustainable throughput of 150 passengers per hour--and often much less. A state-of-the-art Smart Security lane (typically about 20 meters long, with security scanner, lane automation, parallel processing of passengers, and centralized image processing) has been demonstrated to achieve sustainable throughput of well above 200 passengers per hour where the security scanner is used as primary screening measure (e.g. Schiphol), and even in excess of 400 passengers per hour where the security scanner is used as secondary screening measure (e.g. Gatwick). While these lanes come at a higher cost (mainly due to equipment cost and staffing requirements), the cost per passenger actually remains stable or may even come down, while at the same time delivering passenger experience and security effectiveness benefits. A key element of realizing full operational benefit is for any given airport to test different configuration of equipment and staffing to find the optimal solution for their environment. For example, by varying the time-out value on an X-ray, efficiencies may be gained in processing time. Likewise, providing different numbers of divest stations may be suitable for different passenger demographics. passenger experience It has been demonstrated that Smart Security solutions have a beneficial impact on passenger experience. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, implemented all Smart Security wave 1 solutions with special attention to the customer service aspect, and was also the first Smart Security global showcase. After they went live with their first re-imagined security checkpoint in June 2014, passenger satisfaction scores for security increased from 61% to 83%\1\. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \1\ Based on ASQ scores for security. ASQ is ACI's Airport Service Quality, the leading and globally established benchmarking program measuring passengers' satisfaction whilst they are travelling through an airport. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Queues and waiting times have consistently been identified by passengers as the most frustrating element of the security experience (source: IATA Global Passenger Survey). This is where passenger experience is closely linked with operational efficiency: As Smart Security solutions have been demonstrated to have the potential to significantly increase throughput (see below), they provide screening authorities at least theoretically with the capacity to process more passengers during peak times and thus reduce queues and waiting times-- as demonstrated at Schiphol and other airports. Where security screening is privatized (as in many European countries) and airports thus have more control over and are directly responsible for funding the screening processes and technologies used, airports have increasingly reported a link between reduced waiting times in security and increased customer spending on airside, further strengthening the case for investment in security processes. Where security screening is in the hands of a central screening authority (as is for instance the case in North America), we see that there is significant political pressure to balance cost efficiency with passenger experience and reasonable waiting times. In some states (United Kingdom for instance), waiting times at security checkpoints are regulated and there are steep penalties associated with not meeting mandated service levels. Intrusiveness of security measures is another key driver of passenger dissatisfaction at security checkpoints. This is associated with security measures that are inherently uncomfortable, such as full- body pat-downs. Security scanners and Explosive Trace Detection (ETD), which are key components of the first wave of Smart Security solutions, offer the possibility to screen passenger effectively for threats while minimizing the number of full-body pat-downs. Experience at early adopter airports has shown that passengers generally respond very well to the current technology--especially now that security scanners better respect the privacy of passengers thanks to the anonymized format of images and automatic target recognition. The need to disrobe (outerwear, shoes, belt) and divest (liquids, electronics) is a further element that influences the passenger experience. The second wave of Smart Security solutions, currently being trialled, including next generation X-ray equipment and computed tomography systems that will effectively enable more items such as laptops and liquids to be left in passengers' bags during the screening process, and other technology innovations such as a new generation of shoe scanners and improved security scanner algorithms that will reduce the need to disrobe. The checkpoint environment also has an important impact, including considerations such as noise, light, space, and other design elements. A customer service approach to security screening from staff also benefits passenger experience. A subjective feeling of safety and security, especially in the current environment of increased concerns about terrorist activity-- particularly in public areas--is an equally important element of the passenger experience. While security measures should be efficient and as non-intrusive as possible, they should also be visible and make sense to passengers, who will be more comfortable with a robust security screening system rather than a lax one. Consistency of process, i.e. the overall passenger's perception of the process being predictable despite the fact that the screening itself may be unpredictable in order to improve security outcomes, will help to reduce the level of passenger frustration. This is closely related to the preparation process and the need to disrobe and divest-- why does one need to remove shoes and belts in one State or airport but not in another, for instance? While this is mainly illustrative of the need for the development of commensurate international security standards, Smart Security plays a role in demonstrating that effective and efficient technology solutions are available that will simplify the preparation process by reducing the need to disrobe and divest. business case and funding The cost of implementing Smart Security components varies widely depending on the combination of features implemented, the cost of equipment and staff in a particular country, the competitive market for such certified equipment and the configuration required. Although there is clearly a capital outlay, the benefits can be significant. Increase in throughput will usually come at a cost--i.e. the lane may require additional staff, more expensive equipment, and/or more space in order to reach these higher throughput rates. Optimal use of staffing resources, optimal asset utilization, and optimal use and availability of space are factored into the cost case. Cost per passenger is therefore the most useful measure; the increase in throughput needs to be higher than or equal to the increase in cost that is required to achieve it. Funding for checkpoints varies widely across the globe, depending on whether an airport or a Federal agency is responsible for the delivery of security. Generally, passenger security charges or fees are used to invest in security improvements including checkpoint upgrade. The provision of well-trained, highly-motivated staff is also critical to success, and throughput results will not be achieved without sufficient staffing. Smart Security enables security professionals to focus on detection, and takes away many of the manual processes such as physically moving trays back and forth at the checkpoint. This frees up resources to enable more officers to work on examining X-ray images and facilitating secondary search and passenger screening. Models for the provision of security staff vary around the world; for example in Europe, the majority of screening services are delivered by airport staff or contractors, with strong oversight by the regulator. This enables greater freedom for an airport to implement new technologies and innovative practices, provided that security outcomes are maintained. uptake It is not possible to quantify how many airports have implemented ``Smart Security'', as there is no one solution that can be categorized as such. However, taking an individual component, we estimate that in excess of 100 of the world's major airports have implemented some form of automated lane so far. The project has also delivered close to 30 individual assessments at airports, to help airports identify the best smart security components for their needs, with an estimated uptake of 45% so far. The project will continue to deliver regional workshops in 2017 to encourage the implementation of this first phase of innovation. future plans Looking forward, the focus for the coming year will be on technologies such as computed tomography, advances in stand-off trace detection, queue management, passenger tracking, identity management, and differentiated screening according to risk. The project is always seeking innovative solutions and plans an innovation event to identify new ideas. For each of the Smart Security components, additional work and research continue to be carried out or have been identified to be completed in the following areas. Passenger screening The core performance of full-body scanners is improving, and technology is rapidly evolving towards to models that have no moving parts and are therefore virtually walk-through. Further research in passenger screening will continue to focus on finding and developing solutions and technologies that will increase throughput and reduce the need for divesting. In addition, future research should focus on integration with other components. For example, the use of biometrics for identity management and verification can enable risk-based differentiated screening to be applied on a per-passenger basis. This means that passengers identified as high-risk might either be directed to a separate screening lane for more rigorous measures, or might be coupled with variable algorithms on a security scanner to apply different levels of screening within the same equipment. Another potential area for integration is the inclusion of explosive trace detection or other detection methods into security scanners to enhance detection capability, improve security effectiveness, and reduce passenger touchpoints. Cabin baggage screening Future research will focus on improving the functionality of the screening equipment (especially in its capacity to automatically detect threats) while keeping the false alarm rate as low as possible. By efficiently assisting the X-ray operator's decision in all aspects of cabin baggage screening, advanced equipment will allow a further increase in security while improving the passenger experience with reduced divestment and fewer bags sent to secondary search. Further work will also need to be carried out in hardware and software decoupling to allow for independent upgrades and easier certification, as well as checkpoint solutions tailored to an airport's needs. In addition, while Computed Tomography systems are still maturing (toward improved belt speed, lower false alarm rate, and better image quality), there is a great deal of work to be done in understanding and optimizing the way that screening officers will use the equipment. Alternative detection methods With ETD already used in some States as a primary screening measure for crew, future work is needed to determine whether the same principle could be applied to passengers as part of a risk-based screening approach. As explosive detection advances to the extent that stand off screening and dynamic adjustment may be possible, further research will be required to evaluate how this technology interacts with other checkpoint elements for optimal checkpoint design. Operational unpredictability will also be assessed. Covert unpredictability combined with dynamic lanes will make the checkpoint more robust. Unpredictability, new screening equipment, and alternative detection methods offer the opportunity to move the current prescriptive regulations to a more flexible, outcomes-based approach. Rather than checkpoint methodology, security outcomes should be the focus. Checkpoint environment Future research in this area will focus on evaluating the optimum working environment, which will allow security officers to focus on their core screening duties and reduce the need for extensive manual handling. Improvements in the checkpoint environment will always be a work in progress as designs adapt to new threats and the associated detection technologies. These changes in screening technology and the introduction of additional elements, such as biometrics and video analytics into the passenger journey, will further facilitate the development of enhanced automated solutions. Future trials may even move away from the conventional screening approach, exploring innovative checkpoint configurations. This could include physically separating passenger and cabin baggage screening processes and reuniting passengers with their belongings at the end of the process. In addition, research on predictive modeling and optimal staff allocation must be conducted to assess any possible benefits relating to checkpoint reactivity and adaptability. Centralized image processing Future studies will contribute to understanding the feasibility and benefits of more extensive networking, both on an airport and country- wide level, including networking operations centrally across several airports. Taking the networking concept even further, some stakeholders are now considering whether image assessment for cabin and hold baggage can be combined. Further work is needed in this area to develop the concept. Checkpoint management Screening equipment is increasingly becoming networked, and automated lanes are now being equipped with RFID readers, associating the passenger with their tray(s) and removing the need to manually identify trays selected for additional scrutiny. A wealth of data is therefore becoming available that, through the use of advanced data analytics, may give rise to a whole new generation of checkpoint management systems that will allow for real-time and even predictive decision making and thus achieve even greater operational efficiencies. Risk-based differentiation Risk-based passenger differentiation exists today, most notably with TSA's Pre-Check program. To facilitate wider adoption, States will likely seek further collaboration and agreement on issues, such as mutual recognition and equivalence, standards for risk assessment, interaction with existing security arrangements, and flexibility to counter emerging threats. The ability to measure the effectiveness of risk-based procedures, the potential impact of false positives on the traveling public, and data protection and privacy are also key elements to be considered. Further work will take place on identity management and the ability to track and trace passengers and their belongings through the checkpoint, providing States with a full end-to-end risk-based passenger differentiation model. working with tsa Smart Security has a long-standing relationship with TSA, including TSA's participation in the Smart Security Management Group. We have been working with TSA towards sharing of information from the implementation of automated screening lanes at Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which employ many of the features of Smart Security, and have also had some very constructive discussions with the TSA's Innovation Task Force. We believe that there is a great deal of opportunity in the United States to benefit from the lessons learned by Smart Security and vice versa, and we look forward to working further with TSA and more U.S. airports. Mr. Katko. Thank you very much. I also look forward to the discussion moving forward. I hear you loud and clear, both Mr. Dow and Ms. Brooks, about the technological aspects. We have been beating that drum since we started on this committee; TSA is behind the curve in technology. I will just tell you a brief example I had last year. I had to go to Ireland for work, and it was a real struggle, of course. But, we went through England. The use of biometrics in England were stunning. You would walk up. You would stand in front of just before when they check your passport, and they do a facial recognition scan in about 1 second. Then when I went to go check into the gate, when I was checking in to go on the airplane, you did it again. It matched the facial recognition from the person who came in to the person who got on the airplane. They have technology like this all over the world, and it is maddening to me that we don't have it here. So, I am going to definitely explore that with you moving forward. But of course, all the technology in the world will be useless if you don't have the right personnel doing the job. So that is why I am looking forward to hearing from Mr. Cox's testimony. So I now recognize Mr. Cox for his testimony. STATEMENT OF J. DAVID COX, SR., NATIONAL PRESIDENT, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES Mr. Cox. Mr. Chairman, welcome back. AFGE is so excited to have you back as Chair of the subcommittee. To Ranking Member Watson Coleman, congratulations on your new post. Congressman Payne, it is always so good to be with you. Mr. Dow and the Chairman's son and all men and women who are serving in the military and all veterans, we owe them a debt of gratitude for their service to this country. I would remind everyone, the 40,000 transportation security officers that work for TSA that AFGE proudly represents, over 31 percent of them are also veterans that have served this country and continue to serve this country by keeping all of us safe and secure. Every Member of Congress travels home to their district. They travel back to conduct hearings and to hold votes, and they do it safely because of the great work of TSOs. Airline pilots and flight attendants travel safely right now all over this country because these men and women are protecting us and keeping us safe. My main message today is that no discussion of the future of TSA should ever exclude the voices of the TSO workforce. TSOs are the eyes, ears, and hands of TSA at the checkpoints and the baggage areas of our Nation's airports. They are the most visible of TSAs components and most likely to be blamed for perceived failures on the part of the agency. They are rarely, if ever, recognized for a job well done. The best way for Congress and TSA to show its appreciation for TSO's contributions to National security would be fair treatment on the job. Second, we ask that Congress ensure TSOs have the resources necessary to carry out the agency's mission, such as appropriate and proper equipment. Finally, we ask that Congress hold TSA accountable for both of these priorities. Security screening of passengers and baggage was made a direct Federal Government responsibility after a National examination of aviation security following 9/11. That examination found that fatal security lapses were due, in no small part, to the fact that screening contractors operated with too little oversight. The screeners they hired had little training, or did not understand operating procedures, high turnover, and very low pay. For 15 years, TSOs have kept America safe from terrorism and other risks. They have got the job done and done it very effectively. Their record is one that we should all applaud. TSO has seized over 3,300 firearms, most of them loaded at checkpoints. They defied all projections this past summer with long wait lines due to understaffing and made it happen throughout this country. Yet there are some politicians who believe that we should privatize TSA. Make no mistake, privatization through the Screening Partnership Program takes us back to pre-9/11 conditions. The future of TSA lies with civil servant TSOs and not private contractors. TSOs sign up for their job because they want to serve the American public by keeping our air travel safe. In return, they have every right to expect fair treatment from their employer, the Federal Government. TSOs have the workplace policies changed every time there is a new administrator, and we have had more than our fair share, sir. Each time we go through many changes of all working conditions. AFGE recently ratified a new contract with the agency. Many of the terms and conditions of employment were changed unilaterally, without any input from Congress or from the union that represents those employees. I certainly believe the one thing that we could do that would help TSOs is to grant them Title V rights under the U.S. Code. You know, this would prevent discrimination. It would give them full collective bargaining rights. I would certainly like to salute Senator Schatz, Warren, Merkley, and others who have introduced legislation in the Senate. It is our understanding that Ranking Member Bennie Thompson and Congresswoman Nita Lowey will be introducing legislation in the House for Title V rights for TSOs. I thank you so much, Mr. Chairman and Ranking Member, for having us today and we look forward to taking any questions. It is always a pleasure to be with you. [The prepared statement of Mr. Cox follows:] Prepared Statement of J. David Cox, Sr. February 2, 2017 Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Rice, and Members of the subcommittee: My name is J. David Cox, Sr., and I am the national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO (AFGE). On behalf of the more than 670,000 Federal and District of Columbia workers our union represents, including Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) at airports across the United States and its territories who are on the job ensuring safe air travel for over 2 million passengers each day, I thank you for the opportunity to testify today on ``The Future of the Transportation Security Administration.'' Members of Congress who can attend town hall meetings in their districts and return to Washington for hearings and votes can thank over 40,000 members of the TSO workforce. Hundreds of thousands of Americans who visited the Nation's capital for inaugural events experienced first-hand the effective and efficient screening performed by TSOs. Airline crews--pilots, engineers, and flight attendants--greet their loved ones after landing safely each day because TSOs screening passengers and baggage prevented acts of aviation terrorism. The economies of major tourist destinations from Orlando, Florida to Las Vegas, benefit from families who arrive safely for the vacation of a lifetime because experienced, committed, and patriotic TSOs and other civil servants work to protect the public. The contributions of TSOs to the security of our Nation are clear. Those contributions will be enhanced when Congress and the Transportation Security Administration provide the TSO workforce the basic rights and protections necessary to recruit and retain a workforce that is such an integral part of our National security framework. No discussion of the future of TSA is complete without the voice of the TSO workforce. TSOs are the most visible of TSA's components, the most likely to be blamed for any perceived failures on the part of the agency and the last to receive credit from the public or their employer for a job well done. It is necessary for TSA to recognize the TSO workforce's contribution to National security by ensuring the fair treatment of TSOs on the job, and by ensuring TSOs have the resources necessary to carry out the agency's mission and to hold TSA accountable. AFGE believes this is the best path forward to provide better stewardship of taxpayer funds and enhanced security to address ever-changing threats to American aviation. the tso workforce is the legacy of the deadliest act of terrorism in the united states The duty of screening passengers and baggage at our Nation's airports is based on the National examination of aviation security following the terrible events of September 11, 2001. The airline industry felt the aftershock of the attacks long after their occurrence: Even after airports reopened after 9/11, airlines experienced at least a 30% reduction in demand for air travel. A 2002 Congressional Research Service report entitled ``The Economic Effects of 9/11: A Retrospective Assessment'' noted that Congress created the Air Transportation Stabilization Board to assist airlines with up to $10 billion in loans. The industry suffered significant layoffs. Nearly 18,000 business were disrupted or destroyed by the 9/11 attacks. The Gross City Product of New York City fell by $27.3 billion between the fall of 2001 and the end of 2001. Nationally, 462 extended mass layoffs affecting nearly 130,000 workers were attributable to the 9/11 attacks. Congress extended unemployment compensation benefits an additional 13 weeks for workers who had exhausted their benefits and for those in ``high-unemployment States.'' Most important, 2,977 innocent civilians and brave first responders lost their lives on that tragic day. America resolved to address the lapses in security that contributed to the events of 9/11 and to prevent the reoccurrence of another act of mass terrorism on American soil. Experts quickly recognized one important security lapse on September 11. The patchwork of private firms with little oversight employing screeners with inconsistent training and no standard operating procedures, high turnover, low pay, and paltry benefits left a gap in airport security the terrorists could exploit. As noted at the time by Senator John McCain (R-AZ) ``the people who now are employed as screeners can make more money by going down and working at a concession at the same airport.'' A frightened and frustrated public demanded thoroughly vetted, highly-trained, professional workforce of civil servants. Congress passed the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA), Pub. L. 107-71, with the intention that the new positions of TSO have higher wages and benefits than screeners employed by private firms to create a well-trained, professional workforce with low turnover able to protect the public from those seeking to commit terrorist acts. I recite these sad facts to remind everyone what is at stake: Throughout the world terrorists remained fixated on transportation hubs such as airports, bus terminals, and railway stations as a focus for mass casualty attacks. The United States has a formula that has kept us safe from these types of attacks for over 15 years: Better intelligence-gathering methods shared among agencies, deployment of up- to-date technology, and in the case of commercial aviation, a career workforce of well-trained, dedicated TSOs entrusted by the Federal Government as the first and best line of defense against aviation terrorism at airports in the United States and its territories. It continues to be imperative that the duties of airport screening be performed by Federal Government employees, and that these employees be provided adequate resources to do their jobs. Likewise, Congress must pass legislation that ends the shameful practice of treating the 42,000 members of the TSO workforce as second-class civil servants by granting the TSO workforce the same legal protections as other Federal employees. privatizing screening duties is a gamble the united states cannot afford Although airports have had the ability to apply for privatization of screening since 2004, only 21 out of 435 commercial airports currently participate in the Screening Partnership Program (SPP), TSA's privatization program. By its nature the SPP circumvents TSA's direct responsibility for passenger screening. There is no documentation of superiority of private screeners, or that they save taxpayer dollars. In 2012 Congress inexplicably tied the hands of the TSA administrator by requiring the approval of airport applications to participate in the SPP if on its face the application does not compromise security or detrimentally effect cost efficiency or screening effectiveness. SPP does not ``get rid of TSA'': To the contrary, the only change is that TSOs with years of experience are swapped-out for newly-hired screeners who are paid less and have fewer benefits, allowing the contractor to shift costs to workers. TSA management remains in place under SPP, as do TSA's policies and procedures. The TSO workforce is a well-known quantity. TSA reports that in 2016 3,391 firearms were seized at checkpoints at 238 airports. The highest number of guns were found by Federal TSOs at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International, Dallas/Fort Worth International and George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Despite the burden of relentless overtime due to short staffing, TSOs defied predictions of a summer of long checkpoint lines. In addition to Presidential inaugurations, TSOs continued to be called upon to provide the effective, speedy screening necessary to maintain free movement of large groups of people at National events. TSOs have provided screening for Amtrak and large public transportation systems. The diligence and dedication of the TSO workforce has coordinated effectively with updated intelligence information to prevent another act of transportation terrorism in the United States. AFGE calls on the Congress to limit the SPP, and require that TSA provide the same transparency to private screeners as the TSO workforce. AFGE has strongly supported the legislative efforts of Homeland Security Committee Ranking Member Bennie Thompson (D-MS) to bring much-needed reforms to the SPP. Because screening of passengers and baggage at airports reacts to rapidly updated intelligence, TSO duties must be recognized as being inherently Governmental and should not be subject to privatization under any circumstances. In addition to maintaining the TSO workforce, Congress must be accountable for providing the resources necessary to provide the level of screening demanded by the public. Last summer's checkpoint delays were largely caused by TSA's failure to maintain the necessary level of staffing. TSA admitted that TSO staffing levels fell from 47,147 full- time employees in 2013 to 42,525 in 2015. TSA allowed TSO vacancies to go unfilled based on faulty staffing projection resulting from expected PreCheck enrollments that ever materialized. Congress must not allow TSA to ``blow smoke'' about necessary staffing levels. The PreCheck program produces a known population of passengers who still require some TSO screening. Piloted use of automated bin return systems may move passengers through checkpoints faster but they do not impact the number of TSOs needed to screen. Congress must provide the oversight necessary to hold TSA accountable for adequate staffing to ensure security and reduce wait times. Congress continues to divert $1.25 billion each year from the Security fee to deficit reduction. AFGE calls for Security fee funds to be directed to TSA. congress must act to end the second-class status of the tso workforce and provide the resources needed to protect the public If you have departed from a U.S. commercial airport, flown with excitement to greet a new grandchild, traveled by air to follow a favorite sports team to a major sporting event such as the World Series or the Final Four, or returned to your Congressional district to meet with your constituents during the last 15 years, the work of a TSO facilitated your safety. The TSO workforce is the eyes, ears, and hands of aviation security in the United States. They are part of the reason why traveling on a U.S. airline is the safest mode of transportation. According to the U.S. Travel Association, almost 4 out of 5 domestic trips are taken for leisure purposes, including families with children visiting relatives or popular vacation destinations. In 2015, the U.S. Travel Association noted that ``U.S. residents logged 459 million trips ways from home for business purposes. Until something goes wrong it is difficult to recognize the contributions of a group. The work of TSOs makes it far more likely that Americans fly safely and we never again suffer the horrendous loss of life or economic downturn caused by an act of air terrorism. It is very important work.'' TSOs signed up for the job because they wanted to serve the public by keeping travel safe. In return they have every right to expect fair treatment from their employer: The Federal Government. Instead TSA remains heavily invested in treating the 40,000-plus TSOs like second- class employees. Not only is this an affront to the entire TSO workforce--it is also an affront to all civil servants. Congress should never have given TSA the option of whether to provide fundamental workplace rights and protections to TSOs. And Congress should never have divided the TSA workforce into a group of management ``haves'' with statutory rights under title 5 of the U.S. code, and the front- line TSO ``have nots'' who do not. Ranking Member Bennie Thompson (D- MS) and Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY) have authored legislation granting all TSA employees equal rights under the law during successive sessions of Congress. The Rights for Transportation Security Employees Act now has a Senate companion, the Strengthening American Transportation Security Act introduced by Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI). Both bills ensure that TSOs and all other TSA employees have rights and protections under title 5, including: The Family and Medical Leave Act; The Federal Labor Standards Act; Employment discrimination protections, including application of the Rehabilitation Act; Access to the Merit Systems Protection Board to appeal adverse personnel actions; Fair shift and annual leave bid procedures; Fair pay under the General Schedule of wages; and Full collective bargaining rights. AFGE has testified before the disproportionately negative impact of TSA's policies on women in the TSO workforce. Our female members continue to report that they are prohibited from bidding on certain lines at the airport or to change positions, shifts, or regular days off because TSA has too few women working. This is especially true at checkpoints, where the less than 40% of TSOs who are women are required to ``patdown'' the over 50% of female passengers. Although employers are required to provide breastfeeding rooms to new mothers under the Affordable Care Act and Office of Personnel Management guidelines, AFGE members report that the rooms provided for TSOs to express breast milk at some airports were far from checkpoints, unclean, lacked refrigerators, and did not have locks on the doors. These issues were only addressed through the activism of local AFGE leadership stood up to TSA management. The union remains concerned about TSA's lack of commitment to the labor-management relationship. A working labor-management relationship requires transparency, good faith, and respect. AFGE recently ratified a contract with TSA through a process wholly created by TSA that is different from any other process in the Federal Government. Despite previous agreements and representations, TSA repeatedly sought to invoke different negotiating rules, including the date on which the contract became effective previously agreed to by both parties. Without consulting or notifying the union, TSA unilaterally issued interim guidance on outstanding sections of the collective bargaining agreement. The interim guidance contains new provisions applicable to AFGE and TSA. TSA should have followed the contract provisions of the first contract until the issues were settled. Most recently, TSA failed to inform AFGE of the active-shooter situation at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport during December 2016. AFGE was forced to contact TSA to confirm that TSOs were not among the wounded. TSA also failed to inform AFGE that an application for private screeners under SPP was filed for Atlantic City International Airport. Previously, the late Robert Ball, who served as TSA's Senior Executive for AFGE Relations, would inform AFGE upon the filing of an SPP application. TSA has not named a new Senior Executive to function in this role. This list only includes recent unilateral actions on behalf of TSA inconsistent with previous determinations, agreements, or past practice and evidence of why Congress should require TSA to follow the same labor-management rules as other Federal agencies. Good labor management relations in the Federal sector result in a better-functioning workplace and advance of the agency's core mission. TSOs are in the untenable position of changing workplace policies with each new TSA administrator. This level of unaccountable authority does nothing to help National security and contributes to the continuing turnover in the TSO workforce. I call on the Members of the House Homeland Security Committee and the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee to not only sponsor, but favorably report out the Rights for Transportation Security Employees Act and the Strengthening American Transportation Security Act. Fifteen years after the creation of TSA it us unthinkable that our union is still fighting for equality for over 40,000 Federal workers. This workforce has not kept us safe because they lack workplace rights and protections. They have done so despite the fundamental rights so important to the effectiveness of Government work. Let us commit now to send to President Trump a bill strengthening aviation security through rights for Transportation Security employees. Mr. Katko. Thank you, Mr. Cox. You make a very good point. You know, the front line folks are rarely recognized at TSA for a job that they do it, day in and day out. It is a very difficult job to try and find the proverbial needle in the haystack every time. It is remarkable that they found 3,300 guns last year. It is also deeply troubling that they found 3,300 guns. But, every day they get up and go to work and they, you know, have the pressure of the safety of the traveling public in their hands. So I definitely want to commend them for their work. I thank them for their work. Our job is not only to support them but try to make their job as easy as possible. It is clear to me, and we will have more discussion about this, that the technology is lacking in this country compared to the rest of the world. It is kind-of like asking someone to go fight a battle with bow and arrows when your adversaries have more sophisticated weapons. I mean, we have to give them better tools to work with and better working conditions under which to work. So, that is the tension we have in these days of limited budgets. But, finding the efficiencies and finding ways to make them better is what we need to do. Again, I applaud them for all their efforts and please extend that to them for me. I now recognize myself for 5 minutes of questions. I think I am going to start with--there is so much to ask you, we may do a second round here, if time permits. But just quickly, Mr. Dow, you mentioned that the average traveler would take two to three more trips a year if the experience in traveling was better than it is today. I would probably take more trips, too, if the seats were a little bit bigger because, being a tall person is brutal, especially when someone puts the seat back in front of you. I can't even sit up straight, hardly, in those seats. But, did you do any sort of a calculation as to what the economic impact would be of those two to three more trips per year, just ballpark figures that you can get to us? Mr. Dow. Ballpark $85 billion. Mr. Katko. Billion? Mr. Dow. Billion, 888,000 jobs. What we are finding is people, when it gets to be an hour flight that might be a 3- or 4-hour drive, they are driving. That creates another problem, puts all the people on the road. So there is no question about it. Travelers, anything gets in their way impedes them from wanting to travel. So this is so critical to get people through efficiently and safely. Mr. Katko. Right. I appreciate that. Now, moving forward, there does seem to be a virtual certainty that the amount of additional travelers per year is going to explode in this country and, indeed, around the world. I wonder if you could comment for me, based on what your projections and your experiences are, whether we are ready for it, No. 1, from an infrastructure standpoint, but also from a processing standpoint? Mr. Dow. We are absolutely not ready for it. Right now, we have gone, in the past 5 years, from 55 million international travelers, domestic travel, up to 77 million. Domestic travelers are going up 3 and 4 percent a year. So we are going to get to a point that that 750 million travelers is going, definitely, to be a billion travelers. When that happens in a short time, we are not ready for it. Our airports we don't have the facilities, the screening areas, the technology. It will be a mess and it will impede the growth of the economy and jobs. So there is no question, and that is going to be upon us before we know it. This is not a 10-year problem. This is a 5-year problem. Mr. Katko. What do you see as TSA's greatest hurdles that they need to clear in order to make it ready for that challenge? Mr. Dow. I think the greatest hurdles, as you have heard it several times, is to be able to have technology to make sure that the TSOs are doing the mission-critical jobs versus standing there and watching someone exit the airport that someone else could do if they try to go the wrong way. There are many jobs that we have got these well-trained people and we have got to get them to really utilize their talents and find other ways. The lady next to me talked about trace things. There are a lot of things we can do. But TSA has to get technology, has to get efficiency, and has got to get more people in PreCheck. Trusted traveler program is critical. Mr. Katko. I agree with that, and I think that we have made great strides with that but there is much more we need to do. In Syracuse, my airport, for example, we put in--they used to have to travel to Oswego, New York, 45 minutes away on not a very good road, just to go to the Port of Oswego to see the Border Patrol to get yourself on a pre-clearance, which is insane. So, I had them put a kiosk at the airport. They now have close to 50 percent of the travelers coming out of Syracuse in PreCheck, which is amazing. It has completely changed the burden on the TSO officers, I mean the TSA officers, as well as the overall enjoyable experience for the public. So there is so much more we can do, and I am probably going to follow up again with more questions if I have time, here. But, I thank you for that and there is so much more we need to talk about but technology is key. That is why, Ms. Brooks, I would like to ask you some questions. The SPP Program, obviously, there are many initiatives and what have you but it just seems like when you travel internationally, at some of the airports, like Schiphol, for example or some of the others, that in Europe, that the technology is light-years ahead of ours. So, what do you see as the biggest technological drawbacks we have here in the United States, that critically need to be addressed? Ms. Brooks. Well, I think some of the things that we are starting to see in the automated lanes are actually making great strides toward actually getting greater throughput at the checkpoints. Mr. Katko. That being the automated lanes, being the---- Ms. Brooks. The tray return and the---- Mr. Katko [continuing]. Trails? Ms. Brooks. Yes. There is a lot more than can be done with that. The tray return is very visible. But there is a lot that can be done with actually automating threat detection and actually putting some intelligence into the machines themselves. Then that coupled with--I mentioned, centralized image processing. That is networking the checkpoints so that you can actually have a continuous flow of images provided to the screening officers. We have seen a great deal of efficiency gained from that. Then actually through networking the checkpoints, you can also get a lot of efficiency in terms of understanding the throughput and getting some good management information from the checkpoints to enable you to better deploy your resources. We talked about biometrics a little bit. I think that, for the future, is going to be absolutely critical. We talk a lot about screening according to risk. But if you don't know who the person is that you have got in front of you and who you are screening, then you can't do that. So I think that is going to be a very, very important piece, being able to say that this bag, in this tray, belongs to this person. I know who this person is, and I know that they are supposed to be here, going these checkpoints and traveling today. That is the piece that really is missing right now. It is being worked on all over the world. I don't think anybody has quite cracked that nut yet, but it is something that we really need to be working on. Mr. Katko. Yes. We have really been on TSA over the last couple of years. We have had 18 subcommittee hearings, which is, I think, more than anyone in Congress. So, we have held TSA to task. We have had all kinds of meetings with them. We have had roundtable discussions with industry leaders in an attempt to try and drag them out of the Stone Age, the proverbial Stone Age as far as the screening equipment goes. There is still an awful long way to go. But, do you see some glimmers of hope on the horizon with changes that have been made recently within TSA? Ms. Brooks. Yes. Absolutely. I mean, I think the Innovation Task Force that was set up is really looking at some of these future technologies and making great progress in some of the areas that we are very interested in as well. I would really like to see the work of that task force continuing and with a lot of engagement with us as well, so that we can share experiences and, you know, help by looking globally at what everybody is doing and bring all of that information together. Because, you know, some of the future technologies, particularly with things like stand-off screening so that you could walk through a checkpoint without having to stop, you know, that is really where we want to be. And, you know, through the work of airports and regulators and organizations like TSA, then, you know, we will be able to get there. But we need to push ahead with the R&D and obviously that requires money. So, you know, unfortunately, it comes back to the bottom line again. Mr. Katko. Yes, it does. Well, I appreciate it. There is so much more to ask all of you. Mr. Cox, I suspect Mrs. Watson Coleman has some questions for you that I would have asked anyhow. So the Chair now recognizes Ranking Member Mrs. Watson Coleman for 5 minutes for questions. Mrs. Watson Coleman. Before I engage in my questions, I ask that I get an opportunity to make some observations. I really appreciated the ones that you made with regard to the testimony that was offered. It is---- Mr. Katko. Absolutely. Mrs. Watson Coleman. Thank you. It is really important that the three of you were here to give us your perspective. It is so important that we make sure that there is efficient and effective traveling. It is so important that we contribute to the economy with people who want to travel. It is so important that we recognize the significance of the people on line and recognize that, because things have not happened that are bad, don't ignore the problems that exist as it relates to them. The information with regard to technology and how we stand in relation to the rest of the world is really important. I think it speaks volumes to a couple of things. TSA needs stability. It needs the access to the fees that are being diverted for other reasons, because that money can be used for purposes of improving technology, the newest most innovative technology that is evidence-based and works, as well as supporting the people, the staff that is charged to doing this. So before I engage in my very short questions, I just want to ask unanimous consent that Representative Jackson Lee be allowed to sit and question the witnesses as well? Mr. Katko. Without objection, so ordered. Mrs. Watson Coleman. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for your indulgence. So I will start with Mr. Cox, because I don't want to disappoint my Chairman. Mr. Cox, in the past, it was common for TSOs and TSA to revel in the fact that the agency was able to screen a certain amount of travelers within a certain amount of time. Following the leaked OIG report in 2015, which brought to light a number of TSA security gaps, TSA rightfully rechanneled its focus to effective screenings. With the steadily increasing volume of travelers and a pressure to screen them in a certain amount of time--and I do hope that there is an increase in traveling, and I hope that this ban that we are trying to get--wrap our brain around right now is understood and applied appropriately so it doesn't decrease the appropriate travel. How has TSA worked to ensure that effective and efficient screening is of the utmost importance? Mr. Cox. Thank you, Congresswoman. TSA has definitely refocused on the training. They were training for quick and fast, to the most efficient mannerism to get the passengers through. But they realized they needed to be screening for quality, that teaching and training folks exactly what to look for. All of us go through airports and it is pretty amazing. I see those screens, and I have no idea what I am looking at. But these are trained professionals, a skillful workforce, and being able to focus directly on training. I commend our previous Administrator Neffenger, for spending the time and resources to retrain TSOs and to do that. Obviously, that is a hardship, because if a person is in training, they are not directly on the job that day. One thing I would point out. We are about 5,000 less transportation security officers today than we were several years ago, so we have less people doing a lot more screening. Mrs. Watson Coleman. With that--that was going to be my second question. There are about 40,000 now, right? Mr. Cox. Correct. Mrs. Watson Coleman. You say that is 5,000 less than we had---- Mr. Cox. We had right at 45,000 several, I would say, 3 or 4 years ago. Mrs. Watson Coleman. Given what you have experienced and given what Mr. Dow has even expressed in terms of expectations of increased traveling, how many TSOs do you feel would be needed? Mr. Cox. I wouldn't be the best person to ask, but certainly that 5,000 that has been lost, I believe, needs to be returned. The air traffic is much higher. Technology is improving and we applaud, and we want greater technology. Yes, the frequent traveler program, all those things come hand-in- hand. But still, yet, we can never get rid of the human element. Mrs. Watson Coleman. Yes. Mr. Cox. There is a person, even at the frequent traveler check lane, that has to be there. The human resources still have to exist with all of that. Mrs. Watson Coleman. Thank you. I know we have got some serious concerns with the fact that TSOs are not covered under Title V. Mr. Cox. Correct. Mrs. Watson Coleman. I know that you recently ratified your second collective bargaining agreement with TSA. How is negotiating with TSA different from negotiating with other DHS agencies that are represented by your union? Mr. Cox. TSOs do not have Merit Systems Protection Board rights as all other Federal employees and most other agencies. There is not the ability to have a negotiated grievance procedure to resolve workplace disputes. There are very, very limited things that can be negotiated. Basically, we spend a lot of time talking about when you can wear a jacket and when you cannot wear a jacket, or when you can wear shorts or long pants. So those are very minimal things, but very important for the work. Border Patrol Agents, ICE agents, CIS, all other Homeland Security employees, Coast Guard, many of those, have Title V protections. Mrs. Watson Coleman. It has been noted that TSOs have the lowest one--just about the lowest morale in the workforce. I would suspect you might align that concern with the fact that they don't have the same rights and privileges as other Federal employees do? Mr. Cox. That is correct. They don't have the same rights and privileges, nor are they on the GS pay scale. Their pay is less than most other Federal employees, and so it is an entirely different employment system. Mrs. Watson Coleman. Does that impact the ability to recruit enough and to retain enough? Mr. Cox. Yes, ma'am. The turnover in TSA is higher than many other Government agencies. Mrs. Watson Coleman. I am going to have some questions for Ms. Brooks and Mr. Dow, and I will do it on the second round. So I thank you for your indulgence thus far. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield. Mr. Katko. Mrs. Watson Coleman, if you just have a few minutes of questions we might try and do this in one round, if you would like to just go for a few minutes longer? Mrs. Watson Coleman. OK. Thank you, thank you. Ms. Brooks, as you observed, integrating innovative technology into the passenger screening process will help make airport security procedures more effective and more efficient. What are the biggest challenges to getting the state-of- the-art technologies into our airports, as compared to the procurement processes within the airports around the world? Is it the money? Ms. Brooks. Well---- Mrs. Watson Coleman. Is it the lack of planning? Ms. Brooks. Well, money does come into it, of course. One of the things that I think really needs to be looked at is the time it takes for technology to get out of the lab and into the airports, the certification processes. There is a lot that can be done with that. You know, clearly the TSA has to certify equipment, and that is absolutely right. But that turnaround time is very important for getting things actually out into airports. You know, maybe there are opportunities to look at what has done in Europe with E-Cat, for example, the certified equipment. Maybe to have some kind of recognition that if Europe has already certified something, then, you know, maybe there is a less rigorous process that can be done here. You know, maybe there are some reciprocal arrangement, because that really is critical to getting things done. Mrs. Watson Coleman. Does the instability of the leadership in TSA, whether or not there is indeed an alignment between a long-term plan, long-term needs, long-term budgeting, does that affect the rolling out of technology that you see in use in other airports that is already evidence-based? Ms. Brooks. Well, I think probably the shifting emphasis between, you know, whether there is research and development or something seen as very critical and important and the roll-out of new technologies. Yes, that probably does have an impact given, you know, one administrator to the next may have very different views about how fast these things need to happen. We certainly had some very good experiences with the previous administrator, Admiral Neffenger. Mrs. Watson Coleman. Thank you. Do I still have my last question? Mr. Katko. Sure. Mrs. Watson Coleman. OK. Thank you. This is actually for Mr. Dow and President Cox. According to media reports, airline crews have been caught up in the President's recent travel ban. Specifically, airline crew members from 7 countries referenced in the Executive Order are now prohibited from entering this country, despite having approved U.S. entry visas. Some crew members have been detained and carriers have had to shift staff away from the U.S. routes to prevent additional crew members from being affected. According to the International Air Transportation Association, the Executive Order was issued without prior coordination, warning, causing confusion among both airlines and travelers. It also placed additional burdens on airlines to comply with unclear requirements to bear implementation costs, and to face potential penalties for noncompliance. What does the botched rollout of the travel ban executive order say about the importance of DHS consulting and coordinating with partners like carriers, airports, and travel industry, stakeholders and employees, in the development and implementation of the security policy? I will start with you, Mr. Dow, and I will ask you, Mr. Cox, to respond, and then I will say thank you to my Chairman. Mr. Dow. Well, we respect and appreciate the President's concern for the safety of America. That said, we need to find a way to end the confusion and the chaos that it has created, and we urge them to get through this quickly, these 90 days, because there is a great deal of misunderstanding that was caused. I think it is very important to have everybody in the loop as we work through these things. So we understand and respect the need for security, but we also need to make sure that the world knows clearly what we are doing. Mrs. Watson Coleman. Thank you. Mr. Cox. Mr. Cox. I think there has been a great deal of confusion. Clearly, AFGE proudly represents the National Border Patrol throughout the country. The comments and feedback that I have had from those agents is, basically, confusion of not knowing exactly what to do at airports. That that has sort-of focused resources away, particularly from our Southern Border, where we worry strongly about drug cartels and those that are into human trafficking, and many things that are very, very harmful. That, clearly, most people coming into airports have met the proper visa requirements and have the proper paperwork. We always want to prevent against anyone coming into this country to do harm to the American public. Mrs. Watson Coleman. Chairman Katko, let me just say that, you know, when we think of our safety and security, we think of our intelligence community, our FBI, and places of that nature, and we wouldn't privatize them. With regard to travelers, I think that that is the same level of security we are expecting and hoping for. While we can use the best technologies in the world, I believe that those who take an oath to uphold our Constitution and work as employees of our workforce are the ones that should be making sure that we are safe and secure at airports. Thank you. With that, I appreciate your indulgence. Mr. Katko. Thank you, Mrs. Watson Coleman, and I will note, as a matter of practice with this committee, the Ranking Member will have more flexibility with respect to time moving forward. Unfortunately, given the growing list of people doing questions here today, we will not be able to grant all of you as much flexibility. So, we ask you to stick as close as you can to the 5-minute limit as you can. The Chair now recognizes Mr. Higgins, the gentleman from Louisiana. First, I want to welcome you to Congress, and welcome you to this committee. Mr. Higgins, the floor is yours. Mr. Higgins. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Question for Mr. Dow. Sir, if we could move to airport security overall, I would like to ask you about your opinions regarding the vetting and supervision of airport employees that have regular access to aircraft, and luggage, and cargo. There is a great deal of emphasis being placed upon the screening of travelers. Those of us that fly regularly wonder, you know, what is it, the level of screening being given to the employees that have access to the aircraft that we are entering, and to our luggage and cargo that travel as well. Overall just give us some feedback, please, on the vulnerabilities and weaknesses of perimeters to your security at United States airports. Mr. Dow. Yes, sir. First of all, we believe that everyone who has access to the air transportation system has to be properly vetted and screened, and that is back-of-the-house employee--that is my hotel talk--back-of-the-airport employees, pilots. So everyone has to do that. You asked a question, also, on how important it is to--the last part of your question? I dropped it. I apologize. Mr. Higgins. Just your overall assessment of the vulnerabilities or weakness of airport perimeter security. Mr. Dow. Yes. I am glad. That is a very important area because, as we have seen, the couple of problems that we have had around the world---- Mr. Higgins. Yes, sir. Mr. Dow [continuing]. Have been outside the screening area. I think it is extremely important that we put measures in there, whether it be presence of security, security practices. But we have to be careful we don't move TSA out to the beginning of the highway getting to the airport, because so many airports are so difficult to get through. So we have to have systems, people have to know we are watching those areas, but perimeter security is important, but we do not want to move the checkpoint to the road approaching the airport, which would be a total disaster. So it is a high priority and we have got to address it. Mr. Higgins. Yes, sir. I am wondering what level of coordination TSA has with airport police to address these matters of safety of the aircraft and the travelers? Mr. Dow. Just as the Ranking Member said of having everybody involved, I think it is very important that local police, airport police, and security, and our Secret Service people all work in conjunction to put a net. In your State, I have seen a tremendous amount of cooperation between the State police, the city police, and in New Orleans, which is very important. So I think it is important. It can be done. You can get everyone working together. Mr. Higgins. Thank you, sir. Generally speaking, Nation- wide, are you seeing that level of cooperation in other States? Mr. Dow. It varies. You have seen one airport, you have seen one airport. But it is becoming more and more important and all our airport directors have it on their radar that we need to look not only at the security checkpoint, but understand and have a plan in place for perimeter security. Mr. Higgins. Thank you, Mr. Dow. Ms. Brooks and Mr. Cox, thank you for your testimony. Mr. Chairman, I yield the balance of my time. Mr. Katko. Thank you. The Chair now recognizes the gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. Payne. Mr. Payne. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and to the Ranking Member of the subcommittee. It is really an honor and a privilege to have her join this committee that has really done great work and worked in a bipartisan manner over the course of the time that I have been involved within. So we are looking forward to continuing that work. Mr. Dow, in your testimony, you discuss implementing improvements to the checkpoint experience. In your opinion, what are the most effective and pressing adjustments that should be made to the PreCheck process, in order to encourage greater participation among trusted populations without sacrificing the security of all the passengers? Mr. Dow. That is a very good question, Mr. Payne. Thank you. On the PreCheck process, No. 1, we have got to get more people in the program. We have millions of people who have been vetted very deeply from a secure standpoint. We should figure out how we can get those people in the program. The second thing, I can apply for a mortgage and get an answer in 40 seconds. We should be able to have people apply for PreCheck and get a very quick answer, going through all the security processes. If we can do that, that will help. I think we have to, as I said earlier, promote more. If I owned TSA, I would put a lot of dollars behind promoting and getting another $10 million or $15 million in this program and that, in turn, would raise over a billion dollars. So we need to promote, we need to have a good process, we have got to be able to sign people up. It has to be a priority. It has not been a big enough priority, whether it be with Congress, or a lot of people, to get people in this program. You and I are not going to blow up an airport. So bottom line, we should figure out how to get more of us in this program. Mr. Payne. Thank you, sir. Ms. Brooks, what reasons can you give for the lack of innovation here, in the States, as opposed to other jurisdictions where you have seen this technology implemented? You know, we here in America like to pride ourselves of being on the cutting edge, and in so many instances I am finding that we are lacking in areas. Can you give me some context on why you think we are where we are? Ms. Brooks. Well, I think the innovation actually isn't lacking. It is there. It is happening in the labs. TSA is doing a lot of really good work and looking at new technologies. Some of the things that we are starting to see rolled out now in airports with, for example, in Atlanta, is actually getting toward some of that innovation. But I think it comes to getting it out there more quickly and, again, it comes down to, you know, there has to be adequate funding to get that technology tested, certified, and rolled out into the airports. Mr. Payne. Well, I, you know, I mean, you know, I get concerned sometimes about, you know, us trying to reinvent the wheel. I mean, if there is something, you know, that is working in Heathrow, my pride isn't going to keep me from saying, well, hey, how are you doing that? How are you implementing that? You know, I just don't understand, you know, the lag time in finding technology that is moving us forward and advancing and, you know, getting to the airports in a timely manner if it is working there. Ms. Brooks. I think the collaboration that we have now with TSA is critical, and I really hope that, you know, with the new administrator going forward that we continue that, because we are starting to exchange some very good information with TSA and have some very good discussions about the technology, the research, the trials, the processes, that are happening, you know, both in the United States and in the rest of the world. So I think there is a lot we can learn from each other, and I really hope that that continues going forward, because we have seen a big difference in the last couple of years. Mr. Payne. Thank you. President Cox, it is good to have you here again. We respect the work of the men and women at TSA. The TSOs are really on the front line, and we have to make sure that we-- some of us in Congress make sure that the traveling public, and people in this country understand the difficult work being on the front line every single day that our TSOs are and really raise their profile and respect in this country for the work that they do. Thirty-three hundred weapons that they found, and that is just firearms. On January 23, President Trump signed an Executive Order initiating a Federal hiring freeze. TSOs are Federal employees. Have you received any guidance from the administration on whether or not this hiring freeze will effect TSOs? Mr. Cox. I have not, sir. It is our understanding that there is a hiring freeze for all of Homeland Security at this point. I may be wrong with that. It is changed by the moment, but it is our understanding there is a hiring freeze for TSA and other departments inside of Homeland Security. Mr. Payne. Well, I think that some type of correspondence should go out to the administration in terms of maybe looking at that freeze in this area, making sure that the traveling public is safe should not be something that is curtailed. You said you are down 5,000 TSOs as it is? Mr. Cox. Yes, sir, about 5,000 less than there was just several years ago. Mr. Payne. OK. Well, then I really think that is something that needs to be addressed and hopefully through this committee we can do so. With that I yield back. Mr. Katko. Thank you, Mr. Payne. The Chair now recognizes the gentleman from Massachusetts, Mr. Keating. Mr. Keating. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I welcome the new Ranking Member and the staff. It is great to be here. You know, one of the things that concerns me generally is the fact that we are viewing this in the lens of a terrorist attack, which we should, and people's safety personally. However, there is another target for these attacks and that is our economies. It is the economy of an industry. It is the economy of the countries that are affected by this. So I want to thank Mr. Dow for the dialog that the Chairman and I participated in and the close relationship with this committee. I think it is very important from an industry standpoint you do that. President Cox, I have got to tell you, I fly a lot. The attitude of the people on the front line that are there is extraordinary, their helpfulness. I have really been impressed by that. It is a tough job. But I have seen definite, you know, high level of helping people, even when they are perhaps doing some things that common sense would prevail against. But I just want to delve into a couple of issues on those lines quickly. No. 1, Mr. Dow, Ms. Brooks, you know, enhancing PreCheck, we touched on it but how have we come in terms of the airlines themselves being helpful? I mean, the idea of, for instance, being able to exchange maybe some frequent flyer miles in exchange for PreCheck status if people want to make that trade-off. Is that something that has been explored? How are businesses that have people that work for them, are they stepping up more? Have you seen a trend to make sure their companies and their employees have PreCheck paid for them by the companies? What can we do to expand that, you know, to a greater extent even? Mr. Dow. Well, two things, Mr. Keating, thank you for all your engagement in this issue. You have become an expert on this so I appreciate it. You mentioned the--I am going to touch on you mentioned the economy. When September 11 happened, the air travel industry came to its knees in 45 minutes. The U.S. economy followed in about 30 days. The world economy followed in about 2 months. So the link between travel and economy is so clear. When you ask about TSA PreCheck, we would like to see all of those things happen. Some companies have stepped up and will pay for their employees. Google, some of the tech companies have done that, but we need to get these, the ability to use frequent flyer miles. There have been some experiments and it has worked. Enterprise Rent-a-Car is doing that. We have had---- Mr. Keating. So that the people can make that trade-off if they want. Mr. Dow. They can make the trade-off or not. It doesn't matter how they get there. As long as we get more people in this program it allows more TSO resources to look for the folks that we don't know a lot about, and so we have got to make it a high priority. We have got---- Mr. Keating. Yes. There is one other area, and I hate to interrupt. Mr. Dow. Yes, sir. Mr. Keating. There is one other area where they maybe could make a trade-off that would help. In my experience and I think in anyone that travels, and that is, you know, the extra charge for the baggage. I see so many, you know, slow-ups as a result of people just struggling to get the extra bag on so they are not charged with it. Maybe there is something they could do with frequent flyer miles and the extra charge for baggage, too, because that does slow things down. I think it makes security a little harder as well. Just a thought. Mr. Dow. I wish someone from the airlines could speak with you also on that, so thank you. Mr. Keating. Well, thank you. Mr. Cox, one thing I am worried about. We are talking about the freeze and the freeze will have an effect because they are going to lose some good recruits that will give up. When people see a freeze and they are already working in a tough job like that, they are going to quit and you are going to lose some very valuable people along the lines. But also, I think training is as important as anything else. I have seen it in so many other areas. I have seen it in the major cities, you know, with UASI training and those funds, how cross-professionalization, training together. In airports, with soft targets now more and more being a concern, that is what we saw in Istanbul, as we saw in Brussels, as we saw in Fort Lauderdale, that training is going to be more valuable, training with local police and the people that are there for airport security. Do you see a need for further funding for that training yourself with your personnel? Mr. Cox. Yes, sir. There is clearly a need for more training, and I think you have touched on it very nicely. There are more people that work in an airport than just the screening employees. There are the vendors, the airline employees, the passengers. There are lots of personnel in airports. They are almost a city unto themselves. You have got to have training for all those individuals that are working in those facilities every day. To play on some things, the Chair, Mr. Dow, and you have said I think we are talking infrastructure. Infrastructure that would improve the economy because we get more people to travel, that we move them through faster, all these things that will help our economy. I think investing in better equipment, investing in the human resources, all of that will do great things for our economy. So I am excited to see Congress talk about improving the infrastructure. Mr. Keating. Yes, I do think, and I have seen some of the new technology myself and that is not replacing people's jobs. That is being able to shift people---- Mr. Cox. To other jobs. Mr. Keating [continuing]. To other jobs, which are important, too. So I yield back. Thank you. Mr. Katko. Thank you, Mr. Keating. There being no more witnesses, we don't have time for another round because I have a hard stop and a short period of time. But, let me ask you something which is somewhat unconventional, but since we have a few minutes here, is there anything that you, any of you three witnesses wanted to say that you didn't have an opportunity to say briefly that we should have touched on or something? Things that are important to note before we conclude? Mr. Dow. I think one thing that is important, too, is to engage the airports. Many airports are in favor of SPP, some are not, and I think it is very important that TSA take a look at the main mission of security and keeping us safe. Then bringing the technology and the folks from the airports, because they can add on facilitation, on equipment, on canines. I think we have got to have a better marriage of the folks that run the airports and TSA. Mr. Katko. Yes, I couldn't agree more with that. No better example of that was last summer when some administrative glitches within TSA helped contribute greatly to the wait lines at airports. Once they started talking more with the airlines and the airports, those lines were alleviated significantly along with working collaboratively with the folks on the front lines. So, you are absolutely right in that regard, and I thank you for noting that. Mr. Keating. Mr. Chairman, can I have unanimous consent for one comment? Mr. Katko. Absolutely. Mr. Keating. Yes, thank you. I just wanted to point out that with the help of the committee here we passed in the House just this week a bill that will take the GAO study about looking at the uniqueness of the design of every airport into consideration with our safety plans. So we have moved forward as a committee taking some of that advice. I am sorry, Mr. Chairman. I yield back. Mr. Katko. No, that is an excellent point. No need to apologize. I appreciate you making it. Anyone else before we conclude? Mr. Cox. Mr. Chairman, I have to say this with all honesty. I think particularly this subcommittee has a great Chairman, a great Ranking Member. Mr. Katko. I agree. Mr. Cox. I know. [Laughter.] Mr. Cox. I mean it from the bottom of my heart because you work together. You want to find solutions. It is easy to constantly identify problems. The American people are looking for solutions, employees are looking for solutions. Government does lots of good things that helps this country operate and helps the private industry operate. So I am excited about this Congress and this subcommittee. I will work with you and AFGE works with the two of you in any way we can to find solutions to help our economy and keep us all safe. Mr. Katko. Well, thank you, Mr. Cox. I appreciate the kind words. I think they are well-earned by everyone on the committee because we do try and dispense with party loyalties and to do the right thing to keep the American public safe and keep this system humming. Also to make it better. That is our job and hopefully it can stand as an example of what others in Congress can do when they put down their swords and start working together. I think it is important to do that. So Ms. Brooks, before we wrap up would you like to say anything? Ms. Brooks. Yes, just very briefly, thank you. I just wanted to underscore Mr. Dow's point that engagement with the airports, engagement with other industry parties is absolutely critical. Where we have seen the best results, and I am not just talking technology, but also people, human factors, the screening checkpoints, perimeters, insider threat, all of that. It works best when there is strong collaboration between the industry and the regulators. So that would be probably my key message. Mr. Katko. Thank you, Ms. Brooks. I want to thank all the folks here today. When the situation permits itself, as a matter of course going forward we will have a little more flexibility in how we conduct the hearings like we did today. I can't guarantee you it is always going to be like that, but I will signal certainly to Mrs. Watson Coleman at the outset how we are going to be doing it. But, you know, we have a structure we follow but when we can deviate from it from the good of the order to, you know, get a more full hearing, we are going to do that if we can. So, I would like to thank the witnesses for their thoughtful testimony. Members of the committee may have some additional questions for the witnesses, and we will ask you to respond to these in writing. Pursuant to committee rule VII(D), the hearing record will be open for 10 days. Without objection, the subcommittee stands adjourned. Thank you all. [Whereupon, at 11:15 a.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.] A P P E N D I X ---------- Questions from Honorable Brian Fitzpatrick for Roger Dow Question 1. Mr. Dow, thanks very much for providing a travel community perspective on how we improve TSA. Your positive recommendations are quite helpful to me as a new Member of this subcommittee, and should give me lots to think about as I work with Chairman Katko to improve this critical part of our Nation's security system. As I read through your recommendations, it seems that improving PreCheck is near the top of your list, with a particular focus on addressing pricing--for large groups, for families, for companies who want to enroll their employees. Tell me, as you've looked at PreCheck how much of an impact do you think the current $85.00 fee has on dissuading enrollment? Answer. In 2016, U.S. Travel Association conducted a study to estimate the number of air travelers who are likely to enroll in the TSA PreCheck Program: (1) If the price of enrolling in the TSA PreCheck program would be reduced; (2) if the application process would be simplified by getting it done completely on-line. To accomplish this task, U.S. Travel conducted a survey to investigate the likelihood of air travelers to enroll in the program. The survey results were then incorporated with U.S. Travel's estimates of total air travelers as well as the actual number of enrollment provided by the TSA to calculate the total number of potential TSA PreCheck enrollment if TSA would reduce the price or if the application process could be simplified by getting it done completely on-line. Key Findings Of those air travelers who are currently not enrolled in the TSA PreCheck Program and unlikely to enroll the program: Half thought the cost to enroll in the program is too high. 18 percent thought the application process is too complicated. Of those respondents who thought the price is too high: 12.1 percent are likely to enroll if the price would be $15 lower than the current level ($85); Of those who are unlikely to enroll if the price is reduced by $15 (or to $70), 10.5 percent said they will likely enroll the program if the cost is further reduced to $60. Of those who thought the application process is too complicated: 55 percent would likely to enroll the program if the application process could be simplified by getting it done completely on-line. Applying the percentage of survey respondents to U.S. Travel's estimate of the number of air travelers not currently enrolled in this program, U.S. Travel calculates that: About 2 million air travelers are likely to enroll in the TSA PreCheck if the price of enrollment could be reduce to $70 ($15 lower than current $85); An additional 1.5 million travelers are likely to enroll in PreCheck if the price is lowered from $70 to $60. Overall, about 3.5 million air travelers are likely to enroll in PreCheck program if the price could be reduced from the current $85 to $60. About 3.2 million air travelers are likely to enroll the PreCheck program if the application process could be simplified by getting it done completely on-line. Methodology The U.S. Travel Association TSA PreCheck Survey used TNS' TravelsAmerica survey program (a syndicated on-line tracking study) that provides leisure and business travel information for its clients. The survey respondents were drawn from air travelers (defined as having taken at least one air trip in the past 12 months) within the TravelsAmerica program. TNS completed 1,000 interviews from March 7-10, 2016. Survey respondents consisted of general population males and females over the age of 18 and representative of gender, geographic division, income, household size, household designation, and market size. The survey has a margin of error of +/-4 percent at 95 percent confidence level. Because the TNS survey of 1,000 respondents is of a representative sample of U.S. domestic air travelers, the results of the survey can be used to extrapolate to total domestic U.S. air travelers based on standard statistical estimation methods. The number of total domestic air travelers in the United States is estimated by the U.S. Travel Association, which is considered the leading travel research organization in the country. This number is widely used in research as a benchmark of air travel. Question 2a. Mr. Dow, as a former FBI agent, I had the pleasure of avoiding security screening at airports. Once I retired from the FBI, I got to experience the TSA security process for the first time. That got me to thinking about all of the individuals in Government who have security clearances, and who, therefore, merit inclusion in the TSA program. How do you think TSA should treat individuals who have gone through a background check as part of their Federal Government job? Question 2b. Should they all automatically be included in PreCheck, since we know so much about them? Answer. Americans who have gone through elaborate and regularly recurring background checks deemed sufficient to provide them access to Classified information, weapon systems, or sensitive transportation facilities and conveyances should be allowed access into the PreCheck pool of vetted indivudals. Unfortunately, other than expanding PreCheck to active military members, TSA has been very slow to leverage Government security reviews for its own purposes. As one particularly egregious example, an airport worker allowed access to secure areas of an airport and aircraft in the morning is not entitled to use the TSA PreCheck line if he or she is flying out of the same airport later in the day. We do recognize that issuance of a clearance does not mean an individual poses no risk. However, many of the categories listed above go through a more elaborate background check than TSA PreCheck requires. In an era where we expect that Government will coordinate programs and not allow information to exist in silos, we believe TSA should make prompt decisions about expansion of the TSA PreCheck program to these or other applicable populations. Question From Honorable Brian Fitzpatrick for Nina E. Brooks Question. Ms. Brooks, I understand that in response to long lines at airport security checkpoints last summer, TSA, airlines, and airports all worked closely together to manage the crowds as best they could. As you look back on that experience, what can we learn from it, and how can we make sure we are better prepared for this summer travel season? Answer. The success last summer in keeping wait times to a minimum was due to the collaborative, coordinated effort between TSA, airports, and airlines. Airports contributed significantly--on a voluntary and temporary basis--by providing staff to support non-screening functions. This allowed TSA to focus on its core mission of screening passengers and baggage. Most airports do not have the available funds to provide staff to support TSA functions or for needed infrastructure modernization projects. Even though Congressional approval for TSA to reprogram funds allowed the agency to hire 1,368 new Transportation Security Officers (TSOs), convert 1,865 TSOs from part-time to full-time and utilize additional overtime, TSA was and is understaffed by approximately 4,000 TSOs. Last year, TSA's staffing allocation model demonstrated that security checkpoints around the country were understaffed by thousands of TSOs. Due to existing staffing shortages, for instance, TSA cannot open all the screening lanes at many security checkpoints, including PreCheck lanes. With the continual increase in the volume of passengers and baggage along with growing security demands, TSA needs more resources and screening technology now and in the coming fiscal years. In accordance with Section 3302 of the FAA Extension, Safety and Security Act of 2016, TSA apparently conducted an assessment of its Staffing Allocation Model to determine the necessary number of TSOs at all airports. In order to ensure TSA is adequately positioned to efficiently and effectively screen passengers this coming summer, Congress should provide the agency the authorization and funding necessary to support the appropriate number of TSOs, technology procurement, deployment, and maintenance, and a surge capacity to keep pace with the continued growth in passenger traffic. To provide the funding for additional TSOs and security technology at passenger screening checkpoints, Congress must end the diversion of the 9/11 Passenger Security Fee to pay down the National debt. The 9/11 passenger security fee is supposed to be used for the costs of providing civil aviation security services, including the salary, benefits, and TSO overtime. However, over a 10-year period $12.6 billion of the user fee will be syphoned off to subsidize other Federal programs. With long lines and wait times at TSA security checkpoints, travelers are definitely not getting their money's worth. The entire 9/ 11 passenger security fee should be used to provide TSA funding for the number of TSOs necessary to provide effective and efficient screening of passengers and their baggage. [all]