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tv   TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger Testifies on Airport Security Wait Times  CSPAN  May 25, 2016 10:00am-1:01pm EDT

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>> let me say something as moderator and somebody who's been involved in libya since i went there as a young diplomat in 1969. the whole history of u.s./libyan relations is one of some very, rather brief periods of very intense involvement often violent. our war against tripoli in the beginning of the 19th century, our bombing of tripoli and benghazi in 1986 but also some brief periods of very benevolent involvement -- helping libya become an independent country after the second world war when other people would have just turned them back to the italians and also the role of american oil companies in helping libya
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become prosperous after it had been one of the poorest countries in the world. but basically, if you look at the whole history, it's been long, long periods of neglect and i hope we are turning that around now and that we will be more closely involved in helping the libyans have the kind of future that they deserve. and please join me in thanking our four panelists. next, tsa administrator peter nevinger neffenger testifies about the waiting of screening u.s. air passengers. recently, the agency announced it was transferring agents to larger airports in anticipation of the summer travel season. and yesterday the tsa announced the firing of its head of securi security. starting today, the tsa will be experimenting with a new system
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designed to speed the screening process, including the rerouting of suspicious bags to keep the conveyor belt moving, automatically recirculating baggage bins and separate areas where passengers can take off their shoes. administrator neffenger announced yesterday that the agency would start posting up-to-the-minute, nearly up-to-the-minute wait times at major airports on its my tsa app by the middle of next month.
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the committee on homeland security will come to order.
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committee's meeting today to examine the security challenges brought forth by increased passenger screening, checkpoint wait times. but before i begin my opening statement, i'd like to take a moment of silence for the victims and their families of egyptair 804. i now recognize myself for an opening statement. today we face a crisis at our airports. we've all read the headlines -- three-hour-long security lines, 430 american airlines passengers stranded overnight in chicago o'hare, travelers from atlanta, charlotte and alaska waiting forever to be screened, causing missing flights and further delays. more than 3,000 bags have failed to get loaded on to planes in time to phoenix. an 80% increase in wait times at
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jfk airport compared to this time last year. this is unacceptable, and it is time for congress to act. administrator, the american people are angry and frustrated as we head into the busiest travel season weekend of the year, starting this memorial day weekend, and they deserve answers. this crisis didn't just come out of nowhere. airports and airlines have been sounding the alarm for months. there is no doubt that part of the challenge we face is a high terror threat environment, but wait times are not soaring simply because security is much tighter. it's because the tsa bureaucracy has gotten weaker. the agency has struggled to keep up with the high demand and has been unable to put the right people at the right place at the right time. change is not happening fast enough. admiral neffenger, i know you
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are working hard to reform tsa's broken bureaucracy, and today i hope to hear how you will confront this crisis swiftly. but congress will not sit back as the situation gets worse, and that's why this committee and the house of representatives passed legislation to fix this problem. i commend my colleague for offering these bills. with other legislation, it would accelerate the precheck program, which helps reduce wait times by putting low-risk travelers through expedited screening. unfortunately, the senate has failed to pass these bills, which in my judgment is unconscionable. so today i'd like to send my message to my colleagues in the other body -- it's time to get moving, because the american people are fed up with this. this week we will introduce yet another bill to attack this problem, and i hope that this time we can get it to the
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president's desk more quickly. and in the coming months, we will take a broader look at tsa, including first ever authorization of the agency which will give us an opportunity to make wider reforms and long-term changes. additionally, we plan to take up legislation to enhance tsa's screening partnership program. but as i noted, we must also take into account serious aviation threats that we face. and i think the events of the egyptian airliner demonstrate that and although investigators are still working to determine the cause of egyptair crash, one fact is clear, terrorists are trying to bring down airplanes and the aviation center is their crown jewel target. this month i led a congressional delegation to the middle east and northern africa to examine the spread of terrorist safe havens, and we want to weigh the concern that screening is inadequate at some of the last points of departure airports
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that have direct flights into the united states. for instance, airports like cairo lack full-body scanners to detect nonmetallic ieds, and they lack access to comprehensive terror watch lists for screening their employees. this is a concern, we know, because militants are trying to recruit insiders and inside jobs to take down passenger jets. we've seen this twice in recent months, including an attack in somalia and one against a rush jet flying out of sharm el sheik in egypt. but this is not just a problem in the middle east or northern africa. this past december, charles de gaulle airport in paris, which has 50 direct flights into the united states every day, they fired 70 employees who were suspected of having extremist connections. 70. we have to help our foreign
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partners weed out these extremists. again, the house and this committee passed two bills to ramp up security at overseas airports, and yet again, these bills are sitting in the senate stalling, waiting for action. it is unconscionable. it's time for the senate to act. and the president will sign them into law. we cannot afford further delay because american lives are at risk. and as we adapt to the evolving threat, we must also make sure that agencies like tsa adapt their business models to keep travel flowing smoothly. terrorists would like nothing more than for us to undermine our own economy by allowing air transportation to grind to a halt. admiral neffenger, we've given tsa the resources it asked for to make screening more
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efficient. congress granted a recent request to reallocate $34 million to hire nearly 800 new tsa officers before july and to pay for additional overtime for existing personnel. today we expect you to tell us how you are putting these resources to work and how you're going to address the crisis at our airports once and for all. i want to thank the admiral for being here today. i want to thank you for your service to our country. with that, the chair recognizes the ranking member of the committee. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'd like to thank you for calling today's hearing. i'd also like to welcome administrator neffenger and thank him in advance for his testimony. to be clear, the flying public expects and deserves efficient, safe, secure, reliable air transit. the transportation security administration finds itself at
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the center of the federal government's effort to ensure secure passage of passenger and cargo. as you know, mr. administrator, the importance of this role can hardly be understated. the agency is at a critical point in its short history. tsa is still implementing reforms after covert testing last year revealed serious gaps in security screening. now long lines and record wait times at airport checkpoints are having spillover effects throughout our entire aviation system. passengers are understandably anxious as they hear stories about fellow passengers who despite their best efforts missed flights. asking passengers to arrive three hours before a domestic departure is unacceptable. in addition to the stress on passengers to wear the right
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clothes, decide whether to check a bag, pay exorbitant baggage fees, avoid packing prohibited items and make tight connections, the stress on the flying public is felt most severely by airline and airport personnel. unfortunately, it's the men and women who are the face of tsa who get blamed. the transportation security officers. travel volume substantially increased this year, yet tsa has failed to keep pace with this growth. as a result, there is an insufficient number of transportation security officers in our nation's airport. the current situation where we have too few screeners and far more passengers did not occur without warning. in fiscal year 2011, there were approximately 45,000 tsos
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screening 642 million passengers. in fy 2016, tsa had 6,000 fewer tsos screening roughly 740 million anticipated passengers. almost 100 million more passengers and 3,000 fewer screeners. in the fy 2017 budget, tsa requested funding to hire an additional 320 tsos. to those of us who are familiar with travel volume trends, this did not seem like enough. more recently, tsa, as the chairman indicated, has announced its plan to onboard 768 tsos by june 15. increasing staff and resources is certainly a good thing, but only if the proper vetting and training occur before more tsos
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are added. administrator neffenger, i want to know if tsa has the money necessary to achieve its mission. at secretary johnson's request, congress recently reprogrammed $34 million in tsa accounts to pay for overtime and other costs associated with responding to the wait time crisis. while these funds will surely aid tsa in addressing staff shortages in the short term, moving money around is not a substitute for infusing new money into an operation. tsa should have access to all of the aviation security fees collected by the flying public to bolster security. yet, the passage of the budget act of 2013, tsa is required to divert $13 billion collected in
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security fees toward the deficit reduction for the next ten years. this year alone, $1.25 billion has been diverted. presently, i'm working with representative peter defazio, the ranking member on the transportation committee, in his efforts to ensure that tsa can retain the fees it collects and put them back into our aviation system. in the absence of new money, new resources is absolutely important. congress and tsa must resist band-aid fixes to complicated and well security challenges. patching and plugging holes is not the answer. moreover, dismantling tsa is not the answer. many of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are calling for a return to the pre-9/11 privatization model. mr. chairman, as you've
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indicated also, after the downed egyptian airliner, which is still under investigation, this would not be the way to go. as one prominent airport commissioner recently acknowledged, the benefits of privatization are very marginal, and there's a huge cost in time associated with the transition. we need to look for long-term solution. one solution, as i've indicated and have written a letter to you, mr. administrator, is to assign the nearly 2,500 tsos designated as behavior detection officers to checkpoint screening operation. as you know, the s.p.o.t. program has been subject to a gao review, and it's questionable about its success. but we spent $1 billion on this program, and we can put that
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money to good use. so i look forward, mr. neffenger -- look around the committee room here. all our members use the airports to come to work every week, and i'm sure, like i, they are anxiously awaiting your testimony. i yield back. >> i thank the ranking member. opening statements may be submitted for the record. we're pleased to have here today admiral neffenger on this very important and timely topic. admiral peter neffenger serves as the sixth administrator of the transportation security administration, where he leads security operations at more than 450 airports within the united states and a workforce of almost 60,000 employees. prior to joining tsa, he served as the 29th vice commandant of the united states coast guard and the coast guard's deputy commandant for operations. we thank you, sir, for being
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here today, and we also thank you for your service. your full written statement will appear in the record. the chair now recognizes admiral neffenger. >> thank you, and good morning, chairman mccaul, ranking member thompson, distinguished members of the committee. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. i sincerely appreciate the committee's oversight of tsa's security operations in ensuring that our agency has the appropriate resources to accomplish its important counterterrorism mission. since taking the oath of office on july 4th of last year, i have traveled throughout the country and around the world to meet with employees at all levels of our agency, and they are truly impressive. their patriotism, their sense of duty and their commitment to tsa's national security mission is exemplary. but to ensure their success, we need a mature enterprise that delivers the tools they need to get the job done and unwavering support from their leaders. last week, egyptair flight 804 crashed into the mediterranean, and i wanted to express my sincere condolences to the families of the victims.
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it was a tragic loss of life. and while we don't yet know what happened to that airplane, it is a stark reminder of the importance of tsa's daily mission. first and foremost, our job is to protect the traveling public in what has become a very dynamic and challenging threat environment. the threat is very real. and to that end, in just ten months, i have undertaken a systemic and deliberate transformation of tsa oop i set a renewed focus on security, revised alarm resolution procedures, made investments in new technology and have retrained the entire workforce. we are holding ourselves accountable to high standards of performance, and i'm supporting our front-line officers in their critical mission. we have reinvigorated our partnerships with the airlines, with airport operators in the trade and travel industries and are working closely with congress and this committee to address our security mission. i am investing in our people. and with the help of congress, i directed a complete overhaul of our approach to how we train our workforce at all levels of the agency. we established the first ever tsa academy on january 1st of
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this year. this intensive training will enable us to achieve consistency, develop a common culture, instill our core values and raise performance across the entire workforce. i also ordered a review of all personnel policies and practices. this has led to a number of significant changes -- elimination of the arbitrary use of directive reassignments, restrictions on permanent change of station relocation costs, and significant controls on bonuses at all levels. we are overhauling management practices, conducting an independent review of acquisition programs, building a planning, programming, budgeting and execution process, and building a human capital management system to address recruitment, development, promotion, assignment and retention. the screening mission requires a similar fundamental reassessment. this year we project our checkpoints nationwide will screen some 740 million people. by comparison, in 2013, tsa screened 643 million people. that's an increase of 100
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million people in just four years while our full-time workforce has reduced by more than 12%. that and our renewed focus on security, are significant contributors to the situation we face today. so we have a challenge this summer, which we are aggressively meeting head on. among other things, we have established a national incident command center to specifically monitor checkpoint screening operations on an hourly basis. we are tracking projected volume, staffing and lane availability, actual wait times, which will allow us to address critical concerns in realtime. this command center includes staffing from airlines and critical industry associations, and they are conducting daily calls with the busiest airports and major airlines to plan that day's operations in what we foresee in the coming days. our goals are to ensure effective screening and maximize our screening capacity to achieve shorter line waits. additionally, we are providing more overtime and 768 new tsa officers, and we are also converting, with the help of congress and the reprogramming
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request, our frontline officers from part time to full time, as necessary, to increase, immediately increase screening capacity and help improve retention and morale. and i thank you for supporting these efforts. i've given federal security directors the flexibility to redeploy behavior detention officers to perform additional screening functions, and they have done so and they have pushed the behavioral detection officers back into the screening checkpoints. we have deployed additional canine teams and activated our national voluntary deployment force to be available to move to areas of greatest need. finally, we are now seeing enrollments in tsa precheck that are averaging more than 15,000 new enrollments a day. that's more than almost three times what we saw last year at this time. to intensify our agencywide focus on mission effectiveness, i've brought in new staff from outside the agency. i have a new deputy administrator, a new chief of staff, a new chief of operations, a new head of intelligence and other key positions. i've also directed several leadership and operational changes at the national,
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regional and airport levels. at chicago o'hare, a new leadership team is now overseeing screening operations, and with the support and hard work of the talented workforce at o'hare, immediate adjustments in addition to some infusion from the reprogramming had dramatically improved passenger through-put, even as volume has increased beyond 90,000 passengers each day. i've directed a fundamental review of the staffing structure of our screening operations. we must match operational capacity to the demands of projected and real screening volume, and we are continuing to work closely with the department and congress to adjust our appropriations to allow us to match resources with mission demands. finally, in aggressively pursuing long-term solutions to the growing volume of airline travel, we established an innovation task force earlier this year to explore and develop new approaches to airport security. one example is a public-private partnership in atlanta, where the first two automated lanes became operational this week, and they're already vastly improving screening effectiveness and efficiency,
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and we look forward to the results of the first couple weeks of that operation. we have similar projects and visions for other major airport hubs across the country. the airlines and airports have been huge partners in these efforts. clearly, this summer travel season is going to be busy, and in the short term, tsa, airlines, airports, congress and travelers working together can improve the passenger experience while we maintain security that we need. tsa is dedicated to ensuring better efficiency while remaining acutely focused on our counterterrorism mission. we cannot and will not compromise on the security of the traveling public. my guiding principles, which i expressed in my administrator's intent, are focused on mission, invest in people, and commit to excellence. we are pursuing these objectives every day. as administrator, i will continue to do so until we achieve and sustain success in every aspect of this agency, in every mission, in every office, in every location where we operate and with every single employee. mr. chairman, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today and for the committee's support, and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you, admiral.
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i now recognize myself for questions. let me just say first that we all, all americans experienced the horror on 9/11 of airplanes being turned into cruise missiles and being turned against us, bringing down the world trade center, hitting the pentagon and attempting to hit this building. it still remains the crown jewel of aviation. we know that al qaeda in the arabian peninsula's still intent on this. we know that isis in the sinai is able to pull off sharm el sheik, the downing of a russian airliner. as i mentioned in my opening remarks, i recently had the experience to go to northern sinai where isis exists. i also looked at the cairo airport, which has a daily flight into jfk airport. and i have to say, i'm concerned about the state of security the there. i'm also concerned with the
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state of security at charles de gaulle, where 70 extremists were weeded out of the process, and we have 50 flights per day flying into the united states. this is the external operation that keeps me up at night. can you tell me, sir, what tsa is doing to protect these last point of departure in airports, particularly in these high-threat areas? >> yes, sir. thank you, mr. chairman. and like you, i'm very focused on the safety of inbound flights to the united states. so we look at -- there are a number of things we do for last point of departure airports. first and foremost is working through the international community to continually try to raise global standards to the highest possible level. in addition, with respect to the last point of departure airports, we've put additional standards and requirements in place for any aircraft that intends to fly directly to the united states without any intermediate stops. that includes screening of passengers, screening of cargo, screening of the aircraft itself as well as vetting of any individuals that are on board those flights coming to the
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united states. in addition to that, following the metro jet incident, we put a number of additional security measures in place at certain airports of interest and concern in the region that have added significant additional requirements to aircraft and personnel intending to fly directly to the united states from those lpds. >> well, yeah, there's legislation i mentioned that's sitting in the senate that has not passed will help you and give you authorities to assist these airports overseas with flights coming directly into the united states, and yet, it has not -- it's been stalled. you know, when i didn't see full-body scanners in cairo, that concerns me because of the nonmetallic ied threat. this can be fixed, and we can't even share proper intelligence with the egyptians at that airport to properly vet their own employees and screen passengers. i worry about this, sir, and i hope that i can work with you to
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expedite this process. and i've met with the egyptians, the president and the ambassador. i'm working with them. i think they're working in good faith with the united states to ensure the safety of americans as well. with respect to the lines, in the president's budget request, there's a request for an additional 350 screeners. however, two weeks ago, tsa came back to the congress and asked to have 34 million reprogrammed, and we granted that request for 768 tsos, which will come online i think by the end of june, i hope, or early july. but this was really not our first rodeo. why didn't we see this coming? >> that's a good question, and as you know, when i came on board last year on the heels of the ig's results, it was immediately apparent to me that one of the challenges we were
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going to have is enough screening staff to man the checkpoints effectively. as you recall, we stopped a practice known as managed inclusion, which was the practice of randomly assigning people out of the standard lanes, unvetted individuals, just randomly assigned to the precheck lane. one of the discoveries out of our root cause analysis in working with the ig is that introduced unacceptable risk into the system. in doing that, i knew that that would dramatically increase the number of people back in the standard lanes, and we weren't staffed to the level we needed to man all the lanes possible. so, i came to congress, and congress was very gracious in granting a request to halt any further reductions. we had planned to drop another 1,600 people in fy '16. then when we got the appropriations bill in december, we immediately began to do accelerated hiring. the additional 768 is on top of what we've requested for fy '17. and in my opinion, it is necessary to meet the near-term challenge of the increased volume this summer and then moving forward. so, we've been working very
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aggressively to move that, but as you know, there's a lag associated with getting the funding and then getting it hired, the -- >> and i agree with that, but you have a lot of part-time employees on staff. >> we do. >> and do you intend to make a second request to reprogram monies that have already been appropriated to tsa to move part-time employees to full time? >> well, i think it's important that we move more part-timers to full time because it drops my attrition rate dramatically and it's instant capability that i can put to use. we're working through the administration now on whether there's a need for a second reprogramming request. >> well, i think about 20% of your employees are part time. in my judge, they're already trained to do the job. and it seems to me that would cau cause, overnight would ramp up your personnel force to deal with the long lines. and we know we anticipate those going into the summer season.
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as i mentioned earlier, we plan to introduce legislation. we met with 30 airport authorities -- over 30 airline representatives. they expressed concerns that there was not the proper coordination at the local level with the field security directors at tsa, that they didn't have flexibility, that the staffing model didn't reflect the peak time that the flights were coming in. and in large part, this would solve a lot of these staffing problems if there is better communication at the local level and these local directors were empowered to make decisions based on what's happening at the local airports. do you agree with that? >> i absolutely agree with that. in fact, one of the first things i did last fall when i brought all my federal security directors together for the first time is to direct them to take responsibility for their local region. i've given them full authority.
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i like institutionalizing ideas like that so that they stay, because i think that's an important way to go forward. >> and that's what this legislation would do. it would require tsa to basically assess its staffing allocation model and also mandate that they get local input from the airlines and the airports. would you agree with that? >> absolutely. in fact, that's what we're doing right now and i'd like to make that a permanent practice at tsa. >> another element in the bill is the tsa's behavioral detection officers who roam around the airport. there are about 3,000 of them. if they can be redeployed to the front screening end process, to me that would help solve a lot of these problems. i think the ranking member mentioned this in his opening statement. do you agree that that would be an appropriate response? >> well, we are redeploying the behavioral detection officers now. i think it's also important to note that behavioral detection is still an important element, but it's how you use it effectively i think that matters. and so, i can use those officers directly at things like
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document-checking positions to serve as divest officers, places where they can still monitor and look at behavior, but at the same time, directly contribute to the efficiency of the checkpoint. >> and finally, do you support -- well, i can't say -- do you support the concept of expanding tsa's precheck program, which i think would move a lot of people in the long lines into the precheck lines, which i think would solve many of these problems as well. >> absolutely. in fact, that's one of my fundamental priorities is to dramatically expand the precheck population and dramatically expand the capability to enroll people in precheck. >> and sir, i know they're putting a lot of blame on you for this crisis, but we passed a bill out of this committee to expand the tsa precheck program, which would have helped this situation, and it is sitting there in the senate, stalled in the senate. they could have helped this problem months ago, and it's unconscionable that the senate
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hasn't acted on this. and i call upon the senate. sometimes they don't listen to us in the house. but for the sake of the american people, it's time for the senate to act on this important legislation. with that, i now recognize the ranking member. >> thank you, mr. chairman. cedric, put the chart up. i have a chart that kind of crystallizes what i think is the challenge that tsa is faced with. in fy '11, we had 45,000 tsos, 642 million passengers. fy '16, we have 740 million passengers and only 42,500 tsos. i guess the question that comes
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to mind, what do you think the number of tsos you need to address the problem we are faced with now? >> well, thank you for the question. i do think that we are at a lower staffing level than we need to be to meet peak demands at peak periods, and we're working the staffing models now aggressively with the airlines to determine the right number. we're also looking to see what kinds of efficiencies we can gain in just the way we deploy people. so we found in chicago, for instance, that we converted 100 part-timers to full time. that's an instant gain of a workforce. we're using overtime hours to effectively convert additional part-timers to full time. and we added -- we're adding a total of 250 officers over the summer, 58 right now. that in conjunction with some operational adjustments we have made have dramatically improved the situation in chicago. so i think that -- i don't have an exact number for you right now because we're reworking our
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staffing models completely to look at the way in which the airlines do it, but i do know that we need a higher staffing level than we currently have. >> and i look forward to you coming up with the number. do you have presently the resources to address the problems of wait time and other things presently within your budget? >> the reprogramming quest has helped considerably, because it's allowed me to immediately put resources. right now, the most effective approach is to get part-time to full-time, so that i can get trained people working longer hours who want to work longer hours, who would like to be full time. that reduces my attrition rate, so it increases my ability to avoid churn. and then it allows me to redeploy some of my canine teams to the airports of highest need. that addresses the problem in the top airports, but i don't want to see the problem cascade across the system, which is why we're looking at the potential
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for whether a second reprogramming request is needed to hire additional. >> thank you. some people are saying that the wait time has increased substantially after the airlines implemented baggage fees, that people rather than paying the fees are taking additional baggage on to the planes to avoid the cost. and therefore, the wait time getting to the plane increases because of the increase in baggage. have you all looked at that as an issue? >> well, i will tell you, we see about four times the number of baggage coming to the checkpoint to get checked. and volume at the checkpoint, you know, the volume of carry-on bags puts a lot of pressure on checkpoint operations. so we've been working aggressively with the airlines to first enforce the one plus one rule. we think that's very important, because if you bring four things through the checkpoint, a couple
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of those things are probably going to get gate-checked, anyhow. >> well, i think one thing we ought to look at as a committee, the airlines are making several billion dollars annually off those fees. and if that has contributed to the wait times and additional things, i think we ought to look and see if they can make a contribution toward this effort to alleviate the wait times. i think that's a reasonable thing for us to look at, and i look forward to this committee looking at that as a possibility. i was glad to hear your analysis of the bdos. there have been a lot of comment and criticism, quite frankly, about their use. and so, now if they're being deployed to address this crisis,
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i compliment you on doing that. with this wait time issue where we are, can you tell me what the airlines are doing to help address this problem as far as tsa is concerned? >> yeah, i've been very pleased with what the airlines have been aggressively doing lately. quite a few of the airlines have been hiring contract staff to take nonsecurity duties, everything from sitting at the exit plains -- that frees up a tso to get back on a checkpoint -- providing people to run the bins from one end of the line back to the beginning of the line, doing what's called divest officer duties. that's the individual who reminds people to take off their shoes and their belt and so forth. turns out that's a pretty important position because a lot of people forget to do it, and that can slow things down if you don't have -- if you're not prepared by the time you get there. so, that's been very helpful.
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they're also providing people out in front of the checkpoints to direct people to other checkpoints. what we'll find is oftentimes, particularly in airports where you have limited, you know, limited physical space in which to operate, you have multiple small checkpoints that you can't see from one to the other. and sometimes you'll get a big line in one and there will be nobody in the next, but human psychology is such that once you're in a line, you don't want to leave that line to go to another one because you might find yourself in a longer one. so catching them before they get in line is important. and finally, the other thing they're helping us do with the huge increase in enrollments we've seen in precheck, we have a lot of people who still walk into a standard line, not recognizing that that's not going to be an automatic precheck lane, so you've got to scrub the standard lines to pull people out. as many as 15% of the daily passengers we're finding are walking into a standard lane by mistake. and you've got to get them out of there. so the airlines have been very helpful in that respect. >> thank you. yield back, mr. chair.
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>> thank the ranking member. chair recognizes mr. king from new york. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, admiral, for your testimony tuned for your service. in new york, my understanding is that at jfk airport, there's an 82% increase in the -- increased maximum time between 2015 and 2016. whether that's 82 or 72, it's still extraordinarily high. can you quantify what impact you expect from the additional officers you're going to be sending there? in other words, 82 will become 72, 52? is there any way you can make the equivalency between the additions and the sub extractions? -- subtractions? >> i don't know if i can put a percentage on it for you, but i can tell you we're already seeing a dramatic improvement at jfk. for example, yesterday, the maximum line wait we saw -- and it was just a spike -- was 39 minutes in a standard lane. and the maximum time we saw in a precheck lane was five minutes. so we're already seeing a
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dramatic improvement there. we have watched that very carefully. we want to make sure that we see that every day. you have very high volume coming through jfk yesterday -- >> is that because of the personnel or -- >> it's a combination of changing in some operational procedures, so using the personnel more effectively. one of the things that this national incident approach, this national approach to it allows us to rapidly move good ideas around the system. and it's also the combination of some new personnel coming in, shifting some dog teams there. dog teams help considerably in terms of moving passengers. >> again, if we can try to quantify, your original goal under 25 million for precheck, it's nine or ten right now. if you got to 25, what impact would that have? >> i think it could dramatically transform the system, because then you would have many, many lanes open. then that would represent roughly 50% of the daily traveling volume if you got to 25 million people. and you could keep many more lanes open in precheck.
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you could run the dogs more effectively in the locations where you still had high volume, but it would be on a smaller crowd of people. so, if we can continue to grow that population, i think that's the way. and the other thing it does for me is it gives me a trusted -- a known population. that's much more important, particularly in today's world. >> the chairman mentioned egypt airlines. and maybe this is slightly off topic. but he also mentioned the insider threat. can you just say what you're doing on that? i know last year there was the ig report, the chairman mentioned charles de gaulle airport, where they had the 85 personnel. we have almost a million people behind the scenes that are insiders. how effective is our vetting process for them? >> well, i think it's far more effective this year than it was even last year. so, we've screened -- we've always screened everybody. there's, as you said, just under a million people who hold badge access of some type to an airport. it's not universal badged access, and there are varying levels of access.
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each one of those individuals is continuously vetted against the terrorist screening database. since december of this year, we now have full access to the so-called tide categories. this is the extended database of interest that doesn't necessarily indicate that you're connected to a known or suspected terrorist, but there may be indicators. we now do recurrent vetting against that as well. we're piloting a project with delta air lines in two large airports to do now recurrent vetting against criminal databases, the so-called fbi wrapback program. the current requirement is every two years. i want that to be recurrent as well. assuming that goes well, then we will implement that full time by the end of the calendar year, and that will be continuous vetting against the criminal databases as well. >> so, are there training procedures in place for cooperation between the tsa personnel and the armed police at the airports? because tsa obviously is not armed, they can't make arrests.
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if they do spot something, how quick is the time response with the police officers? >> well, it can vary by airport, but we've got duress alarms at every checkpoint on every single lane of every checkpoint in the nation. we completed the installation of those just before the end of the calendar year. we train every day with police departments. in fact, i just met with the association of law enforcement officers at their annual conference, and one of the topics was a discussion for consistent training across. and it's everything from active shooter training to response to emergencies to clearing contraband items that are discovered at the checkpoint. but i think we have a very good relationship, particularly in the largest airports where the potential for greatest concern can be. >> well, you have nothing else to do. if you can do me a favor and check out what the relationship is between tsa and the port authority police of new york. >> yes, sir, i will. >> thank you very much. i yield back. >> the chair recognizes ms. sheila jackson lee.
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>> i thank the chairman and the ranking member for this hearing. admiral, thank you again for your service. i've often said in this committee and said to tsos and others that the transportation security administration are the first responders of aviation security, and i believe that's important to convey to your management, to you and to certainly the line officers, supervisors and others who go out every day to do this great work. i also want to acknowledge the chairman and ranking member of this committee, because they have led an enormously bipartisan committee that's only focus or main focus is the security of the nation. this makes this a pleasant experience, because we are committed to getting the job done, if you will. we want to get the job done with you. and so, i want to emphasize a thought that it's difficult to call yourself the reprogrammed government. it's hard to reprogram for infectious disease.
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it's hard to reprogram for military. it's hard to reprogram for the security of the nation, particularly in aviation security. so i understand that we may be getting 700 tsos coming this summer. i want to follow the line of questioning that our ranking member had with this particular graph here, and it is stark between 2011 and fy '16, particularly with the increase in travelers. and i think we might get any more. so, i understand we may be getting 700. i understand at a point we may be getting 1,600 and then 2,500. can you put that in perspective when these numbers will come to add to the tsos? >> yes, ma'am. the 768 we're hiring right now should all be on board by june 15th. so, we're hiring them now. so they're rolling into the system. but we should have them all trained and on board by june 15th. >> june 15th, all right. >> that's right. and then they will add to that. that's in addition to the normal
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hiring that we're already doing. so, that's on top of the 200 new officers a week that we're putting out of training currently. >> so is that 16 can we expect 162,500 -- >> the 1,600 was the number i was scheduled to lose in fy 16. congress allowed me to keep that number. >> that's somewhat of a plus, you didn't lose them. >> yes, ma'am. >> what's the ta -- >> 768 is the plus on top of the 1,600 we would have lost. we had already cut some into that number to meet the fy 16 targets. >> does that make the 2,500 additional or -- obviously 16 and 7 is 23. what do you think you're going to get in fy 16? >> we'll keep the 1,600, plus the 768 on top of that. so that gives us roughly, 2,300,
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2,400 or so. >> does that include the potential reassignment, redeploying of bdo's which i think is an excellent idea, particularly having them be at a point where they can assess almost every individual that comes through. >> that gives me additional capability on that of that. that's real capability right now. we're moving those in right now. then the conversion of part-time to fulltime. we have quite a few part timers that would love to be full time. but eventually they can't wait long enough for a full time position to open. we have a high attrition rate. >> let me ask you a series of questions. i congratulate you on flexing one of my concerns is training, not only the new recruits but the existing tso's. that ties into the numbers we reflected on dealing with accuracy, i'll make that general point. i'd be interested in your work on accuracy and also on the
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training. i would hope that we could actively engage in training, exmilitary and i indicated college recruits. i'd like you to comment on that. the last question is, chicago was the epicenter. everybody's eyes were on chicago besides arizona and the equipment failure. if you can finish your questions by saying what is the immediate response to chicago? which was an example of what other cities are facing. >> immediate in chicago -- this is -- when i talk about chicago we're also doing the same thing at the other top airports. chicago was preventible incident, in my opinion. when you look at what happened, this was a surge that was anticipated, it was known. it was a failure to get things done in advance of that. we've proved that by fixing it pretty quickly. in chicago, among other things, we had already planned to put additional officers in there. of that 768, 58 of those
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individuals are coming into chicago by the end of this week. there will be a total of 58 new. we converted 100 of our part-time officers to fulltime officer and pushed a lot of overtime hours so they can use overtime hours. you have to be careful with overtime, it's effective of taking part-timers and giving them more hours, many of them want those. we moved additional k-9's, these were teams we planned to be moving. we accelerated the move into chicago. the total of that has resulted in a significant change in the chicago picture. the chicago tribune said wait times were order. with targeted additional resources, efficient use of the resources and a management team that understands how to run that daily tactical operation, you can make a big difference. that's what we're doing at each
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of the big airports. >> recruitment? >> fortunately right now we do not have trouble meeting our targets. we have large pool of people that have been prevetted. that's why we were able to rapidly hire the 768. we had a large pool of available applicants that had been screened that were looking for work. i still want to work on bringing more of that back in house than is currently done. we work through a private contractor to do our hiring and recruiting flight. >> i'll get your other answers in writing regarding the institute that -- in georgia -- about how you can utilize that better. let me conclude by thanking the tso's all across america for the great surervice they do for thi nation. >> chair recognizes mr. rogers from alabama. >> thank you mr. chairman. admiral thank you for being here and your service for our
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country. i think you're a good man, a competent man who has been given an impossible task to administer the tsa. the tsa has wallowed in its own bureaucracy for more than a decade. over that period of time it's built up bad habits that have come to fester. you spoke in your opening statement about making the tsa more responsive organization, lean and smarter. i want to help you do that. to that end i plan to introduce tsa to a security focused organization by reforming and greatly expanding the screening partnership program. having worked on these issues for more than a decade, i've seen that tsa can do a mission when it's given a clear succinct mission. my bill will allow airports to hire private contractors capable of making day-to-day operations and making tsa the driving force
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to oversee. these changes will get more out of your organization than any summer rush band aid could do. you can build effective strategies instead of trying to decide who is going to work the morning shift at reagan airport. i want to talk to you about this program. last year the gao determined tsa is not fairly comparing the cost of government run screening operations with their privately run sbp counterparts. in november i requested that tsa release more accurate cost data to congress and gao. your agency promised to deliver that information within six months but it never came. march i asked you personally for the data during a budget hearing and sent a letter to remind you of that. it hasn't showed up. it's been 191 days since i requested that information. can you tell me when i'm going to receive the accurate cost comparison gao says we need to
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get. >> yes. gao set a deadline to the hend of june. we're working closely with them in order to meet the deadline. we're on target. we've been meet ing with gao g regularly and that it meets the recommendation they made as well as an accurate accounting of the costs. because i need the same thing. >> by the end of june i can count on seeing that? >> yes, sir we're on target to meet that deadline. >> excellent. next you talked about the k-9 screening programs. i'm a big fan of that technology, i believe it's the most effective that we have in our toolbox. but i went out to lackland a couple months ago, i've been out there several times. but i was looking at some of the training they're doing, what you refer to as passenger screening k-9's. that's been held out to tsa to me as being the same as vapor weight k-9's. in fact what i saw was nothing
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comparable to vapor weight k-9's. they were training k-9's to work the lines at an airport. which means you have to go up to the passenger, the k-9 has to smell them personally or right at them. as you know from vapor weight technology k-9 technology we use at the capitol, union station, grand central station in washington, many places the k-9 doesn't have to come close to the passenger. they can detect the air 15 or 20 minutes after a passenger has disturbed it. can you tell me why that's being done at lackland in such a narrow scope instead of vapor weight training? >> here's how i understand it. and i've cautioned i'm speaking without the benefit of an expert next to me. when you look at a passenger screening line, it's a slightly different dynamics, you've got
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an enclosed line of people. as i watch those dogs operate, what they're doing is -- if you notice they're moving their head around a lot. they're checking for vapor. we typically put enclosed panels next to the stanchians where possible, or enclose the checkpoint behind a panel. the dog is doing two things, it's both checking the vapor as somebody goes by then but it's sniffing the general vapor in the air. my understanding is they had to modify it somewhat for the very specific nature of the way people line up in queues. le let me get a more complete answer for you. >> that's fine. that's much better than doing nothing and much better than the equipment we use. as you know, you can put these assets out in a foyer area before people even get to the line. and they can detect the air that's been disturbed by somebody who has walked by in
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15, 20 minutes without having to come up to a person. that's a valuable deterrent. and putting in past the checkpoint in case the machine doesn't detect something. these are assets that don't have to come up to the person. and unfortunately, for some people it's uncomfortable to have a dog come up and smell them. wouldn't bother me. i'm from alabama. some folks would be bothered by it. with that i yield by, mr. chairman. >> thank you. chair recognizes mr. longaman. >> thank you mr. chairman. admiral thank you for your testimony and service to our country. i rugragree with my colleague y have an impossible task on your hands but an important one. the wait times at airports are unacceptable. my constituents and people around the country are demanding quicker lines. i know that is our goal.
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one of the priorities you and secretary johnson laid out as part of your ten point plan is doubling down on rnd tsa. i appreciate that the promise of new technology to expedite screening, but can you preview s some of what we can expect? >> i do think we need to do a better job of both research, development and incentivizing the private sector to come forward with ideas. here's an example of i think what we can see, if you look at the atlanta airport today. we opened two new automated screening lanes down there. this is not something new, it's been in use in europe for a number of years. but these are -- you think about a standard lane, you walk up to a lane, there's a table there. put your stuff up on the table and slide it along the table until you can engage the conveyer belt. it's an automatic system. it's got an rfid tag and code that ties it to you.
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there's a photograph taken of yourself and an x-ray. there are five stations at which people can line up. you don't have to go single file. take five people at a time. they cycle in as they fill their bins up and it goes through. london heathrow has said they've seen anywhere from a 20% 25% increase in throughput at the same level of effectiveness. so we're very excited about that. as you look at increasing passenger volumes, at some point, you reach capacity with a manual system then you have to look to automate things. the tsa needs to work closely with the system to get it more automated and bring more technology in. >> can i ask you on the automated part so i'm clear. that part is automated but there's a still a human in the loop actually looking at what's in the carry on baggage being screened? >> somebody is reading an x-ray right now.
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we're also working with software companies to determine how effective machines can become at identifying prohibited items so you can put humans into the work that humans do best and at the same time moving machines to what they do best. we're looking at changing the way we do identity matching. i look at -- when i look around an airport and see the kiosks that distribute boarding passes. if you can get id technology in there there's things we can do that can automate the identity check process as well >> let me shift over to one of the -- i may come back to technology in a minute. so tsa is publicly stated its goal for precheck is having 25 million enrollees, my colleague, mr. king, asked about the enrollees in the precheck system what that would mean if we had 25 million. right now currently tsa only has
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2.76 million people enrolled. what is tsa's plan for expanding precheck to further reach that goal of 25 million enrollees? >> i want to clarify the 25 million is trusted travellers, global entry, nexus and century. we're at about 9.5 million of total trusted travellers. they have enrolled in some program with the federal government. there are a couple things we need to do. first of all is to expand the enrollment opportunities. we don't have enough enrollment centers out there l. we currently have one vendor, that provides the contract enrollment services. hoping to expand that this year to additional vendors under a new contract. the second thing is to make those centers more available to do more mobile enrollment to streamline further the application process. we have an online application process but you have to show up to do your fingerprints. we're work ing with airlines and traveller reward programs, many
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of the airlines are now offering mile redemption for precheck. microsoft corporation recently bought precheck for all of its travellers. and many of the travel reward programs are providing the ability to trade in your miles or points for precheck. >> so currently to enroll in precheck an individual has to pay a fee of $85 to be enrolled for five years. however, for those that fly once or twice a year, this may not be feasible or practical and could distract from the efforts to broaden enrollment. has tsa thought of alternatives to paying $85 for precheck? can you detail any thoughts on that? >> those fees go directly to cover program costs right now. it's -- it would be challenging to -- under the existing contract, to change the fee structure. we encourage people to look if they're members of trusted traveller programs of some sort, there's opportunities being offered through various programs to get direct reimbursement or
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vouchers for precheck. >> my time has expired. if you could on a follow up, perhaps in writing going back to the technology issue. in deploying new screening technology, i wonder how we can insure we avoid the mistakes of ait, so i know my time has expired. but i'll yeield back. >> chair recognizes mr. perry. >> thank you: let's talk about bonuses, tsa requested almost $80 million for bonuses and performance awards for fy 2017. as i'm sure you're aware it's been revealed that the assisted administrator received almost $90,000 in bonuses over a 13 month period. let's start with -- what -- how -- what do you do to get a bonus? what did the assistant administrator do to receive $90,000 in just bonus, right? we're talking, you know, i don't know what the rate is for an inspector, but at least one.
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we could hire one with the bonus. what i think most of the american people view as a historic critical failure right now looking at the lines and the throughput. i wonder what you got to do to get a bonus at tsa and they're wondering what you got to do. >> i wasn't here then. when i discovered that, in my opinion that's unjustifiable. it's appropriate to have the ability to reward good performers in any line of business. so my belief is first of all you follow existing policy in opm. i eliminated the practice of multiple bonuses to any one individual. i've dramatically changed that. my goal is to push more reward bonuses out to the people in the organization that do some of the real front line work. i can't justify the level of bonuses that were provided in the past. i can tell you i stopped that. i watch it very carefully and
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put significant management controls on it, including requiring oversight by the department of homeland security of anything. i don't want anything happening inside tsa when it comes to bonuses to senior executives. >> so the program does still exist, i think -- >> it's program across the federal government. >> right. do you know if you do know, how much was spent by tsa last year on bonuses? i'm trying to juxtapose that with $34 million reprogramming for 768 inspectors and trying to get a -- >> i don't ofthave the number. i'll get you the number. i don't have off the top of my head. >> attendance and leave, and one of the things was found that penalties for misconduct and failure to attend were lower than tsa's own guidance and
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recommendations. let me just ask you this, if you know. do unexcused absences create problems in staffing, and staffing checkpoints? >> it can. it depends on what the reasons are for it, but if you have significant numbers of unexpected -- it will dramatically affect your ability to staff. >> so, of course, that is directly correlated to increase wait times if folks aren't there. do you know if that's something that has impacted to the point that you are taking a look at it. >> one of my concerns if we don't have staff in place when we expect to have them in place, what's the reason behind that. did we give people leave when we shouldn't have, or did they just not show up? if they didn't show up what would be the reason for that. that's part of the calculus to determine how you're ready for a daily operation. >> do you know what some of the disciplinary actions for employees with excessive
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tardiness, what actions you would take, the reports said they the penalties for misconduct in the past had been lower than generally -- the own guidance by tsa? >> you know, as i look at it, i think back to my military experience, when you get guidance, sometimes that guidance will give you the maximum penalty allowable. and you may or may not need to assign that. so i think it really is a case by case look, if you've got specific cases that you're interested in, i'll be happy to take that for the record. but my opinion there may be a valid reason why somebody doesn't show up on time even if it shows you real problems for them not showing up. maybe they should have called, they didn't call. the level of discipline or punishment you give really is a case by case study. it's hard to give a blanket. >> reporter: i understand. i was looking for a range. you probably know the subcommittee i chair were conducting our investigation into the misconduct.
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of course, the penalties associated with correlation with increased wait times. we'll be looking forward to work ing with you. >> i'm very interested in this problem. i want to get to the root of management issues throughout the organization. >> appreciate your time. thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> the chair recognizes ms. watson coleman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank administrator neffenger. you have an incredibly difficult job. i'm glad that you're the one that's in it. i'm very concerned about the wait times. i really do believe that the airlines by allowing people to carry two and three bags instead of one bag when they're carrying one to the -- on the aircraft contributes to the wait and the amount of time it takes to go through the lines. i know you need additional resources and i'm really interested in knowing at some point, the answer to mr. thompson's question, about how many do you think that you need. i know that it's uneven
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sometimes in going through even a precheck lines where they're telling you take your shoes off and take your belt off. i thought that's why i was in precheck. i wouldn't have to do that. so i'm happy you are training people now. and i've got an issue. i've got a question about this issue of partnerships. because there have been a few instances where airports have threaten to privatize as an alternative to federalized screeners which i'm more comfortable with. there have been articles and statements for those who believe the spp provides marginal if any benefit in terms of reducing wait times, is there any measurable difference between the use of screening partnerships, programs verses f federalized screeners or is the problem a resource problem that would be share would the tsa and private screeners alike. and can we be certain they would be equally concerned with the security measure as they would
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be with the convenience of getting through the lines quicker. >> it's important to understand even a private screening contractor work ts for the tsa. it's contracted to the government and it's a tsa management staff that runs it. from my perspective, the national security is a federal function. you need national standards when it comes to that. in my mind, the -- look at performance, it's roughly the same. we train them to the standards. they train at our tsa academy. from my perspective, the flexibility i get with a federal work force, these are tso's who have volunteered to be deployable. for surge events and others. we have 250 of those. i can do that with a federal work force i can't reach into a private work force without working a contract issue. and so if i need to surge, it gives me the ability to do that. i can also move personnel more
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rapidly from place to place as i need to. from my perspective that's a benefit as a manager of having a worth for work force that works for me versus contracted to me. >> you talked about the fact there's only one vendor you work with on the precheck program. and that the $85 that one has to pay really only covers the administrative expenses. so when you are going to expand this opportunity to other vendors, do you think that that will create competition and reduce the cost associated with that? >> i really hope so. that was one of the things we built into the request for proposal was to look for ways to reduce the fee. and i think competition can do that. >> or if not reduce the fee, at least allow some of that fee to be used to insure you have the reserts resources you need to do the job that needs to be done. >> what we looked for were
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flexible options for how you would fund this and pay for it in a different way. >> tso employees, i know that the part-time employment is something you really have a lot of turnover in because people need fulltime jobs. but i'd like to know how much an incoming tso gets as a full time employee? what is that salary s. >> i don't want to get the number wrong off the top of my head. let me get you the number for the record. i want to say it's around $30,000. let me get that number for the record. >> do you have a high turn over for fulltime employees? >> no, it's pretty staple. we have a 25% turn over. >> one of the colleagues
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mentioned the problem you have with the police, singling the port authority police of new york and new jersey. i had meetings with them. they tell me there is one police officer assigned to a terminal. do you find that there's enough police capacity and support in the terminals? >> i've been looking at that pretty hard. as i travel around i meet with various law enforcement agencies that work in the airports. some have more capacity than others. al no doubt about that. but i'm finding in the large airports that for the most part, they understand their mission, they take it seriously. they're working in the public areas of the airport. we have a reimbursement program which reimburses them for the time they spend around the checkpoints. we put duress alarms around the checkpoint to insure a rapid response as possible. >> mr. neffenger i need you to know that i agree you've got an extremely important job to do.
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for me, i don't care sometimes about being inconvenient. i want to get on an airplane and know i get there safely. i appreciate what you have to contend with. i want to make sure that i understand what you need so that i can fight for what you need to make sure we are safe and that your agency has resources it needs. >> yes, ma'am. >> thank you very much. i yield back. >> chair recognizes the chairman of the transportation subcommittee, mr. cetco. >> thank you, mr. chairman. good morning, i want to state preliminaryarily i appreciate the effort we're working on with my subcommittee, we met the other day at your offices . i appreciate your commitment to trying to get things done and putting politics aside. i appreciate that. something piqued my curiously, the fees surrounding the precheck. there is a precheck sitting
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there because the senator wants the checks to go to the treasury. tell me, what does that $85 go towards? >> it primarily covered the full program cost. there's a component that reimburses the fbi for the background checks they do. that's a fixed fee the fbi charges to connect the background checks. there is a component of the fee that covers tsa's administrative costs because it's a self-funding program. it pays for the overhead and the staff and the administrative staff to do that. and then the bulk of the fee then goes to the vendor to cover their costs. both the physical enrollment centers and their personnel. >> if that $85 was taken away and gone -- goes to the general treasury, who would pay for all those costs? would it be tsa? >> we'd have to find the money someplace. >> so $85 is in fact the cost, and you want to enroll ten more people, that means $850 million you would have to find somewhere
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else in your budget, is that right? >> that's right. yes, sir. >> it's kind of insane, isn't it? >> i like self-funded programs. the bottom line, the bill that's sitting over at senate, i want to make sure i understand it directs tsa to work with the private sector to have competition in the precheck program. that would help drive cost downs, that's the goal. with that being said do you believe that bill would help you achieve higher numbers with precheck? >> it codifies what we're trying to do right now, which is to increase competition in the private sector with the hope of that competition driving the cost down. >> okay. good enough. now with respect to -- i want to talk about the bonuses that were given out. is there a system at tsa that subordinates can nominate superiors for bonuses. >> there was a system that allowed that. that system doesn't exist under
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nigh leadership. >> you stopped that. >> yes. >> i commend you for deoing tha. i don't understand how deaths. >> right now, it requires approval by mean and then seconding by the department for any bonuses awarded to senior executives. >> i want to expand a little bit here. rko, international organization that certifies a minimum level of competence for airports. >> that's correct. >> if somebody hits that that's all you care about? >> we're signatory to the iko treaty. that sets a standard around the world for security. from my perspective i think you have to continuously pay attention to these standards and try to drive them up higher. and in fact i recently met with the iko counsel in montreal. there's a general assembly this year. i pushed for an aggressive security agenda and we plan to continue to drive that.
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in advance of that, we look at every place that services the u.s. directly and we put a significant additional requirements in place to insure we're comfortable with the screening and overview standards that they're using. >> okay. i want to ask a couple things about that want with respect to the last point of departure airports, you know we have a bill that's been submitted. it's in the senate now awaiting approval. that's what i'm interested in this area a little bit. how important are these to have body scanners at the airports? >> i think body scanners may be the right answer depending on where you're looking. i'm concerned with are they effectively screening. i can understand why some places might not have a full body scanner. if they don't have one they have to have other things in place to be ekwivl rquivalent to that. there's lots of other means to do that. >> explosive trace detection equipment important to have at
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these airports? >> again, if -- we like to see that. we've been working with iko and other foreign partners to push that equipment out. in the absence of that i want to see additional requirements that would make up for the lack of that as we try to build the capacity. >> document verification machines, trying to authent case documen documents? >> if somebody is flying into the united states i want to know who they are. >> if you had an airport that didn't have body scanners and didn't have explosive trace detection equipment, didn't have document verification machines, and had troublesome, if not incompetent k-9 teams those types of airports have those things lacking would they be a cause to concern to you? >> i want to be sure they meet appropriate standards for us. >> last thing i'll ask about this, and that is the personnel
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at the airports, is it important for you to know how the personnel are trained and whether or not they're giving adequate security background checks? >> that's part of what we try to verify who we go into foreign last points of departure, are they meeting standards. >> thank you very much. i yield back. >> chair recognizes mr. payne. >> thank you mr. chair. ranking member. administrator neffenger, you have -- have a very difficult job here. i just want you to know that a lot of us appreciate your efforts in making sure that the final checkpoint before our citizens get on to airplanes are safe. along with the tso's. you indicated that the tso's
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with the behavioral detection training are being integrated into checkpoint as document checkers. you said that the fsd's have been granted unprecedented flexibility. would you have a problem with the fsd's using a bdo for a checkpoint screening yourself? >> if they determine that's their highest need at that moment i have no problem with that. they have that authority to do that. >> okay. in april the faa announced that they would be redesignating a newark airport, which is in my district as a level two slot controlled airport in november. increasing the number of flights arriving and departing from the hub fr hub. how is tsa prepared to deal with the larger number of passengers
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that will come in with this designation. i know there have been great efforts over the past week to alleviate some of the time in newark. we appreciate you looking at that and trying to be helpful as possible. but if this comes in october, naturally, you know what we've done to this point will need to be reevaluated and looked at again. i know several tso's are coming online as well. as we move forward. but what would you do to take a look at that, knowing this is going to change? >> yes, sir, and in fact, what this increased collaboration with the airlines and the airports is helping us to foresee problems like this in a way we hadn't in the past. i don't want to get caught by surprise by something like that. as you say, if you increase
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flights dramatically, you've got -- we've got to be prepared to receive those. we've been working very closely with the airlines and that airport to understand what that might look like. when we think we'll begin to see that so we can get in advance of that. a couple of the major airlines there are already considering some things they might do with respect to increased automation at the checkpoint, increasing the availability of checkpoint lanes. we're pushing resources into newark and will continue to do so. >> we had an incredible subcommittee hearing just the other day. we had several of the airports come in and really share with us. i think with the chairman there, i heard a willingness to try to work with tsa on these issues. and they were quite a few major airports and hubs that were here to speak.
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so moving forward, we'd like to continue to get that collaboration that we think that might not have been there to this point. or not to the level that it needs to be. and let me just say also, i've been echoing this every opportunity. i've gotten the past several days, we really need to look at our tso's. and see what the compensation level is for themselves. they have a very important job. they're the last line of defense for some catastrophic situation to happen. and i don't know how many people can raise a family on what we might think is $30,000 in this country. we need to even look at the
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compensation of the tso's. and understanding that they have a thankless job, first of all. they're on the front lines. and they should be compensated in a manner which is the importance of their job is. thank you. >> i agree. >> chair recognizes ms. mcsally. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you admiral neffenger. at the beginning of your testimony you said your first point of focus is a focus on the mission. i pulled up your mission statement for tsa and it says protect the nation's transportation systems to insure freedom of movement for people and commerce. i've been reading reports your agents in the midst of the crisis of making sure the increasing terrorism threat that people are able to fly safe. we don't have another terrorist attack in america. and that also people are able to move quickly to get to where they need to be. but i've seen reports that your agents are being pulled to support things like presidential
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campaign events, concerts, sporting events, and other things. i don't see that anywhere within your core mission and your core responsibilities. so my first question is, under what authority is tsa screening americans on their way into a sporting, concert or presidential campaign rally? where does that fit into the priorities? of everything we've heard today about the importance of keeping our transportation safe and making sure that people can get there in a timely manner in this crisis, where is the priority of supporting these events that have nothing to do with your core mission? >> right now, we provide support to secret service when they ask under an intergovernmental service agreement. we have detailed -- i shouldn't say detailed. we have 75 people on stand by to assist with presidential security events over the course of the summer. we will -- >> presidential or campaign? >> this will be likely asked to
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do this at the convention, where the -- >> the reports has been over 250 events that tsa agents have been supported. >> we have supported events around the country. i've been working with the people who are asking us to let them know we're in our own crisis right now. we would like to have as many people back as possible. >> you don't get to say no? >> with secret service we support that that's an important mission. for the federal government we're the screening experts. >> it's important to make sure that people are attending large scale events are safe. i don't see that within the core competency of tsa and your mission, do you agree? >> our core mission is transportation security, yes, ma'am. >> would you agree if we can work on a better way to make sure people going to concerts are safe while allowing you to focus on your core mission? >> i would like to be fully focused on my core mission. >> thank you. i sent you a letter on april 12th asking a number of questions relate today the issues that are at our hearing
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today. i asked if you would get back to me on 26. 29 days ago. i was wondering when i might be getting an answer to the letter. >> i'm not sure why you don't have an answer. >> i ask for consent to put my letter into the record and ask the admiral to respond in writing. >> without objection that's so ordered. >> tomorrow, a subcommittee is going to be holding a hearing bringing representatives of airports. we had a very fruitful and vigorous discussion last week. a couple things that we're seeing going on in a small airport like tucson, people are paying $85 to go through precheck. they're giving biometric information to the government and showing up at the airport and the precheck lane is closed. two terminals, and on average the precheck lines are open five hours a day total. with little to no flexibility. this is concern we're hearing
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from around the country. if people are going to spend the money to go through it the precheck lane needs to be open. are you aware of this problem? >> i am aware of that issue. my goal is to get the precheck lanes open throughout the day so they're available when passengers arrive. some of that is a staffing issue. and some of that is a scheduling issue. and so this -- the focus that we're putting now on daily hourly operations is showing us where we're having that problem. some of that is just, you know, best practices across the system. and some of that is availability of people to go through that. in the absence of that the other thing we're doing is dramatically changing the way we move people through. move precheck people to the front of the line and get them through in a precheck way even if it's a standard line. opening up the precheck lane or the line even if you don't have enough people to open that lane at that moment. and so you have to build enough capacity. build enough volume to justify pulling, you know, the bodies
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off to open a precheck lane. this is -- my goal is to make sure if we're going to promise a service to people that you can deliver that service. >> one of the themes of that round table i'm sure we'll hear tomorrow the feeling that the lack of flexibility by the fsd's to work in partnership with the airlines to make decisions, they feel like there's a top down approach coming from washington, d.c. and in tucson this is worse because we're part of this spoke operation, fsd is in phoenix. even if you're giving flexibility to that person the leader down in tucson is still stuck with these top down answers coming out of washington, d.c. and sometimes phoenix. are you willing to relieve some of that and allow more bottom up decision making so that the leader on the ground for tsa at that airport can make more -- >> absolutely. that's the message i've been sending out consistently to my field. if i'm a field commander -- i
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have resources i know what my mission is i want to be able to do that and reach out as i need for additional help. >> they're told their hands are tied and they're being directed by washington, d.c. when the -- >> i have new leadership that isn't following that model. i made it clear that they do. and i'm checking on that to make sure -- >> things like that shouldn't take an act of congress as you know. >> it took an act of me. and i said that's the way things have to happen. >> great, thanks. sorry mr. chairman for going over. appreciate it. >> no problem. chair recognizes mr. keating. >> thank you, mr. chairman. admir admiral, thank you and your staff for helping us and providing feedback on a bill i introduced last month that already passed the committee regarding perimeter security and access point. i appreciate that in your actions. two things on wait times, i've spoken with airport operators regarding the need to establish really a more formal process in which airport operators and carriers can share predictive
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data. you know, how many seats on a flight where the flights are. and try and make that as live time and functional as possible. i want to know where you are on that and how easily that can be done. number two, several federal agencies utilize private explosive detection k-9 programs. we use this in the state department. we use it in some of the most dangerous places in the world to help keep our people safe. it's my understanding the tsa hasn't expressed the willingness to turn to these type of programs despite requests from airport operators. we've had committee testimony where the airlines and cargo airlines association have testified and expressed their support for that. t it was voted 16-1 in these recommendations. can you tell us given the
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minim minimal supply and growing demand what tsa can do to improve the situation, to incorporate more k-9 screening, whether or not there's an openness to these programs? >> well, i'm open to that program. and in fact i've had a number of conversations with people about private screening. >> do you have the resources to move forward and expand that then? >> if by resources you mean an oversight staff to pay attention to it, we have the -- the staff i have which managed the current program and they can work with venders that are interested. the challenge associated with that is we have to work through local law enforcement. there has to be protocols established for if a dog finds something. what do i do now. local law enforcement has a say in this as well. airport by airport in the local law enforcement -- >> you think the inhibiting factor isn't money, or the number of these resources that
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are available, it's only just coordinating with local law enforcement? >> i didn't mean to imply that. part of it is the willingness of tsa to explore this. i'm willing to do that. >> we're hearing from so many groups how valuable that would be. >> i think we should explore it. >> how it would improve safety. >> we should explore the options particularly when you're thinking about cargo screening and other types of things that are off airport property that has to be done. >> we have worked on this committee with joint terrorism task force work ing with law enforcement we should be able to function with this as well if we can provide assistance or task force models are helpful. it's important, i think, to upgrade that. i think they also serve as a very visible deterrent. >> there's no doubt with dog. with respect to predictive data, it is relatively straightforward. we're doing that right now with the airlines so the operational
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cell i've got focused daily now which i intend to become a permanent feature includes airlines and airports to provide that predictive data. in more realtime. not just after the fact. it doesn't help me to find out what happened last week. it's more important to have out what's coming and do something about it in near realtime. >> if you could keep me informed in terms of the k-9 program i'd appreciate that. thank you for everything you're doing. thank you for the success you're doing under tough situations. and i yield back, mr. chairman. >> chair recognizes mr. donovan. >> thank you, chairman. admiral, thank you for your testimony and your candidness with this committee. we saw with the shooting at lax last year and what happened in brussels the vulnerability of the non-secure areas of our transportation hubs. is that the total jurisdiction of the state and local officials or does tsa have a role?
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>> we have a role in setting standards and expectations. my primary role is at the checkpoint down in the baggage area and out in the secure areas of the airport. we work very closely with local law enforcement to patrol and guard the public areas of the airport as well. >> i know last summer, it may have happened actually before your appointment there was the covert testing of tsa and the vulnerabilities of things going through. and some changes have been made. have you found those changes have improved our ability to detect things going through our checkpoints that shouldn't? is there data that supports that? >> there is. and i won't get into details in an open setting. i can tell you our internal testing shows we've inprovmprov significantly. we have a waywis to go. the changes in focus have helped considerably. i've met with the inspector general, they're about to kick
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off a new round of tests, specifically testing our improvement. that will take place over the course of the next few months. they don't tell you the exact schedule for obvious reasons. i look forward to looking -- work ing with him and understanding what he's finding and if he's validating anything of what we're finding. >> wonderful. my last question is with your efforts to get more people on prescreening, and off the standard lines, is that just move the delay over to prescreening? >> no, it actually dramatically improves the ability to move. you can move almost double the speed on a precheck line that we do. for example, right now, even with the dramatically increased numbers that have enrolled in precheck. 92% across the entire system of people in precheck wait less than five minutes for screening. that's a significant improvement. >> with the increase of people going to prescreening, you think that standard would uphold? >> i do. we can now more consistently to
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congressman open the precheck lines and open more of them. you need vaolume to keep the lanes open. >> thank you very much, i yield back the remainder of my time. >> chair recognizes mr. richmond. >> thank you mr. chairman. thank you, admiral. i represent baton rouge in new orleans. new orleans, one of our biggest economies is the tourism industry. our airport is vitally important. mardi gras, jazz fest or any of the events the last thing we want is for people to come down and have a good time and have a bad taste in their mouth because they waited in an airport line. specifically do the fsd's have the ability to grant overtime if they need more employees? >> they do. i pushed a lot of overtime out to the fsd's. you've got a great fsd down
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there by the way. >> dwwe do. we have hard working tsa's. we had an incident last year. >> you did. >> where we had to use deadly force and it was done by the book. what about k-9 teams? that's another thing that they expressed. we had it for jazz fest. it worked tremendously well. so the question becomes, can we get a permanent one and as you expand your ten point plan or implement it where would we fall on the list? >> i'll get you the exact priorities on the list for the record. i would tell you i like to expand our k-9 program beyond what we currently have. right now, i pushed k-9's to the largest airports where we're experiencing some of the biggest problems. i'll find out where new orleans is on the priority list. >> i've read and i know about your goal to increase precheck
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passengers. one idea that i think that, you know, let me just say off hand i'm opposed to the baggage fees. i think it's abominable. the price has gone down and been very low so airline ticket pricevipric prices have premained the same. i think what it does is it pushes the carry ones through our security checkpoints. which means our margin of error, if it's 1% or .1%, now that we have millions more bags because airlines are doing their fees, i think at some point i want to just prohibit them. why don't we say precheck, the airlines can't charge you baggage fees. that would drive people to enroll in precheck. but we get to help the american
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people. but do you think that the number of bags going through our checkpoints is problematic? >> there's a lot of pressure on the checkpoints. we see a lot of bags coming through the checkpoint. four times the checkpoint of what gets checked. and so this is why we encourage the airlines to help enforce that one plus one rule. because every additional bag coming through the checkpoint is a potential slow down to the processing of people through. >> what i noticed, probably many of the people on the committee will travel so much. once you get to the gate, when they make the announcements, most of them say that the flight is pretty full. we'll complimentary check your bag. you have had this back up at the checkpoint and once you get through the checkpoint and get to the gate they say how about we check your bags are for you now for free. well, if they're going to do that they might as well do it on
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the front end, alleviate your pressure and also help us protect the american people. so i really would hope that you look at that. let me switch topics a little bit. i know you're going out for bid on -- you have rfi out for your i.t. on your security flight program. and i would ask that you look at using shared services with the national finance center which already i think does your pay roll and other things for you. they have great software development team, it's already branch of government. i think they can help you get your needs to market or they can service you a little bit faster than the process you're going to go in. i think they will save you a tremendous amount of money. i would ask that you all really entertain using a shared service with national finance center to develop the software for the
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secure flight program that you're looking for. with that mr. chairman i yield back. >> the chair recognizes mr. carter. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. neffenger, thank you for being here. mr. neffenger as you know i represent georgia. of course, hartsfield jackson airport the busiest airport in the world, this is a major problem. the back log we have there. in fact i just went out, stepped outside a few minutes ago to have a picture taken with some visitors from georgia. they were telling me this morning, this morning, you know, one of them commented i only had to wait 30 minutes in line. well, you know, it's just -- unacceptable what's happening here. i just want to make sure that we're on the same page here. at hartsfield recently, they just opened up the south checkpoint. and started using a new system, the radio frequency identification on the bins so they can bput their stuff in
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there. hopefully that's going to help some. you and i have spoken before about privatization, and as you know, and full disclosure i'm big on privatization. atlanta and the bigger airports are indicating to us, at least to me, that it's beyond the scope of a bureaucracy to be able to do this. and i just don't get warm and fuzzy feeling that you're embracing privatization here. congress passed the screening partnership program. tell me what you're doing to implement that. we need to get to a point where you're on the other side of the table. you're asking the questions, and overseeing this as opposed to being here answering the questions from us. >> we've made a lot of changes to streamline that process. i was concerned it takes a long time. it has to go out on bid and contract. and the like. i am -- have said repeatedly the
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law allows for this. i have directed airports like atlanta to go out and talk to san francisco because that's the only large category airport that has a contracted screening force and will continue to work with them. i think there are things we can do to -- we are somewhat hampered by the way the rules work. that's a work force that's contracted to the federal government. not -- >> hold on a minute, i don't mean to interrupt you. you say you're hampered. i want to know how i can help you to become unhampered. >> we follow the contractors rules for under the federal contracting requirements. it's a contract to the federal government. i want to make sure it's fair and open competition, you have to give people the opportunity to participate. we'll work with anybody -- >> i want to work with you so we can stream line the process. i still don't get the feeling you're embracing it. i want to know what you're doing to encourage it. to the privatization of it. >> well, again, it's up to the
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airport to determine whether they want to do it. we advertise its availability. we make availability information about it. there's a screening private partnership office that manages that. what i can offer you is to bring the person who is running that office up to outline what's changed over the past year. and what we do to make that information available to airports, if they're interested and inclined. >> a couple other things, as you know, you do your training in my district. it's a great facility. we still incorporate that even in the private sector. they can still be trained down there. >> i trained a private screeners as well. >> absolutely. absolutely. so, you know, it's not as if they're not going to get the same kind of training we currently get for the employees. it's just going to be management. it appears to me by the conversations i've had with some of the smaller airports that that's where the problem is. that there's a void, a gap if
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you will between the local senior tsa reps in between the management up here in d.c. that they're not communicating. can you speak to that? you mean? >> i felt the same u thing. it's why i made some structural changes. i pushed a lot of authority. they already had that authority in my opinion. they needed to know they could use that authority. identify been trying to drive less operations because you can't drive from headquarters. you have to provide u guidance and resources. >> i'm glad to hear you say that. again, i feel like what's happening here is is we're creating this bureaucracy that at some point we're not going to be able to break it down. so we don't get this that
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obviously is not performing to the level we want it to perform to. one of the first things they taught us was when you're in a hole, you need to stop digging. it's not working the way it's working now. i encourage you to push the privatization. that's the route i would see us needing to go. thank you, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> the chair recognizes mr. c t hurd. >> i love your comments on the philosophy of getting passengers through check points quickly versus security effectiveness and how you balance that. >> we learned that lesson the hard way. so it was imperative that we refocus.
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it's not the fault of the front line workforce. they were doing what they were told to do, get people through the line fast. so that was the first thing. but you still have to ensure it you do it as efficiently as possible. those things are not mutually exclusive. there are efficiencies in the way we deploy our people and employ them and the way they are managed. i think an awful lot of the work i'm doing is in really reforming and transforming the management piece because that's where the greatest opportunity. and then there's a technological piece as well. tsa is still operating equipment that was operated for the past 30 years in terms of with the exception of the upgrades to the software and x-ray machines. the basic system is a manual system. there are things we can do that will dramatically improve our ability to process people more
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efficiently while still doing our job well. >> the next question, and i know this is about how tsa works with individual airports. i know the answer is going to be it depends. but are you getting the kind of support from airports when they build a new terminal. are you getting the opportunity to provide input and guidance in how to design it such a way to improve efficiencies of security. are you also -- do you get the kind of support that could be going on. i welcome your kind of general thoughts on that. >> with respect to the last point, we have gotten some great support from airlines and airports over the past few months to provide assistance for nonsecurity related duties.
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everything from monitoring exit lanes to bin running to ep helping guide people into the appropriate check points. i've been pleased with that. what i believe is that tsa needed to do a better job of engaging at the local level as well as at the federal level. we have always had good relations with the big associations, but it's on the ground at the individual airport where the difference is made. so we have been working very hard at pushing our feet. we're going back to get them engaged with people, share with them their staffing models, share with them their current challenges and learn from each other and more importantly find out when they have plans to modernize or improve their infrastructure because that's an opportunity to build in new capability and some new space that would allow us to operate better. >> my last is a comment, not a
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question. i want to say thank you for working with us on getting some tsa agents back into small airports in small towns. we have been talking a lot about wait lines at big airports, but i'm looking forward to flying back to washington, d.c. from del rio, texas, once that gets set up. i'm going to appreciate your willingness to make sure the small town airports benefit from the economic advantages of having a functioning airport. so thank you and i yield back. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for being here today. earlier this week, kelly hogan was removed from his post as head of security operations. a recent hearing we talked that, some of the questions there. we talked about the $90,000 bonuses as well. i do want to ask a couple questions in regard. what is mr. hogan's annual
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salary? >> he's an ses level so his annual salary is right around $180,000. >> i have $181,000. can you confirm if he's on paid administrative leave? >> he is currently on paid administrative leave, yes, sir. >> so that's about $500 a day. according to the dhs administration poll su of 2015, i'm sure you're familiar with that. >> yes, sir. >> i'd like to read it for the record if that's okay, mr. chairman. >> they must decide whether the continued presence of the ploy may pose a threat to the employer or others, result in loss or damage to government property or jeopardize government interests. where such a risk, the employee should remain in the workplace. so in the case of mr. hogan, which of these instances applies? >> mr. hogan, we're resolving
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this. i wanted to make a leadership change. i made that leadership change. it was my opinion that i needed a new direction going forward. we are working to process with respect to mr. hogan and i will work that process very rapidly. >> so let me rephrase the question here. why is it that you have made the choice to put him on paid administrative leave? >> it's a very short-term decision for the next steps. i can move forward with the new direction that i need to ensure we meet the challenges coming forward. >> i want to respect that. when you say short-term, can you give us a ballpark idea? what does that mean? >> i intend to determine that this week. >> i want to go back also where there's tough places to dig out, but also where i want to commend you. in the past tsa has had involuntary or voluntary moving expenses of $200,000. i believe the one gentleman testified from maine that he had
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$100,000 relocation expense. is it my recollection that you're no longer operating under that particular mind set or those procedures? >> i discontinued that practice. i have cap ped relocation expenses. >> i appreciate you doing that. let me follow up with one more question. in the same mem me that announced he was no longer assistant administrator, you announced a new chief of operations that announced screening operations and oversee daily operations. according to your website, tsa's security operations is responsible for, quote, airport check point and baggage screening operations. is that true? is is that a fair statement? >> yes, sir. >> so in concluding with mr. hogan before i move on to something else, are you at a place where you can reveal any long-term plans with mr. hogan at this point? >> i cannot at this point.
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>> we will certainly respect that. i want to give you an opportunity. the overall culture of the tsa has not been where the american people or congress expected. briefly, can you tell me philosophical philosophically, why are you able to turn this tide? that doesn't encourage you much today. obviously, with your background, you would have not taken o this on this position unless you felt things could be done. you can share a couple specifics, but i'd like to hear a general per view of why you think you're able to turn this ship in the right direction. >> let me start by talking about our workforce. we have a really tremendous workforce. i don't say that lightly. i have been meeting with them in the ten months plus that i've been in the job. i go out to the front lines. we have people that come from
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all walks of life. people with graduate degrees, undergraduate, high school graduates, former military, second careers. so what gave me immediate hope was seeing not only the passion and the dedication of that workforce, but their resilience. i believe they have one of the toughest jobs in government. the average screener sees more than 13,000 individuals every day. and they have to remain professional and they have to remain committed and these are true public servants. that said, i think they needed a clear sense of mission and focus from leadership on mission. they needed that focus to stay constant and straight forward. i think about my time in the military. it's a reminder of that across the workforce. so i was surprised to discover
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that there was no true formal training program across the entire organization. at any level of the organization. to me that's foundation. it was very important. i was pleased that congress agreed that founding a tsa academy for the first time ever was a very important first step. it's a first step. i wanted to get that workforce connected in a way they hadn't been before. we were training people all over the country inconsistently. now we have a consistent training program. you need to do that across the entire woforce. i started a rising leader development program. the reason i believe the ship can turn is i look to where the united states military was post vietnam. everybody said it was a broken organization. it turned itself around by doing
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exactly those things. focusing on the mission, reengaging with the workforce, going back to fundamentals and training across the board. it doesn't happen overnight, but we're already seeing some good signs. i should share with you some of the e-mails. >> my time is expired. it will be up to the chairman to extend that. but i appreciate your answers. i yield back. >> chair recognizes mr. radcliffe. >> thank the chair. thank you for being here today. we have had improper screenings. we have had hearings about the agency's trouble with excessive waste and cost and some security
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failures. but to highlight that you were brought in at a very challenging time at the tsa. clearly, there's a lot of work to be done here. i do want to say that i have noticed that you have taken proactive steps to try to rectify some of these problems. having hundreds of passengers standing close together in an unsecure area, we saw what happened in brussels with respect to that. the tsa is working every day to try to prevent those types of
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things. but i do want to follow up in this particular area because you have attribute d some of the log lines to personnel departure at tsa in previous years and at the agency u has not yet replaced some of those folks. i know through the appropriations committee, we have repurposed some $34 million to allow for the hiring of additional tsa agents. it's not just about getting screeners to the airport, but about allocating those resources strategically to alleviate some of the long lines that we're seeing right now. to that point, i know there was a transportation security roundtable last week where stake holders repeatedly said they thought the staffing model at the tsa was fundamentally
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flawed. no one wants to sacrifice security simply to lower wait times at the airport. . but if you or we can improve efficiency of security processes without sacrificing safety, i know that's something we all want to get to. so i have heard in the past that tsa had the capability to schedule its workforce to match up with the airline flight schedules and passenger load but it dropped that. and irregular operations and weather-related delays. first of all, is that correct? >> we do use an electric system, but we still have the flexibility to meet them. i don't think we did it very well. >> can you tell me are you looking at any commercial technology solutions that would
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align workforce needs with airline and airport passenger flow. if so, when would that be deployed. >> what we have done is we are working with the airlines directly. we have opened up the full staffing model to the airlines in particular about two months ago. we had all the major airlines in in to say here it is. it's looking at the staffing model as well. there's work to be done on a stafg model. it needs to be flexible enough to meet the demand as it arrives. what i'm learning is the airlines are exceptionally good at predicting and responding to their peak periods. we can learn a lot from them and they are helping us adjust our staffing model. we even saw in chicago a couple key adjustments we made right
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after that day that we had all the challenges. it dramatically decreased the leads. >> i'm glad to hear that you're engaging the airports and the airlines in that regard. to that point about the staffing model, are you taking into. account the different layout structures of airports. so for example, the dfw airport in my home state of texas has 15 screening check points where i know the denver airport only has three. that makes a big difference in terms o of staffing requirements. >> you have to do that because what you say applies the real challenges. some airports are big and open and have lots of opportunity to run efficiently. other airports are constrained by space and you have multiple small check points distributed. so you have to think very differently about managing those more constrained airports than
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you do a large open airport. >> that same vain, i want to ask you this question. do you think federal security directors located at the airports should have more flexibility in determining the local needs of the airports where they are stationed? >> i have given them complete flexibility. that said, it's important to note i only have so much staff to go around. if they want 500 more people, i have to work with them to get there. but within the resources this they currently have allocated, they have the ability to flex resources however they need to. >> i want to remind members that tomorrow night at 9:00 a.m. the subcommittee on transportation will be holding a hearing with
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local airline authorities, and airlines. members of the committee may have additional questions we'd ask that you respond in writing and the rank iing member is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would just like unanimous consent to get into the record a letter to the administrator dated april 19th, 2016. >> without objection, so ordered. >> pursuant to committee rule 7-c, the record will be open for ten days for statements and questions from members. admiral, thank you for being here today. i know you're a newcomer to this job. certainly the challenges are great, u by think you're well equipped to solve those. we look forward to working with you to solve these problems for the nation. we thank you for your service.
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without objection, the committee stands so adjourned.
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homeland security committee hearing today from tsa administrator on screening problems at the nation's airports. we'd like to hear from you now. how should the tsa deal with those long lines and delays as they screen passengers for air flights in the u.s. those numbers on your screen. if it you live in the eastern or central time zones, 202-748-8920. in the mown taun and pacific zones 202-748-8921.
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tweet us or leave a comment for us on our facebook page. again, we'd like to hear from you. particularly if you have had a recent experience flying in the u.s. going through those screening lines. if they have been particularly long and if you have some ideas on what the tsa might be able to do to minimize that problem as we get into the summer travel season. let's go right to your calls. frank joins us from minneapolis. go ahead, frank. >> caller: i wonder why they are getting paid for a job when people are missing flights. i think they should get a cut in pay. >> you think the tsa employees should get pay cuts? >> caller: yes, when people are missing their flights. >> all right. thanks for calling. delray beach, florida, go ahead. >> caller: hi, a couple times that i went up north where my family lives, i got a precheck
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ticket. i think they should be made available -- not available, but tsa should have more of them without allocating a cost to it. because there's quite a few people that would pass a background check that someone would want. >> what did you end up pay iing for that? >> caller: they said it actually was doing them randomly. >> so i asked the individual that tsa person that was checking i.d.s, u said how come we got prechecked. she said u we're doing it randomly. and i said that's great but that's a lot of money for a retiree. and a lot of money for a person who travels only two or three times a year. but i just think it might eliminate the lines. i think the tsa staff do a
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wonderful job considering what they are up against. taking tsa employees to cover concerts or presidential things, to cover anything else but tsa is unfair to do that. so i think that. those are my two comments. i think prechecks should be free and i think they should do the background check and all that right where you buy the ticket. >> thanks for calling, mary. we'll go next to robert, who joins us from california. what's your experience with the tsa? >> caller: my last trip departing miami international i was selected for enhanced screening.
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i don't know why. it doesn't matter. i didn't take offense to it. it delayed our party probably an extra 30 minutes. there was no rhyme or reason to it. i respect the concept of randomness, but as it relates to the overall problem, i agree with one of the congress people when they said they should privatize it. >> thanks for your call. we have gotten a few facebook comments in on this issue what the tsa should do about long lines and delays at airports. one of those facebook comments from sharon. get rid of it and get people who actually know how to profile and look for suspicious people instead of subjecting old ladies and babies to scrutiny. albert posted, want shorter lines, force airlines not to charge for checked baggage.
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fewer carry ones equals shorter lines. this one from bill who writes, give the guy a budget if we're going to do this right so he can hire some management people with a brain. or have we thought of rotating in national guard soldiers to replace them in airports. and earl writes on our facebook page, why take shoes off. express lanes for people with no baggage. back to your calls. jeff in charleston, south carolina. what should the tsa do about the delays? i think the most part a lot of the employees go in there looking for confrontation with a lot of the passengers that go through. i don't know if that's intended, but a lot of them since they have the badge on the front of their shirt, they like to get into a confrontation rather than traying to do what they are supposed to do. in addition, a lot of things that hold up the line are people
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that there's carry on luggage and have to bring the bag up themselves. the tsa people never assist with that. they should be somebody standing there that says let me take your bag and put it on the belt and get in line and walk through. they never do that. they are always standing around and letting the bins pile up on the other end. they stand around. when you ask them to do something like that, they give you an attitude and ask like it's an inconvenience to them. one final thing and i'll let you go. they don't know the precheck rules. i fly all the time. it's a great program. but what they do, you're not supposed to take your laptop out. you're supposed to leave your shoes on and wear a lightweight jacket. the guy gave me an attitude because i tried wearing my jacket. he told me i'm not allowed to wear it. he said it's not a lightweight jacket. it's just another example of somebody trying to flex their authority when they don't need
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to. that's really what i have to say on the matter. i don't think they are serving any purpose given the fact they failed the 95% security test on it last year. if somebody wants to say tsa is doing a good job, i'd like to see them backup the fact that 95% of the illegal items that auditors and people from homeland tries to get through got through. i'd like to see somebody say they do its job. >> my experience has been delays just because they are not doing a competent job. why are they getting millions of dollars in disabled vets and seniors aren't going to get a cost of living raise. >> do you have any suggestions on what they could do to speed up the lines?
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>> caller: quit checking baggage for big bottles of shampoo. it's ridiculous. >> thanks for calling. to chicago, illinois, hol las is joining us now. >> caller: i just tried to do prescreening in chicago. all five locations are filled for the next 45 days. when i said, all right, i'll take 45 days, they said, no, it's filled you can't have it and there aren't anymore. what is that about? >> what do you think it's about? >> caller: i think it's about inefficiency in some way that you can't even get a prescreening pass. >> thanks for calling. you heard the tsa administrator being asked several times about
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the security chief, who was put on leave. this story in the hill talking about that from this week. tsa security chief who received $90,000 bonus removed from post. the article talks about a top security chief at the agency who came under fire who received a a $90,000 bonus has been removed from his post. the house oversight and government reform committee said on monday evening. meanwhile, this tweet from pbs saying despite the tsa shakeup, long security lines are likely to continue. more of your calls now. lesly in virginia beach, go ahead. >> caller: the admiral, he seems
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to have a hold around the situation. it's going to take a little time, but i would like to see somebody like him in charge of the irs. >> what do you think? you said it's going to take some time. what's a reasonable amount of time to get tsa to get a handle on this? >> caller: from what he's saying, he should have a handle on it within another six months to a year. for something just to come in and take over, it's going to take a little bit. >> thank you for taking my call. there's several things. the administrator that's put on administrative leave you can also call that paid vacation. he's getting $500 a day for doing nothing and we'll see how long that lasts.
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i u don't even know why that's even a possibility. i. >> we lost that call. sorry about that. go now to terri who joins us in pennsylvania. >> what do you think of the tsa and their efforts and what say should be doing about these long lines? >> caller: quickly, my wife was a tsa employee for about eight years. we know what goes on in there. it tears the employees up. but you have a lot of administrative people sitting in those offices. if you took an administration that stands around and put them on the line, that could possibly open up another line. >> are there enough tsa employees on the lines now? >> there is. not now, they need more
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additional and everything else, but employees are sitting in the main offices sitting on chairs watching videos because they are in the corporate office at the airport. they are not doing anything. see seeing it time and time and time again. after eight years of it. >> were you an airport u screener? >> caller: my wife was. she was an airport screener for eight years at lax. >> what has she told you would -- other than more employees and getting some of these managers out working the lines, what has she told you that are some of the obstacles that the tsa needs to e overcome? >> caller: middle management and some of the upper management feel it's not their job to be on the line. they are there to supervise and supervise only.
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everything is a hassle. there's a lot of paperwork. oversight, oversight, oversight. the screeners aren't allowed to make decisions. they are told what to do and they make a decision on their own, they usually wind up getting suspended or terminated immediately for it. >> thanks very much for your call. let's go to mike in louisiana. >> i have two comments. first of all, homeland security and tsa is asking for more mo y money. why should we give them more money when they just turn around and give their managers $ 90,000 bonuses. my second comment is why does it take this to rise to the level of congress before anything is done about it.
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before it gets to the level of congress. congress has more important things to do. we have terrorists attacking us, we have people going to join isis. before serving done about it. >> thanks for calling. albert in orlando, we'll give you the last word on the tsa and what they are doing about the long lines and delays. go ahead. >> caller: i watched this whole hearing and one of the things that was brought out is the airlines five or six years ago screamed they weren't making any money so they put baggage fees on. now they are reaping $2 billion a year from the baggage fees and throwing more baggage into the tsa. i think what congress should do
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is tell the airlines you're going to contribute a part of that baggage fee to the tsa so they can have plenty of people to do the screening and be trained professionally so they can do their job and also make the airlines give them more room to operate lines that they need. thank you for that. >> thank you for calling. if you missed any of today's tsa or homeland security committee hearing with tsa administrator you can watch it in its entirety on our website c-span.org. we're going to reair a portion of it here in just a moment. at 1:30 this afternoon we're going to bring you the daily briefing from the state department here on c-span 3. that's live at 1:30 east coast time. right now, a portion of today's
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hearing of house homeland security hearing with testimony from tsa administrator talking about the long lines and what tsa is doing about it. the committee on homeland security will come to order. the committee is meeting for check point wait times. before i begin my opening statement, i'd like to take a
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moment of silence for the victims and families of egyptair 804. i now recognize myself for an opening statement. today we face a crisis at our airports. we've all read the headlines -- three-hour-long security lines, 430 american airlines passengers stranded overnight in chicago o'hare, travelers from atlanta, charlotte and alaska waiting forever to be screened, causing missing flights and further delays. more than 3,000 bags have failed to get loaded on to planes in time to phoenix. an 80% increase in wait times at jfk airport compared to this time last year. this is unacceptable, and it is time for congress to act. administrator, the american
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people are angry and frustrated as we head into the busiest travel season weekend of the year, starting this memorial day weekend, and they deserve answers. this crisis didn't just come out of nowhere. airports and airlines have been sounding the alarm for months. there is no doubt that part of the challenge we face is a high terror threat environment, but wait times are not soaring simply because security is much tighter. it's because the tsa bureaucracy has gotten weaker. the agency has struggled to keep up with the high demand and has been unable to put the right people at the right place at the right time. change is not happening fast enough. admiral neffenger, i know you are working hard to reform tsa's broken bureaucracy, and today i hope to hear how you will confront this crisis swiftly. but congress will not sit back as the situation gets worse, and that's why this committee and the house of representatives passed legislation to fix this problem. i commend my colleague for offering these bills. with other legislation, it would accelerate the precheck program, which helps reduce wait times by putting low-risk travelers
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through expedited screening. unfortunately, the senate has failed to pass these bills, which in my judgment is unconscionable. so today i'd like to send my message to my colleagues in the other body -- it's time to get moving, because the american people are fed up with this. this week we will introduce yet another bill to attack this problem, and i hope that this time we can get it to the president's desk more quickly. and in the coming months, we will take a broader look at tsa, including first ever authorization of the agency which will give us an opportunity to make wider reforms and long-term changes.
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additionally, we plan to take up legislation to enhance tsa's screening partnership program. but as i noted, we must also take into account serious aviation threats that we face. and i think the events of the egyptian airliner demonstrate that and although investigators are still working to determine the cause of egyptair crash, one fact is clear, terrorists are trying to bring down airplanes and the aviation center is their crown jewel target. this month i led a congressional delegation to the middle east and northern africa to examine the spread of terrorist safe havens, and we want to weigh the concern that screening is inadequate at some of the last points of departure airports that have direct flights into the united states. for instance, airports like cairo lack full-body scanners to detect nonmetallic ieds, and
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they lack access to comprehensive terror watch lists for screening their employees. this is a concern, we know, because militants are trying to recruit insiders and inside jobs to take down passenger jets. we've seen this twice in recent months, including an attack in somalia and one against a rush jet flying out of sharm el sheik in egypt. but this is not just a problem in the middle east or northern africa. this past december, charles de gaulle airport in paris, which has 50 direct flights into the united states every day, they fired 70 employees who were suspected of having extremist connections. 70. we have to help our foreign partners weed out these extremists. again, the house and this committee passed two bills to
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ramp up security at overseas airports, and yet again, these bills are sitting in the senate stalling, waiting for action. it is unconscionable. it's time for the senate to act. and the president will sign them into law. we cannot afford further delay because american lives are at risk. and as we adapt to the evolving threat, we must also make sure that agencies like tsa adapt their business models to keep travel flowing smoothly. terrorists would like nothing more than for us to undermine our own economy by allowing air transportation to grind to a halt. admiral neffenger, we've given tsa the resources it asked for to make screening more efficient. congress granted a recent request to reallocate $34 million to hire nearly 800 new tsa officers before july and to pay for additional overtime for existing personnel. today we expect you to tell us how you are putting these
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resources to work and how you're going to address the crisis at our airports once and for all. i want to thank the admiral for being here today. i want to thank you for your service to our country. with that, the chair recognizes the ranking member of the committee. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'd like to thank you for calling today's hearing. i'd also like to welcome administrator neffenger and thank him in advance for his testimony. to be clear, the flying public expects and deserves efficient, safe, secure, reliable air transit. the transportation security administration finds itself at the center of the federal government's effort to ensure secure passage of passenger and cargo. as you know, mr. administrator, the importance of this role can hardly be understated. the agency is at a critical
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point in its short history. tsa is still implementing reforms after covert testing last year revealed serious gaps in security screening. now long lines and record wait times at airport checkpoints are having spillover effects throughout our entire aviation system. passengers are understandably anxious as they hear stories about fellow passengers who despite their best efforts missed flights. asking passengers to arrive three hours before a domestic departure is unacceptable. in addition to the stress on passengers to wear the right clothes, decide whether to check a bag, pay exorbitant baggage fees, avoid packing prohibited items and make tight connections, the stress on the flying public is felt most severely by airline and airport personnel. unfortunately, it's the men and women who are the face of tsa
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who get blamed. the transportation security officers. travel volume substantially increased this year, yet tsa has failed to keep pace with this growth. as a result, there is an insufficient number of transportation security officers in our nation's airport. the current situation where we have too few screeners and far more passengers did not occur without warning. in fiscal year 2011, there were approximately 45,000 tsos screening 642 million passengers. in fy 2016, tsa had 6,000 fewer tsos screening roughly 740 million anticipated passengers. almost 100 million more passengers and 3,000 fewer screeners.
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in the fy 2017 budget, tsa requested funding to hire an additional 320 tsos. to those of us who are familiar with travel volume trends, this did not seem like enough. more recently, tsa, as the chairman indicated, has announced its plan to onboard 768 tsos by june 15. increasing staff and resources is certainly a good thing, but only if the proper vetting and training occur before more tsos are added. administrator neffenger, i want to know if tsa has the money necessary to achieve its mission. at secretary johnson's request, congress recently reprogrammed $34 million in tsa accounts to pay for overtime and other costs associated with responding to the wait time crisis.
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while these funds will surely aid tsa in addressing staff shortages in the short term, moving money around is not a substitute for infusing new money into an operation. tsa should have access to all of the aviation security fees collected by the flying public to bolster security. yet, the passage of the budget act of 2013, tsa is required to divert $13 billion collected in security fees toward the deficit reduction for the next ten years. this year alone, $1.25 billion has been diverted. presently, i'm working with representative peter defazio, the ranking member on the transportation committee, in his efforts to ensure that tsa can retain the fees it collects and
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put them back into our aviation system. in the absence of new money, new resources is absolutely important. congress and tsa must resist band-aid fixes to complicated and well security challenges. patching and plugging holes is not the answer. moreover, dismantling tsa is not the answer. many of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are calling for a return to the pre-9/11 privatization model. mr. chairman, as you've indicated also, after the downed egyptian airliner, which is still under investigation, this would not be the way to go. as one prominent airport commissioner recently acknowledged, the benefits of privatization are very marginal, and there's a huge cost in time associated with the transition. we need to look for long-term solution. one solution, as i've indicated and have written a letter to you, mr. administrator, is to
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assign the nearly 2,500 tsos designated as behavior detection officers to checkpoint screening operation. as you know, the s.p.o.t. program has been subject to a gao review, and it's questionable about its success. but we spent $1 billion on this program, and we can put that money to good use. so i look forward, mr. neffenger -- look around the committee room here. all our members use the airports
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to come to work every week, and i'm sure, like i, they are anxiously awaiting your testimony. i yield back. >> i thank the ranking member. opening statements may be submitted for the record. we're pleased to have here today admiral neffenger on this very important and timely topic. admiral peter neffenger serves as the sixth administrator of the transportation security administration, where he leads security operations at more than 450 airports within the united states and a workforce of almost 60,000 employees. prior to joining tsa, he served as the 29th vice commandant of the united states coast guard and the coast guard's deputy
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commandant for operations. we thank you, sir, for being here today, and we also thank you for your service. your full written statement will appear in the record. the chair now recognizes admiral neffenger. >> thank you, and good morning, chairman mccaul, ranking member thompson, distinguished members of the committee. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. i sincerely appreciate the committee's oversight of tsa's security operations in ensuring that our agency has the appropriate resources to accomplish its important counterterrorism mission. since taking the oath of office on july 4th of last year, i have traveled throughout the country and around the world to meet with employees at all levels of our agency, and they are truly impressive. their patriotism, their sense of duty and their commitment to tsa's national security mission
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is exemplary. but to ensure their success, we need a mature enterprise that delivers the tools they need to get the job done and unwavering support from their leaders. last week, egyptair flight 804 crashed into the mediterranean, and i wanted to express my sincere condolences to the families of the victims. it was a tragic loss of life. and while we don't yet know what happened to that airplane, it is a stark reminder of the importance of tsa's daily mission. first and foremost, our job is to protect the traveling public in what has become a very dynamic and challenging threat environment. the threat is very real. and to that end, in just ten months, i have undertaken a systemic and deliberate transformation of tsa oop i set a renewed focus on security, revised alarm resolution procedures, made investments in new technology and have retrained the entire workforce. we are holding ourselves accountable to high standards of performance, and i'm supporting our front-line officers in their critical mission. we have reinvigorated our partnerships with the airlines, with airport operators in the trade and travel industries and are working closely with congress and this committee to
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address our security mission. i am investing in our people. and with the help of congress, i directed a complete overhaul of our approach to how we train our workforce at all levels of the agency. we established the first ever tsa academy on january 1st of this year. this intensive training will enable us to achieve consistency, develop a common culture, instill our core values and raise performance across the entire workforce. i also ordered a review of all personnel policies and practices. this has led to a number of significant changes -- elimination of the arbitrary use of directive reassignments, restrictions on permanent change of station relocation costs, and significant controls on bonuses at all levels. we are overhauling management practices, conducting an independent review of acquisition programs, building a planning, programming, budgeting and execution process, and building a human capital management system to address recruitment, development, promotion, assignment and retention. the screening mission requires a similar fundamental reassessment. this year we project our checkpoints nationwide will screen some 740 million people. by comparison, in 2013, tsa screened 643 million people. that's an increase of 100
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million people in just four years while our full-time workforce has reduced by more than 12%. that and our renewed focus on security, are significant contributors to the situation we face today. so we have a challenge this summer, which we are aggressively meeting head on. among other things, we have established a national incident command center to specifically monitor checkpoint screening operations on an hourly basis. we are tracking projected volume, staffing and lane availability, actual wait times, which will allow us to address critical concerns in realtime. this command center includes staffing from airlines and critical industry associations, and they are conducting daily calls with the busiest airports and major airlines to plan that day's operations in what we foresee in the coming days. our goals are to ensure effective screening and maximize our screening capacity to achieve shorter line waits. additionally, we are providing more overtime and 768 new tsa officers, and we are also
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converting, with the help of congress and the reprogramming request, our frontline officers from part time to full time, as necessary, to increase, immediately increase screening capacity and help improve retention and morale. and i thank you for supporting these efforts. i've given federal security directors the flexibility to redeploy behavior detention officers to perform additional screening functions, and they have done so and they have pushed the behavioral detection officers back into the screening checkpoints. we have deployed additional canine teams and activated our national voluntary deployment force to be available to move to areas of greatest need. finally, we are now seeing enrollments in tsa precheck that are averaging more than 15,000 new enrollments a day. that's more than almost three times what we saw last year at this time. to intensify our agencywide focus on mission effectiveness, i've brought in new staff from outside the agency. i have a new deputy administrator, a new chief of staff, a new chief of operations, a new head of intelligence and other key positions. i've also directed several leadership and operational changes at the national, regional and airport levels. at chicago o'hare, a new
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leadership team is now overseeing screening operations, and with the support and hard work of the talented workforce at o'hare, immediate adjustments in addition to some infusion from the reprogramming had dramatically improved passenger through-put, even as volume has increased beyond 90,000 passengers each day. i've directed a fundamental review of the staffing structure of our screening operations. we must match operational capacity to the demands of projected and real screening volume, and we are continuing to work closely with the department and congress to adjust our appropriations to allow us to match resources with mission demands. finally, in aggressively pursuing long-term solutions to the growing volume of airline travel, we established an innovation task force earlier this year to explore and develop new approaches to airport security. one example is a public-private partnership in atlanta, where the first two automated lanes became operational this week, and they're already vastly improving screening
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effectiveness and efficiency, and we look forward to the results of the first couple weeks of that operation. we have similar projects and visions for other major airport we cannot and we will not compromise on the security of the traveling public. my guiding principles, which i expressed in my administrator's intent, are focused on mission, invest in people, and commit to excellence. we are pursuing these objectives every day. as administrator, i will continue to do so until we achieve and sustain success in every aspect of this agency, in every mission, in every office, in every location where we operate and with every single employee. mr. chairman, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today and for the committee's support, and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you, admiral. i now recognize myself for questions. let me just say first we all, all americans experienced the horror on 9/11 of airplanes being turned into cruise missiles and being turned against us, bringing down the world trade center, hitting the
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pentagon and attempting to hit this building. it still remains the crown jewel of aviation. we know that al qaeda in the arabian peninsula's still intent on this. we know that isis in the sinai was able to pull off sharm el sheik, the downing of a russian airliner. as i mentioned in my opening remarks, i recently had the experience to go to northern sinai where isis exists. i also looked at the cairo airport, which has a daily flight into jfk airport. and i have to say, i'm concerned about the state of security there. i'm also concerned with the state of security at charles de gaulle, where 70 extremists were weeded out of the process, and we have 50 flights per day flying into the united states. this is the external operation that keeps me up at night. can you tell me, sir, what tsa is doing to protect these last
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point of departure airports, particularly in these high-threat areas? >> yes, sir. thank you, mr. chairman. and like you, i'm very focused on the safety of inbound flights to the united states. so we look at -- there are a number of things we do for last point of departure airports. first and foremost is working through the international community to continually try to raise global standards to the highest possible level. in addition, with respect to the last point of departure airports, we've put additional standards and requirements in place for any aircraft that intends to fly directly to the united states without any intermediate stops. that includes screening of passengers, screening of cargo, screening of the aircraft itself as well as vetting of any individuals that are on board those flights coming to the united states. in addition to that, following the metrojet incident, we put a number of additional security measures in place at certain airports of interest and concern in the region that have added significant additional requirements to aircraft and personnel intending to fly
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directly to the united states from those lpds. >> well, yeah, there's legislation i mentioned that's sitting in the senate that has not been passed would help you and give you authorities to assist these airports overseas with flights coming directly into the united states, and yet, it has not -- it's been stalled. you know, when i didn't see full-body scanners in cairo, that concerns me because of the nonmetallic ied threat. this can be fixed, and we can't even share proper intelligence with the egyptians at that airport to properly vet their own employees and screen passengers. i worry about this, sir, and i hope that i can work with you to expedite this process. and i've met with the egyptians, the president and the ambassador. i'm working with them. i think they're working in good faith with the united states to ensure the safety of americans as well. with respect to the lines, in the president's budget request,
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there's a request for an additional 350 screeners. however, two weeks ago, tsa came back to the congress and asked to have 34 million reprogrammed, and we granted that request for 768 tsos, which will come online i think by the end of june, i hope, or early july. but this was really not our first rodeo. why didn't we see this coming? >> that's a good question, and as you know, when i came on board last year on the heels of the ig's results, it was immediately apparent to me that one of the challenges we were going to have is enough screening staff to man the checkpoints effectively. as you recall, we stopped a practice known as managed inclusion, which was the practice of randomly assigning people out of the standard lanes, unvetted individuals, just randomly assigned to the precheck lane. one of the discoveries out of
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our root cause analysis in working with the ig was that introduced unacceptable risk into the system. in doing that, i knew that that would dramatically increase the number of people back in the standard lanes, and we weren't staffed to the level we needed to man all the lanes possible. so, i came to congress, and congress was very gracious in granting a request to halt any further reductions. we had planned to drop another 1,600 people in fy '16. and then when we got the appropriations bill in december, we immediately began to do accelerated hiring. the additional 768 is on top of what we've requested for fy '17. and in my opinion, is necessary to meet the near-term challenge of the increased volume this summer and then moving forward. so, we've been working very aggressively to move that, but as you know, there's a lag associated with getting the funding and then getting it hired, the -- >> and i agree with that, but you have a lot of part-time employees on staff. >> we do. >> and do you intend to make a
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second request to reprogram monies that have already been appropriated to tsa to move part-time employees to full time? >> well, i think it's important that we move more part-timers to full time because it drops my attrition rate dramatically and it's instant capability that i can put to use. we're working through the administration now on whether there's a need for a second reprogramming request. >> well, i think about 20% of your employees are part time. in my judgement, they're already trained to do the job. and it seems to me that would cause, overnight would ramp up your personnel force to deal with the long lines. and we know we anticipate those going into the summer season. as i mentioned earlier, we plan to introduce legislation. we met with 30 airport authorities -- over 30 airline representatives. they expressed concerns that there was not the proper coordination at the local level
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with the field security directors at tsa, that they didn't have flexibility, that the staffing model didn't reflect the peak time that the flights were coming in. and in large part, this would solve a lot of these staffing problems if there is better communication at the local level and these local directors were empowered to make decisions based on what's happening at the local airports. do you agree with that? >> i absolutely agree with that. in fact, one of the first things i did last fall when i brought all my federal security directors together for the first time is to direct them to take responsibility for their local region. i've given them full authority. i like institutionalizing ideas like that so that they stay, because i think that's an important way to go forward. >> and that's what this legislation would do. it would require tsa to basically assess its staffing allocation model and also mandate that they get local input from the airlines and the airports. would you agree with that? >> absolutely.
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in fact, that's what we're doing right now and i'd like to make that a permanent practice at tsa. >> another element in the bill is the tsa's behavioral detection officers who roam around the airport. there are about 3,000 of them. if they can be redeployed to the front screening end process, to me that would help solve a lot of these problems. i think the ranking member mentioned this in his opening statement. do you agree that that would be an appropriate response? >> well, we are redeploying the behavioral detection officers now. i think it's also important to note that behavioral detection is still an important element, but it's how you use it effectively i think that matters. and so, i can use those officers directly at things like document-checking positions to serve as divest officers, places where they can still monitor and look at behavior, but at the same time, directly contribute to the efficiency of the checkpoint. >> and finally, do you support -- well, i can't say -- do you support the concept of expanding tsa's precheck
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program, which i think would move a lot of people in the long lines into the precheck lines, which i think would solve many of these problems as well. >> absolutely. in fact, that's one of my fundamental priorities is to dramatically expand the precheck population and dramatically expand the capability to enroll people in precheck. >> and sir, i know they're putting a lot of blame on you for this crisis, but we passed a bill out of this committee to expand the tsa precheck program, which would have helped this situation, and it is sitting there in the senate, stalled in the senate. they could have helped this problem months ago, and it's unconscionable that the senate hasn't acted on this. and i call upon the senate. sometimes they don't listen to us in the house. but for the sake of the american people, it's time for the senate to act on this important legislation. with that, i now recognize the ranking member. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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cedric, put that chart up. i have a chart that kind of crystallized what i think is the challenge that tsa is faced with. in fy '11, we had 45,000 tsos, 642 million passengers. fy '16, we have 740 million passengers and only 42,500 tsos. i guess the question that comes to mind, what do you think the number of tsos you need to address the problem we are faced with now? >> well, thank you for the question. i do think that we are at a lower staffing level than we

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