tv Politics and Public Policy Today CSPAN May 26, 2016 9:00am-11:01am EDT
. live now to the canon house office building on capitol hill where the house homeland security subcommittee on transportation security is expected this morning to look into the time it takes to get through airport screening. the room pretty empty right now, but when committee members show up, this will be the second consecutive day of capitol hill hearings on airport security and waiting times. the hearing will examine how airports and airlines have been impacted by these long wait times. they will also investigate ow airports might provide effective screening of the traveling public.
[ indistinct conversation ] again, live on capitol hill as this house subcommittee prepares this morning to investigate long wait times at security checkpoints, the associated press is reporting on security breaches outside of the airport. reading from the story "year after," an associated press first revealed persistent problems outer defenses. breaches remain as frequent as ever, occurring once every ten days despite investments to fortify the nation's airfields. as americans focus on the wait in ever-longer security screening lines inside terminals, new documents are showing dozens more incidents happening outside perimeters
than airports have disclosed. at the same time, leaders at some airports and the u.s. transportation security administration are saying that some of the 345 incidents the a.p. found should not count as security braeeaches even when intruders got deep into secure areas. [ indistinct conversation ] [ indistinct conversation ]
the committee on homeland security, a subcommittee on transportation security, will come to order. a bit of housekeeping before we proceed, i ask unanimous consent that the gentlewoman from california, ms. mcsally, be able to it is on the dais and participate in this hearing. without objection, so order. the committee is meeting to gain local perspectives on this important issue. i recognize myself for an opening statement. as the summer holiday season approaches we are in the midst of a crisis at our airports. american families are planning to enjoy their time off, traveling to points near and far, businessmen and women are doing the same that they do all year round and the added crush of the travel season, leisure season, is causing particular problems, as they begin their journeys they will arrive at airports around the country only to be confronted with longer and longer lines at many airports, at tsa checkpoints, causing some to return home after missing
their flights and stranding others to take up temporary residence at the airport on a cot like we saw in chicago a few weeks ago. unfortunately this is not an isolated incident and this committee continues to receive reports from around the country describing delays at tsa checkpoints in excess of two hours. on good friday, march 25, 600 passengers missed their flights at the charlotte douglas international airport due to an apparent lack of tsa manpower and check point inefficiencies. in fact, that airport was nearly forced to affect a ground stoppage, a literal standstill of air traffic due to delays at the checkpoint. this wholly unacceptable and i along with the american tax pay expect the security of america's airports to be streamlined, effective and efficient. this committee has worked tirelessly with tsa to ensure the manpower and technology they
need to ooperate checkpoints is there. while tsa communicated to the american public that increased wait times should be expected at our nation's airports as we enter the high travel seasons, they did not v a clear picture of the resources they would need to tackle this problem and clearly were not prepared for it. the tsa fiscal year '17 budget request didn't account for overtime or staffing they are requesting to meet their basic screening function. it wasn't until widespread media reports of passengers on cots -- which is completely unacceptable -- and excessive wait times that's the say made the decision to request and reallocate assets to help combat the issue. i and my colleagues on this committee and miss mcsally are growing increasingly frustrated that tsa needs constant prodding to affect changes at the agency. this committee has passed several pieces of bipartisan legislation that would go a long way towards improving security at airport as well as checkpoint optimization but the senate refuses to expedite passage of these important bill, standing on principle or some esoteric
theory about how the agency should be run. in short, they're trying to polish the brass while the fire bell is ringing. for example, my tsa pre-check bill would require tsa to expand and aggressively market the program thereby increasing the number of trusted travelers into the system. diverting them into pre-check checkpoints and aclealevleviati stress on public checkpoints. however due to typical washington antics, this bill, amongst others, remains stalled. when i came to congress i made a commitment to my constituents to tackle problems head on and get things done. last week, the subcommittee convened representatives from airports and airlines from across the country to discuss the crisis and flare them about what they think needs to be done to help. it was a very productive meeting and gave me faith that the process in congress can and does work sometimes. the message was consistent. tsa needs to collaborate with airport authorities to coordinate sufficient staffing levels on a local basis.
i have heard your message and today i will introduce the checkpoint optimization and efficiency act of 2016 which will require tsa to maximize their available resources and give airports and airlines a seat at the table to ensure resources are being utilized and allocated in the most effective and efficient manner. make no mistake, security is first and foremost. those that wish to do us harm continue to plot against the aviation community and we must be ready to confront them at every turn but tsa has to find a way to maintain security while fulfilling its duties to keep passengers safely moving through the system. they have the capability to do it. tsa has to be forward leaning to address obstacles as they present themselves. i would like to thank our witnesses for taking time out of their schedules and making multiple trips to washington to aid us in solving the problem. i'm lucky and fortunate to have the international airport that i fly in and out of each week as the well oil machine it is
compared to the horror stories we had at last week's round table and i have christine callahan, one of the witnesses, to thank for that. i would like to thank you for being here today and i look forward to hearing your perspective on the best and most effective way forward. with that i recognize the ranking member of the subcommittee, the gentleman from new jersey, mr. payne, for his opening statement and i like those glasses. [ laughter ] >> thank you, mr. chairman. i wore them just for you. >> no orange. >> i'd also like to thank you for holding this hearing. it's good we're having this hearing immediately following the full committee hearing with administrator neffenger yesterday. wait times have been a major cause of concern within our nation's airports. last week, for example these extreme wait times, the transportation security administration reallocated resources to chicago midway
international airport and newark liberty airport to decrease the length of screening lines. while i'm pleased that tsas are being given the opportunity to be converted to full time and the administration has taken steps to address the problem in the interim we need to find a viable long-term solution to this problem. rheal locating or taking one airport's resources and giving it to another will only fix the problem temporarily for the summer travel period, tsa predicted that nearly 740 million individuals will use commercial aviation to travel which happens to be the most -- most air travelers this country has ever seen. in contrast, tsos were responsible for screening passengers at baggage as some of the lowest number -- are at some of the lowest numbers we've seen
in years. this is due in large part to limited resources. under former administrator pistol, the agency pivoted to risk-based security, a frame of mind that we focus our resources on individuals who we know are less -- know less about, and rightfully so. however this methodology also came with programs that were not sustainable due to security risks such as man inclusion two, which has since ceased. although they are still using a risk-based approach it does not take away from the fact that the amount of travelers when compared to the number of people traveling is insufficient. last week, the transportation security subcommittee held a round table discussion with the airports and many important things were discussed.
there were general agreements that bdos could be used in other roles throughout the screener model. yesterday we learned tsa agrees and supports the federal security directives having the flexibility to use bdos in different ways. we also heard concern on whether or not for t federal security directors had enough flexibility to operate necessary checkpoints with staffing. the administrator testified yesterday that he believed that they always had such flexibility and that he worked to ensure that they knew they had this flexibility. now we get to hear more perspectives from stakeholders who are intimately involved with the commercial aviation and airlines and airports themselves. today i look forward to hearing
what your experiences this issue have been as well as how you view the steps that are being taken. i would also like to thank president cox from afge for being here to serve as a voice of the work force tsos represent the front line in our efforts to secure the commercial aviation sector. they do an outstanding job screening passengers and their belongings and often unfairly receive the majority of the blame for this issue. their perspective is absolutely vital in this conversation. with that, mr. chairman, i want to thank you and i yield back the balance of my time. >> thank you, mr. payne. other members of the committee are reminded opening statements may be submitted for the record. we are pleased to have a very distinguished panel here to testify before us today on this very important topic. christina callahan serves as executive director for syracuse
hancock international airport in syracuse, new york. ms. bonnie allen is president and ceo of the tucson airport in tucson, arizona. ms. lydia bearsto serves as managing deputy commissioner for security in the department of aviation for the city of chicago. ms. carry filapovich, senior vice president for american airlines and david cox, national president of the american federation of government employees. thank you for being here today. i now recognize ms. christina callahan for an opening statement. >> thank you. thank you for inviting us to today's hearing on an issue that requires both immediate attention and long-term sustainable solutions -- how to handle growing lines at tsa checkpoints at airports across the country while maintaining the high standards for passenger and baggage screening we need in
order to keep the flying public safe. syracuse international airport is a small commercial hub serving two million passengers annually, providing cargo and general aviation services to central new york. it employs hundreds of people and is a vital component of our economy. as an origination and destination airport we serve 17 direct markets and we are the departure point for one million outbound passengers every year while syracuse has not experienced the recent increased long security checkpoint times, we are part of a national transportation system that links our passengers to the airports represents here today and working towards a solution as we enter one of the busiest travel seasons in the year is as important to syracuse as it is to my fellow airports. what i hope to offer today in addition to echoing my fellow airports' concerns are examples of the steps we have taken to
address our issues at home, ensuring the security and safety of the flying public employees and other airport users is the top priority for airports. above all else we are entrusted by the traveling public to provide safe and secure airplane transportation. checkpoint wait times that exceed an hour or longer at some of our nation's busiest airports have negative impacts on all elements of the air transportation system. passengers are frustrated, taking their frustrations out on tsa airport and airline employees. the anxiety caused by concern over missing a flight or worse missing that flight creates an environment that is already challenged and difficult. several factors have been identified that have contributed to the checkpoint wait time issues. they include no increase in the number of transportation security officers between fiscal years 2015 and '16, the high rate of tso attrition followed by the lengthy process to hire new tso's, record lagging in
passenger traffic. combined they have created a perfect storm. working together, the airports, tsa, the airlines and industry advocates have identified short and long-term recommendations that focus on key areas, including the need for sufficient tsa staffing, increased pre-check enrollment and participation and the continued need to modernize airport infrastructure. we do not, however, support the imposition of any new passenger fees, rather we believe that the portion of the 9/11 passenger security fees currently being used to pay for government other government programs should be used to pay for tsa. chairman katko was at the airport last november when we unveiled the tsa enrollment center in syracuse. pre-check has proven to be very successful at our airports. almost 40% of the flying public is enrolled in precheck. while we believe this is the result of having an enrollment
center in the terminal. our efforts to educate the public on the benefits of precheck have been very important and while seemingly insignificant, the airport's role in incentivizing people to enroll in precheck by giving them free parking has resulted in the increased numbers of people enrolling. and while not all airports are in a position to offer incentives, we have found it has encouraged enough people to come out and spend an hour and enroll in pre-check. i would be remiss if i didn't emphasize the need to modernizing airport infrastructure. we have spent time in money in consolidating our checkpoint into one central checkpoint to introduce efficiencies at every level. a central checkpoint was designed to bring the physical screening of passengers and baggage in alignment, it improved passenger and baggage screening at "self" levels.
it allowed for the introduction of new screening fi ining equip consolidated tsa resources into one and has allowed us to implement new security requirements such as the screening of all concession employees. we've also been on the cutting edge of security by installing automated exit portals. these automated exit portals allow passengers and employees to exit the concourses safely and securely without preventing reentry. it also eliminates the need to staff the exit lanes thus saving the airport money and reducing the human error element. let me stress that this project would not have been possible without the use of the airport's passenger facility charges. to place the blame solely on tsa is unfair and not a solution to the problem. we must work together to address the underlying issues before you today. in closing, i would like to offer my gratitude to chairman
katko and to the other members of the subcommittee for taking the time to listen to our concerns. thank you for inviting us and for your continued commitment to the safety and security of airports and the people who use them everyday. >> thank you, ms. callahan, syracuse is, indeed, very fortunate to have you at the helm at the airport and i can tell you from personal experience that it's generally very pleasurable. the only thing difficult is when you're trying to get a flight to ken day and it always seems to be delayed. other than that, appreciate your efforts and i -- your forward thinking on getting a kiosk at the airport, your forward thinking by giving free parking to tsa is like a marketing thing. thinking outside the box, that's good stuff. thank you very much. i'd like to have ms. mcsally introduce her friend from the tucson airport. ms. mcsally. >> thank you, chairman katko. i really appreciate you being my wingman on this issue and many issues and letting me join this hearing today. i'm grateful for you inviting bonnie allen to testify this morning. bonnie is the president and ceo
of the tucson airport authority responsible for promoting aviation services and related economic development for southern arizona, including operations and maintenance of the tucson international airport and ryan airfield where she has firsthand experience on the challenges related to tsa staffing. bonnie began her career in aviation in 1976 with the tucson airport authority then moved to texas where she worked for corpus christi international, ending her tenure as director of aviation. she holds the designation of accredited airport executive and is the past chairman of international association of airport executives. glad to have bonnie with us today and i yield back. >> ms. allen, you're up. >> thank you, representative mcsally, for the introduction. good morning chairman katko, ranking member payne, honorable members of the committee, representative mcsally. it is a privilege to appear before you to discuss tucson's challenges with passenger screening wait times. mr. chairman and members, thank
you for your leadership on airport security and the protection of our passengers. representative mcsally, thank you for your leadership in protecting tucson international airport in southern arizona. i was fortunate to participate in last week's round table which you mentioned, mr. chairman, and the discussion and am truly appreciative of the time and attention you're devoting to understanding the causes of checkpoint processing delays and your efforts to seek both short and long-term solutions. safety and security of our people, property, and our craft are the highest priority. for those of you unfamiliar tucson international airport, we are an origination and destination airport therefore less than 5% of our passengers connect through, instead recall screened by local tsa, historical weight times average 10 to 15 minutes with peak times rarely competing 25 minutes maximum, even when we had passenger levels 25% higher than we do today.
tucson's high season as opposed to many other airports is november through march with a very strong peak season mid-january through march. >> i have to interject. i can assure you there's no -- that's not the high season in syracuse. [ laughter ] that's the haixun for snow. >> they're all coming to sue son. >> i couldn't resist. >> and we would love for you to visit tucson in february, sir. this year or our visitors, many viz frorz the northern part of the country and our tucsonian customers experienced wait times 45 and sometimes in excess of 60 minutes. there's an exhibit to my written testimony with the photo of the passengers lined up across the front of our terminal. we have a very des kadicated an loyal tsa staff who are committed to the safety and efficient screening of our passengers.
unfortunately they lack the planning, coordination and staffing resources needed to be able to efficiently process the passengers in our peak times. in may of 2015, tucson tsa lost between 10% and 13% of the work force. it was a full year before replacements were trained and released to fully screen and have their duties. combined with increase passenger levels, adding ait equipment and having limited authority due to inflexible staffing and processing models prescribed to them, they did not allow them respond to the changing conditions and as a result we experienced very long lines. i respectfully offer some recommended solutions for your consideration. it's recommended that the local tsa have the ability to openly communicate with their airport and airline partners in order to better plan and allocate resources. that flexibility, autonomy and
authority be dell kate ededicat tsa to adjust for changing conditions, especially spoke airports such as tucson. that regular and consistent staffing at pre-check lines be allocated so that they can be opened. tucson's two checkpoints combined, pre-check lanes, are open less than five hours a day. usually between three and four. that the staffing allocation model be updated. it is inflexible and doesn't allow for changing conditions. that better utilization of existing resources and personnel be made, especially behavioral detection officers. that effective outreach and marketing of pre-check and global entry -- as we are close to the border and it's very high use there -- be done to increase enrollment. development of technology to help provide solutions be given a priority and that optimization of checkpoints be customized to best fit each airport and the
information shared. airports are willing to invest in effective tucson will begin a project in june to are locate and expand our checkpoints the. if they are not proper he i quipped and staffed, all of that resource will be lost. mr. chairman and members, while none of these recommendations alone are a perfect fix, by stakeholders working together we have the opportunity to solve the checkpoint issues and enhance the safety of our aviation system. we comment you on the proposed legislation checkpoint optimization and efficiency act of 2016. if enacted it will go a very long way towards providing solutions to the checkpoint wait issues. thank you for this opportunity to share my views, i would be happy to answer any questions you might have. >> thank you, ms. allin for your testimony. it's interesting to juxtapose your experience at your airports with what we experience in
syracuse. it seems like the larger the airport the more acute the problems and now we'll talk to ms. biersto about that. so appreciate your testimony and you have five minutes. thank you. >> thank you, chairman katko, ranking member payne and members of the subcommittee for inviting me to testify today on this important issue of providing efficient and safe passenger screening at our airports. my name is lydia baeirsto, i serve for the chicago department of aviation overseeing o'hare and midway international airports. chicago manages two of the nation's busiest airport, o'hare and midway, sand the only single city system that serves as a hub for three major airlines -- united, american and southwest airlines, in 2015, 98 million passengers passed through our airports combined. in 2016 and beyond, those numbers are projected to grow.
our airports serve as an economic engine contributing $45 billion in annual economic activity, creating 540,000 jobs. we are a major paret of the air ecosystem. when o'hare sneezes, the rest of the country catches a cold. passenger safety and security is our top priority and certainly mine. in march, suicide bombings at brussels airport killed 16 people in the airport check in areas and 16ors in the city metro station. long security line, large crowds of passengers in queues are not just an inconvenience, they, themselvesings, expose vulnerability and security risk. by more efficiently moving passengers into the screened and secure areas, we are increasing safety and security. this year, there has been a 7% growth in passenger activity while tsa staffing levels declined nearly 17%. airports and airlines began raising concerns about security staffing for the summer travel season as early as last summer.
by early may this year, as our peak travel season started, we started experiencing a total breakdown. passenger wait times were consistently 60 minutes or more. airline passengers have reported wait times as high as 120 minutes with thousands of passengers missing their flights. . the delays we experienced were knowable and preventable. staff resources went down as security operating procedures changed. moving forward to address these issues tsa resources are needed to increase and meet passenger demand. tsa needs to manage existing resources better, they need flexibility and local authority to respond to situations on the ground. may 13 a traveller at midway airport posted a youtube video documenting significant checkpoint lines i six out of 17 lanes were staffed by tsa. at o'hare, the situation reached
crisis point on sunday, may 15, where without adequate staffing american airlines reported 543 passengers were impacted by long lines. united airlines experienced 37 flight delays and rebooked over 4,300 passengers, many of which, as you noted, chairman, stayed overnight at the airport sleeping on cots. mayor rahm emanuel worked with key officials from dhs, tsa, and members of chicago's congressional delegation to secure immediate resources for the city. tsa sent in optimization teams, they committed to add 58 officers to o'hare, converted over 160 part timers to a full time duty, increased overtime and provided by eight additional canine teams to o'hare from around the country. we greatly appreciate administrator neffenger's responsiveness and that resources arrive sod quickly for o'hare. we are working to ensure similar
promise responses to the needs and concerns at midway airport. this response was possible because congress approved tsa's reprogramming request and we were grateful to you for taking that quick action. to ensure transparency, we will be releasing a biweekly score card showing average and maximum wait times, staffing and resource levels provided by by tsa. in the short term, in order to manage the spring and summer travel season ahead there are a few critical resources and management steps that we need to ensure are reallocate passenger screening canine teams, ensure tsa is transparent about its staffing allocation models and level, transportation transparency helps us better predict potential staffing strategies and shortages. provide federal security directors the ability to make local decisions about manpower,
allocation and overtime. ensure checkpoints are open on time or risk playingup all day. screen line tsa pre-enrollment process. in the long term, we need to be looking at ramping up resources including passenger screening canines to prepare for future growth, we need to start now as training canine cans take approximately eight months. we need to invest in security infrastructure and checkpoint expansion projects and informs in technology solutions that enhance security and achieve operational efficiencies. thank you for the opportunity to discuss these important and timely issues with you today. we are eager to work with you and secure needed resources to address short-term and long-term airport security challenges. >> thank you ms. baeirsto, much of what you described in your testimony is embodied in the bill we'll present to congress and it's borne out of our discussion with some of the
folks in the audience today, last week and some of you and appreciate that. it's important. one side thing you said that caught me was the opening -- opening the gates on time. because i understand -- and perhaps you can comment on this later, sometimes they open the gate at 5:30 in the morning but don't start screening passengers because they have to calibrate the machines and stuff and once the backup starts you can't catch up. that's poor planning. i now recognize ms. carrie philipovich which i know very well because i fly american every week. >> thank you very much. my name is carrie philipovich testifying on behalf of airlines for america. thanks for inviting me to discuss the impact tsa security lines is having on our
customers. there's nothing more important to the the airline industry than the safety and security of our passengers, employees and cargo. we have never seen tsa wait times that affect airlines and passengers throughout the united states like we've seen in recent months. without immediate leadership, the 231 million earn a americans that will board airplane this is summer will be frustrated and angry. last year, programs that had been in place were eliminated without adding resources required to support longer passenger processing times. the as a result that screening process caused unacceptably long security lines and a frustrated flying public. our discussions with tsa revealed three other contributing factors. first, it appears tsa did not adjust its staffing model after screening protocols were changed. second, tsa is experiencing abnormally high attrition and is
unable to retain transportation security officers, or tsos, third, the pre-check program which allows passengers to go through expedited screening hasn't met enrollment goals. these caused a slowdown in passenger processing at security checkpoints resulting in delays and missed flights. year to date, more than 70,000 american airlines customers have missed flights due to excessive wait times. the same challenges at the passenger checkpoints bog down screening of checked baggage which is also a poor tsa function. this year alone over 40, 000 checked bags were delayed in tsa screening and didn't travel on their scheduled flight. to say customers are agitated is putting it mildly and the public outcry resonated. congress recently reallocated $34 million in funding to the tsa to hire more toss by june 15. we are glad to see tsa is working to shift canine teams to airports experiencing the worst
delays, prebalancing staffing and hiring more tsos. however, tsa needs to do more and more collaboration is needed to minimize the impact on summer travelers, airports, airline employees and the overall economy. airlines are pitching in to do our part. we are committing millions of dollars to fund non-security functions like bin running and queue management to tsa cans focus soilly on screening customers. at american we are adding $4 million on top of the $17 million already planned to spend this year to facilitate passengers through tsa checkpoints at our largest airports. airlines have advised customers to arrive at the airport two hours in advance of a domestic flight and three hours prior to an international departure to ensure specific time. this added time in the travel process is inconvenient and will likely affect less frequent travelers not familiar with the screening process. we are launching aggressive campaigns to promote pre-check to customers and employees.
as pre-check enromment increases, tsa must commit to keep lanes open and staffed throughout the day, especially during peak travel times. the industry is exploring ways to facilitate support for additional canine teams, including whether tsa can use certified canines from other governmental agencies to conduct passenger screening. when canine teams are deployed, tsa can increase passengers going through pre-check. we as an industry are doing our part to help tsa manage through this challenge. airline actions alone cannot solve the problem. we need a partner in tsa that will consider innovative ideas to mitigate wait times immediately and in the long run. in the short term to augment resources tsa could declare all hands on deck for the summer much like we do at our airports during peak and irregular operations. all available staff should be assigned to help at passenger screening checkpoints. tsa resources should be prioritized base on airports
with the most need and projected traffic volumes. tsa could look at ways to spur enrollment by scream litreamlin process. to ensure enrollment resources don't become a new bottleneck, tsa should expedite its selection of third party enrollment providers. we support the idea to give director the ability to corporate with their airline partners to make decisions without having to consult tsa head courters. all parties need to work collaboratively to manage through the summer. full transparency to staffing models and performance data is required to ed td to engage st. we can't be part of the solution if we don't have the facts. to that point, we applaud tsa for its decision to stand up a national command center and ins tuts daily stakeholder calls to better prepare for each day's challenges. in the long run, tsa could review current security prose calls to ensure there are no unnecessary procedures, as part of this review, tsa should
consider additional methods some of which were discontinued. airlines and airports are eager to work with tsa to expedite next generation screening technology including innovation lanes. finally tsa must create a position that reports to the administrator to advocate for customers within the tsa, much as airlines in many airports have executives dedicated to improving customer experience. these are a few idea airlines believe can help reduce the congestion. and congress can help by ensuring administrator neffenger and his team have the tools and resources needed to improve screening, including ensuring that the passengers security fee collected for tsa goes to tsa. ultimately, the tsa screening issue was not created overnight and won't be solved overnight. however, we must work together to offer ideas and resources to tsa while administrator neffenger and his team review current screening protocols, funding priorities and management practices.
thank you for the opportunity to testify today and i would be happy to answer any questions you might have. >> thank you ms. philipovich, appreciate your testimony and we'll have several follow-up questions for all of you, of course. i recognize david cox, national president of the american federation of government employees for his testimony. mr. cox? >> thank you, mr. chairman, representative payne, members of the committee. i am proud to testify today on behalf of the 42,000 transportation security officers, tsos that afge represents that stand on the side of the safety of the flying american public tsos point to four issues have conspired to produce the acute situation at airport wes see today. one, the size of the size of the tso work force didn't keep pace with passenger volume. two, tsa's budget was deprived of much-needed funding by the decision of congress to divert a portion of the security fee to deficit reduction.
three, the focus on the patchwork of airline, airport and contract employees shifted focus away from the tso work force that is present and future of aviation security. and, four, tsos are subject to second-class treatment that hurts the morale of tsos who stay on the job and causes too many experienced screeners to leave tsa. as passenger volume has increased 15% between 2013 and 2016, tsa lost almost 5,000 screeners and failed to replace them. tsa's hiring was focused on part time workers who have a much higher attrition rate than full time tsos. tsa staffing methodology and model depending on pre-check enromments that never happened. congress cut the budget for tsa personnel and imposed aarbitrar
caps on the number of full time screeners. staffing shortages are obvious to the public because they experience long lines. lease obvious are the affect of shortages on the tso work force, missed trainings, meals and rest breaks, missed position rotations that are ness to keep your focused. canceled days off and months of mandatory overtime resulting in very tired and erratic scheduli scheduling. this is no way to run airport security. afg advocates an increase of 6,000 additional full time tsos to the work force. the figure represents the decrease in the size of tsa work force since 2011 as passenger volume has grown 15%. afg also calls on congress to end the arbitrary and severe cap on full-time tsos. when congress voted to diverse
60 cents of the $5.60 security fee per enplanement to the treasury rather than tsa, it deprive it had agency of $1.25 billion, that's billionle with a "b" dollars each year. it's time for congress to dedicate the proceeds of the security fee to tsa to be used for its intended purpose -- funding the agency's security mission and hiring staff. introducing airline and airport employees and private contract employees into the framework of checkpoint security is, at best, a temporary bandage. years of on-the-job experience and commitment to the public are the services that are lost when the tso work force is replaced with airport and airline employees. airport authorities should be aware that they are not going to get more general year under the screening partnership program and that there are long
checkpoint waits at airports with private screeners. despite the importance of their work, tsos receive second class treatment if their employer, the. from. tsa is the only federal agency that is allowed to excuse itself from the fundamental workplace rights and protections found in title v of the u.s. code. tsa does not follow the fair labor standards act and the office of personnel management guidelines on leave. tsa does not have statutory title vii protections against discrimination and they are not paid under the general schedule like that majority of federal work force. tsos lack the ability to appeal adverse personnel actions to a neutral third party like the merit system protection board even though tsa management has that right. to paraphrase the late dr. martin luther king, jr., justice delays has been justice denied to the tso work force.
it's well within the authority of the congress and the tsa to provide tsos the same workplace rights and protections as other federal workers. we urge administrator neffenger to apply title v rights and protections to the tso work force. congress should pass hr 4488, the rights of transportation security officers act introduced by representative benny thompson and anita loy. the bill requires thesa follow the same workplace rules as most agency in the federal government. congress should also ensure funding to tsa to provide 5% retention raises to tsos who have been on the job for two or more years. transportation security officers do all they can to screen passengers. that's why afg pledges to work thesa, congress and the public on solutions for the long lines and, mr. chairman, afge is
asking and seeking a seat at the table to be part of the solution, not part of the problem in what we are currently experiencing in tsa. thank you very much for allowing me today and i'll be glad to take any questions. >> thank you for your testimony. we appreciate you being here today. and bring recognize myself for five minutes of questions, i want to note that it's very interesting that part time employee attrition rate is nearly triple of that full time employees at tsa. and that's something i want to talk about in a few moments time. i want to recognize myself for five minutes of questions. one of the overarching observations from speaking you to last week at the panel, two things, tsa expansion of tsa's critically important and also field service directors was a revelation to all of us that field service directors are really have the hands tied to some extent with respect to making staff and allocation decisions and oftentimes are are not interacting in an
appropriate manner with the airplanes and airlines in the field. our abill addresses all of those things. i'll start with the precheck program. miss callahan, you stated that 40% now of the syracuse airport is on precheck? >> that's correct. >> what type of an impact has that had on the airport and through put of passengers? >> we're seeing wait times on average between 12 and 15 minutes. when i flew out this morning, i had a first experience seeing that and it really has helped to balance the distribution of precheck and noncheck employees during the peak periods which for us is really 4:30 until about 7:00 a.m. >> right. and if any of can you answer this question, there's discussions at times that precheck isn't always open. and i've experienced that myself. it's frustrating to me being
chairman of this subcommittee. but is it fair to say that if precheck were expanded dramatically like it's intended to be that it would allow the lanes to be open to more regular basis because the staffing would warrant it. is that correct? can anyone answer that? >> i think that -- [ inaudible ] >> -- customers enflol precheck. the enrollment rates tend to be higher the more frequently the customers travel. they build that expectation of having precheck available into their schedules in terms of what flights they book and when the meetings end and the like. and it's a service that the tsa is selling. people are paying for. so people are incredibly frustrated customers when they come and find the lines closed. the screening procedures and precheck are much faster so the transaction time per customer is lower and, therefore, we can get many more customers through the check point both safely, securely, and efficiently with more people in precheck.
so we're a big fan of expanding it. >> i take all of you are. is that right? yes. you're all nodding your head. it seems apparent. >> the one issue that we constantly find precheck is helping but as we have continued decrease in staffing, that continues to perpetuate the problem no matter whether we have precheck or number the real issue is we have to have adequate staffing in tsa. >> that's understood. fair to say, is it not, mr. cox, that if you had 20 million people enrolled in precheck nationwide or 30 million enrolled and you had the through put for precheck individuals are double the time it is for others, it would have less stress on the system. you'd have to acknowledge. that. >> it would definitely have less stress on the system. but if we keep losing 5,000 every several years, that's going to have stress on the system. >> and that's something we need to address, for sure. now, with respect to the field service directors, it was really shocking to me that they weren't interacting with some of the airports, especially the major
airport onz a regular basis with respect to the staffing allocation models. so you could comment on that for a moment? . >> we encourage tsa to provide greater transparency so airport as and our airline partners can better plan and schedule around staffing shortages and the like. >> all right. i'm sorey. i referred to miss fields as service director and my able staffer said it's federal service director. so excuse me. one of the things we propose in the bill you is take the fsds and mandate they meet with the airport directors and airlines on a regular basis and that they discuss staffing allocation models. and then certify us to that they're actually doing.
that we're asking that to be done on the local level and on the national level. i think we're hoping that's going to have an impact. if i understand from speaking you to earlier last week that you do that now on a regular basis. is that right? >> yes, sir, we do. in fact, we had a meeting yesterday with our federal security director and his assistants from albany to buffalo. a meeting held in syracuse. 406 the airports in new york state were at that meeting. we had an indepth detailed briefing on the plans for the summer travel season, how we can work together and collaborate to address some of the issues. and my fsd oversees 14 airports. so to see him on a monthly basis is really incredible that he has time to do. that but he's very responsive and reactive to issues. >> that's good. one thing we want to do in this bill is to untie their hands to some extent from administrative standpoint.
i believe that they need to have more flexibility with respect to their decision making authority on the front line. if you get a call from american airlines or chicago and say we're going to get crushed. we sold a bunch of tickets, whatever, let's work together and figure out how to do that. they have to have the flexibility to grant more overtime and have the flexibility to be able to bring more people in. that's what we are contemplating on this bill and based on our discussion with all of you. i appreciate that. mr. cox, one of the things i've been thinking about when you were talking about some of the staffing issues and the attrition rate is if there's some money that is reallocated, if that's a right term, to -- from other parts of tsa to staffing, it would make sense to take a lot of individual that are part time now and make them full time and reducing the attrition rate considerably for
some of them at least? >> yes, sir that, would definitely help with that situation. administrator neffinger spoke with me and said the attrition rate with full time tsos was around p 7% to will 8%. but again, it's over 20% in the part time people. people want full time employment. they will go to other federal jobs or other jobs in the airport seeking full time employment. so moving that money to getting them full time would definitely help fix a lot of the problems. >> okay. and, of course, added benefit during this crisis, if you will, that we're having in airports is that moving someone from full time to -- from part time to full time doesn't take any additional training. >> it doesn't. they're ready to go. many of them in peak times are already working 40 hours a week or possibly more than 40 hours a week. so they're ready to go. so if congress could fix that, that would help with a lot of
the situation. >> thank you very much, mr. cox. i have so many more questions. i can't go over my time too much here. i now recognize the ranking member mr. payne for five minutes of questions. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and, you know, i ask unanimous consent that two letters from afg to president obama and secretary johnson be inserted in the record. >> without objection, so ordered. >> thank you. in response to the issues that your airport and others aren't nation, secretary johnson and administrator neffinger announced plans to address the
lines including additional resources. has the administration's response to the wait time within your airports been effective and have it has a positive infeeffeo this point. we have the additional resources coming in but have not heard how it has impacted your wait times in a positive manner. >> sure. it has. tsa provided 58 additional officers. the shift of moving over 160 part time officers to full time help tsa address the peak periods both in the a.m. shifts and the p.m. sifts. tripling the amount of overtime allows them to open checkpoints early so they're not behind the
curve. they have proven incredibly helpful. the canine teams alone are allowing us to move roughly 5,000 passengers a day through precheck. >> what are the wait times snou. >> midway airport, canine -- with the wait times with canine teams can be 20 to 30 minutes during peak periods. without them, they can reach 60 to 90 minutes. >> okay. we're seeing great impact on the canines. thank you for asking. >> you know, i have newark international in my district. so we are really have had the same experiences that you've been having in chicago based on the hub that we are and also
with the port authority having three airports under its per view. it's been a major hang-up with the wait times. and we've had the resources moved in newark as they have in chicago. and it's dramatically impacted the ability to move passengers in a timely manner. within your testimony you note that bdos could be useful in other positions within the screening model. can you expound for the committee on achieving efficiencies through using the behavioral detection officers? >> thank you, representative payne. yes, sir, the dehaforal detection officers are trained in perceiving people who are
going to do something that is not correct or maybe legal, maybe trying to smuggle something. potentially terrorist ties. by having them as the ticket document checkers, they have a personal connection to every single passenger that goes through and they can screen each individual as opposed to standing to the side or the back of the line where they're observing behavior. they can better detect people who may need additional screening or discussion. >> this is a mod that wiel that oversees that has been infect e i -- effective there. >> okay. my time is winding down. i just want to say to mr. cox all throughout this discussion over the past several weeks that
i've kept the tsos in mind and have made sure that my colleagues have some idea of what they go through and this strain that they're under based on these long wait times as well. and that we -- they're the last line of defense. and we need to make sure that they have the resources that they need in order to do the job well. we can't afford them not to. they have to be right 100% of the time. so just wanted to put that on the record. i yield back. >> thank you, mr. payne. the chair will now recognize other members of the subcommittee and then we'll have five minutes of questions that they may wish to ask the questions. i plan to recognize members present he is start of the hearing by seniority of the subcommittee and then others who are visiting the committee this
morning. those coming in later will be recognized in order of their arrival. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from georgia mr. carter, for five minutes of question. mr. carter? >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for being here. this is obviously very important subject to us. i'm glad to see y'all. i've got some important questions. i have the honor and privilege of representing the first congressional district of georgia. that includes the entire coast of georgia. georgia is unique in the sthaens we have a lot of small airports, a lot of rural areas. we also have hearart ihartsfiel. that presents a dilemma. i'm very interested to know your responses to this. what we've been hearing and what i've been hearing from a lot of the airport officials is that there exists somewhat of a disconnect between the ts -- the
local tsa officials, the airlin airlines, the airport officials and then upper management. they're up here in washington, d.c., if you will. have any of you experienced that? can you comment on that? >> i think each airport is different. there is a saying in our industry, you've seen one airport, you've seen one airport. the relationship that's exist are really local and dependent on the people within the organizations at those airports. i imagine in atlanta it's much more difficult than it in syracuse, new york, where we have access to our fsds and afsds and the airlines on a regular day to day basis. that's what i can offer. >> okay. anyone else?
>> we have an excellent relationship wour screening managers and our local personnel. they now have many layers to go through and models and requirements are dictated, and kini can't say from where but their ability to be able to react quickly to issues on the ground. that's what we experience during our peak period in february and march. when they open the precheck lane, the lines were cut in half. and they were not the full length of our trm nall front. and having the ability to do that would be helpful. >> great. is anyone had any experience with private security? any of you have that experience?
>> i'm sorey. thank you. a few of the airports that americans serve have private security. >> can you give me your impression? i mean, what's been the results? >> i'll just use san francisco as an example. that's probably the one that i'm most familiar with. because the privatised airports, the way the model is today follows the same procedures and staffing allocation models as other airports -- >> okay. i hope that my colleagues heard that. they have to follow the same rules and regulations. the training is the same. everything is the same. so it's in tsa oversees it, correct? >> that's my understanding. >> all right. i'm sorry. continue. >> as long as the operation is properly resourced, we're able to have both effective and efficient screening in either model. it's really the key is making sure that the resource
allocation meets the peak needs of the operation. >> okay. the screening partnership program. mr. cox, i'm going to ask you directly. can you give me an idea why it appears to me and from what i have heard that they do a better job and they save money on top of that. you have any experience with this? >> sir, we believe that the tso that's are employed by the federal government, number one, it's a professionalized workforce. they do a great job. they have been trained to do that. and i think the record speaks very clearly from the cells. since 9/11, we have not had acts of taker nix this country. we had a privatised workforce on 9/11 and we saw what happened. this country was brought to its knees. the government has been taking care of that. they're doing that. part of our real problem right now is a lack of staffing, not
enough staff to do the work properly. >> and i understand and i appreciate what you're saying. at the same time, i'm convinced that the private industry can do this just as well with oversight with tsa and save money and improve customer service and decrease the long lines that we're experiencing in our airports. i don't -- and they go through the same training. all of the tsa still has the oversight. the responsibility. i think it's unfair to compare what happened on 9/11 between privatization and being run by the public. i mean, that took us all. we were all asleep at the wheel then. you have to admit. that. >> i agree. i was watching fox news last sunday and one of the commentators was at the san francisco airport and complaining about the long lines, rudeness of the officers and various incidents that was going on and said this is a classic example of why it needs
to be privatised. and i busted out laughing because it is a privatised airport. all the problems she was referring to was in a privatised airport. she wasn't in atlanta or miami. she was in san francisco, complaining saying it was a classic example of why it should be privatised. >> what i'd like to see is some comparisons. you mention the disconnect. you commended on the disconnect between washington and the local officials. the bureaucracy is under control. we need to get it under control. i know i've gone past my time. there is just a very important subject to me. so i appreciate your input on. that mr. cox, what you're
telling me, i'm having different views expressed to me by other people. so i'm going to continue to search on this and continue to try to see what we can come up with. mr. chairman, i yield back and thank you. >> thank you, mr. carter. i ask unanimous consent that the gentlelady from texas be able to participate in this hearing and without objection so ordered. >> may i express my appreciation to the chairman and ranking member for your courtesies. this is a committee that i have a great affection for because i indicated before that the tsos are the first line of defense if you will for the neighborhood, for the nation's aviation security. so let me thank all of you for your presence here.
i have some direct questions and then i want to raise a series of questions for mr. cox. thank you for representing a fine professional staff which i want to be more professional. less part time, more recruitment, increased salaries and the numbers you would like to have. so i would ask the representative from the chicago, illinois, the admiral was here just yesterday -- excuse me, just yesterday and understand that wait has gone to 15 minutes. i'd like to see what you're obviously here today, thursday, i'd like to hear your assessment. have the times and waits improved? >> considerably, ma'am. we've seen wait times less than 15 minutes. >> so there's been a fix, if you will. we have to see that it's a consistent fix. >> a permanent fix. >> and that's even better to hear that it's a permanent fix. he added more, as i understand, there is a task force and he's
added more employees s that correct? >> correct. it's a temporary right now. we need permanent fix. >> so you were staying we need a permanent fix. >> right. >> that will come and the temporary is that you added more personn personnel? >> yes, the extended overtime allowed for increased shifts. >> are you aware that we expect 700 nobody by july and so you would get some additional tsos? >> um aware, thank you. >> and that would probably help the circumstances. is there a problem with the baggage check down? there is a screening and then a baggage check s there a problem on the baggage check area as well? >> it's not surfaced at our level. the problem has been relieved for a moment and we expect to continue to work with you for that. >> and midway airport is still waiting for additional resources.
is there an airline representative here from american airlines? you have been able to work by way of getting your concerns to tsa? should we facilitate a better communication protocol when there are concerns? >> you know, we've been working very collaboratively and infectively at the headquarters level with admiral n neffinger and at the local level. the airlines are taking action in collaboration with the tsa. and also promoting many of the actions that the tsa is suggesting and already taking and also the actions that are contained in the chairman's proposed legislation which we're in favor of as well. >> which means you'd be willing to pay for overtime for tsos? >> you know, right now we really have to get more transparency
into the staffing model and understand how resources are being deployed. we need to make sure that we have an analytical model that puts resources where they need to be to meet the peak demands of our customers. >> and i agree with you. and more flexibility for the fsds? would that be helpful? >> in cooperation with their airline partners, yes. >> you would join with us? i heard the point being made that we need more data regarding the baggage fees? i think there should be an assessment and study come frgt airlines and tsa on the baggage flees as to whether or not they increase the number of bags coming through by hand carry. you would work with us on that? >> may i comment on that checked bagga baggage? >> yes. >> they've been charging checked baggage fees since 2008. i think it would be inaccurate to say that bag fees are leading to the current line waits that we -- that we're experiencing. you mentioned --
>> can i interject for a moment? we note that we've will a size ablg increase in passenger travel between 2008 and 2011 and 2016. the only question is we have our different perspectives. you would participate and collaborate on getting the data that we need to understand the question better? >> we're interested in collaborating to solve the problem. i do want to note that baggage screening, as you noted, is also a core function of tsa. even though we had heard from my colleague from chicago that we haven't had severe issues there, some of our other airports have experienced significant back logs and even worse than what we're experiencing. >> what we want to do is fix the problem. >> right. we want to fix the problem. i know you have hubs like miami. so we want to fix the problem. let me quickly move to mr. cox if i might. i travelled to many airports and
i take the opportunity to speak to tsos wreeverywhere i go. i ran into one individual, his name is vincent. who is a world war ii veteran came and was in a wheelchair. just dropped off by his family and traveling by himself. he said i don't want anybody else. i want a tso. tso. that means to come out to the curb. so a tso went out to the curb. and took him at the wheelchair all the way to -- through security, et cetera, et cetera, getting the gate, getting down to the door of the plane and he noted that this proud world war ii veteran would have been dropped off by his family members, i'm sure they meant well, he could not walk. and you're tso agent lifted him up and took him and put him on the plane. i think these are the stories
that need to be told. mr. chairman would yield me just a moment here. >> miss jackson lee, we're crunched for time. she needs to go. too. >> may i just get this last question in? >> please hurry. >> yes, thank you. >> i support a professional staff not privatization. would you respond to that quickly, please? >> we clearly believe that a professional staff that our government employees that, this is inherently governmental function to keep the american public safe. these people are well trained. they do a great job. they love their jobs. they just need to have adequate staffing to be able to do their jobs and to do them properly. and i think if the committee really wants to get legislation that tries to get the input and collaboration that it would be important that afge and the employees that it represents be included in the legislation as one of the partners trying to resolve the problem. >> thank you. thank you very much, mr.
chairman. thank you very much. more funding is important. i yield back. >> thank you. the chair recognizes the patient and ms. arizona. one of the main issues is flexibility for the fsds. they can make decisions on the ground but not just for the fsds, for the supervisors in spoke airports like tucson. i was asked this question yesterday. and he said he has given that flexibility at fsds. i felt like i was listening to parallel universes that were in complete contradiction with each other. he believes that they already have that flexibility. it is unbelievable to me that it would take an act of congress to actually direct them to provide flexibility. this just leadership 101. but he sincerely believes he's given that authority. i specifically asked him yesterday about this and the spoke airports like tucson. he said they have all the authority they need.
maybe they're just not getting the message. he just recently removed kelly hogan who potentially is the barrier to this direction being communicated down to all of you. i want to say we need your immediate feedback. he gave his props yesterday he was going to follow up on this and they understood his guidance that they have that flexibility. can you share -- you've given example. if we have the flexibility with our senior tsa rep on the ground in the last few months, what -- at what instance -- other instances were their hands tied and what you have been tibl do there in order to alleviate the problems that we're having? >> thank you, representative. when we were experiencing the extreme lines, the challenge that our local represent whiati with tsa had was a fact that there are specific models, certain through put has to go -- passengers per hour have to go
through the lane before the second lane can be opened up. and that with one standard lane, then a second standard lane had to be open before precheck. where precheck is the quick resolution because the line was cut in half when the prechak la -- precheck lane was opened. >> did that direction come from d.c. or feenism? >> phoenix came down when the passengers were calling the media from the lines and the media began showing up. it all exploded. >> right. >> is that still the case? they have to do the second line before precheck? >> with staffing, yes, ma'am. they're limited on staffing and, therefore, can't open the precheck. it requires more people. i'm sorry, i can't tell you exactly how many more than a standard lane. >> okay. great. are there any other situations where you saw the hands were tied? they could have maybe moved, say, bdos to be checking ids or
something else? >> yes, ma'am. we've been asking more bdos to be document checkers since the problems first started with the holidays prior to our season coming. and our fsd in phoenix refused saying that it was important for them to be observing the line, the people in line as opposed to being able to be document checkers. i think all that changed by the admiral and we appreciate that greatly. >> okay, great, thanks. you know, you said you appreciated the assistance. you know, there was a big media attention to the problems that chicago and then additional agents and canine teams came to the rescue. however, they were pulled from somewhere else. what we heard from the roundtable is the feeling that this squeaky wheel, you know, let's move assets around and go to tv today.
they said something along the lines that we get a turn to be the worst. is that kind of model. you're just going create a crisis somewhere else. so i'm concerned about that. this is more of a whack a mole, you know, scenario as opposed to a strategic model that is going to address all these issues. and we're not robbing from medium and small airports to draes the bigger airport that's end up on tv. >> if i can give an example, ma'am. the passenger screening canines, for example, which we borrow and have been reallocated from other airports, those kinds of resources really need to be allocated from airport passenger through put and security risk, right? those are the kind of things that tsa should consider. >> great, thank you. >> mr. cox i asked about something that was really troubling that i discovered this week which is we have instances
of at least 250 through april that have been reported where tsa agents have been pulled away from their primary mission which is the security of air travel and, you know, efficiency and safety of passengers and air travel to support things like presidential campaign rallies and we heard reports of other events, concerts and sporting events. this is nowhere in their core competency. and so could you please comment on the perspectives on when someone signed up to a tsa agent whether they expect to be at a campaign rally or whether they expected to be doing their core mission and how you all feel about that. >> we expected them to do the core mission, to do the core work. as with any situation, you understand the workers don't get to drive the train. they just show up and do what the boss man tells them to do.
i know our tsos, they want to be at the airport doing their mission and taking care of it. it upsets them when those lines are long and passengers are waiting. passengers get frustrated with them. i would say if you really want to resolve a lot of these proble problems, can you talk to fsds and the administrator but congress probably needs to mandate that there be some work groups made up of tsos themselves, the people who actually do the work can tell you how to improve the processes. i know american airlines does that all the time. i know all these airports do that. we need to be talking to the front line employees. they can give a lot of solutions. they can't give more resource or people, but i'm sure they know how to improve the work processes. >> i agree w very to make sure
that large scale events have safety and security. there are other ways to do that than to be pulling agents that is core responsibility is safety of air travel in order to do. that i appreciate the leverage, mr. chairman. >> thank you. i would like to thank the witnesses for thoughtful testimony and members of the committee may have additional questions for all of you. and we will be asking to respond to those in writing. the hearing record will be open for ten days. before we close, a couple of observations. first of all, if we will more time, we could go on this all day long. but what is the beauty of this hearing is we had the input of the stake holders at the table and those sitting in the audience last week. you know, i think a lot of times people look at congress and say congress is broken. they're not listening us to. i think what transpired is we looked at a crisis. we got the stake holders in here. we listened you to. we crafted a bill and responded to what you have to say. and it's going to have an immediate impact if we can get
it past. i'm excited about that. the frustration is that we're moving these thicks and getting the stuff done. so i ask you to be advocates with the senate to ask the snoot do their job as well. we don't want to hear my nor of the weight time issues. when we can act like this, that's when congress really works. we have to make sure that process comes with positive conclusion. thank you all for coming here. i know it was an early flight for you. if it's any consolation, we were working until 12:30 last night and up at 5:00 this morning. we all have busy days. thank you all very much and -- >> mr. chairman. >> sure. >> adjustment an observation before we close. miss mcsally, you should have not left homeland. i see more now -- >> the chair came to another subcommittee. >> well, we miss you there. >> i am here, baby. >> all right.
presidential candidate senator bernie sanders. california democrats head to the primary polls on june 7th. hillary clinton is also in california today. and c-span will have her san jose rally live at 4:30. and tomorrow, c-span will have live coverage of donald trump's rally in san diego, california. that's tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. the associated press is reporting today that the republican presidential candidate donald trump has the number of delegates needed to lock down the republican nomination. they contacted unbound delegates and enough say they'll support mr. trump to push him over the 1,237 delegates needed. the ap reports the delegates at stake in the five state primaries on june 7th will pad his total and avoid a contested
convention in cleveland in july. >> this weekend on american history tv on c-span3, saturday evening at 6:00 eastern on the civil war -- >> sherman could not have agreed more. by the time he captured atlanta, his thoughts on the mat her fte fully matured. a rebel army dpeeted and another major city had fallen and still the con fed rats would not give up. so rather than continue the futile war against people, he would now wage war against property. >> georgia historical society todd gross on union general sherman arguing that sherman's march to the campaign was hard war rather than total war and the targets were carefully selected. sunday evening at 6:00 on american artifacts. take a tour with senate majority leader mitch mcconnell viewing the oldest rooms in the capitol
like the conference room and his private office. >> i have the good fortune to actually be here on august 28th, 1963 when martin luther king made the i have a dream speech. i confess, i couldn't hear a word. i was at this end of the mall. he was on the lincoln memorial looking out at thousands's thousands of people. but you knew you were in the presence of something really significant. >> then at 8:00 on the presidency, former aides talk about the role of the president's during the vietnam era. >> lbj anguished about that war every single day. and that is not an overstatement. the daily body counts, the calls either to or from the situation room often at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning to see if the carrier pilots had returned. >> his torian h.w. brand is
joined by former lbj aide tom johnson and former nixon aide alex ander butterfield to explore the president's foreign policies during the conflict. monday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. eastern on real america, our five part series on the 1975 church committee hearings convene to investigate the intelligence activities of the cia, fbi, irs and nsa. testimony by cia director william colby, the fbi's james adams and nsa director lou allen, fbi informants and others. >> we are here to review the major findings of our full investigation of fbi domestic intelligence including the program and other programs aimed at domestic targets. fbi surveillance of law abiding citizens and groups, political abuses of fbi intelligence and several specific cases of unjustified intelligence operations. >> for the complete american history tv weekend schedule go, to c-span.org.
>> the afghan ambassador to the u.s. recently discussed on going effort toward peace and unity in afrg as well as the potential for sustained democracy. he spoke this week in washington, d.c. this is about an hour. >> good evening, ladies and gentlemen. i'm tony cully foster. i have the honor of being the president and ceo of the world affairs council. we're an institution where learning happens. our goal tonight in our public program is to provide our distinguished guests an opportunity, all of you, after this presentation by ambassador
mohib to ask questions. please, list ebb carefully. to listen doesn't mean to hear. but we've got an opportunity tonight to listen to and hear from two experts representing the region of the world, afghanistan, a sovereign nation that is a participating member in our global community, affiliated with the u.n., world bank, imf. they're working together in harmony towards a common goal. the transition of a country that is known too much violence, too
much conflict, too much separation to be embraced by the world community as a peaceful, emerging leader for its region in the world diplomatic and global community. they got the sovereignty in 1919. timing is everything, amgs. the first diplomatic ties with the united states, 1921. that relationship has been maintained, reinforced, consolidated until the present day. population now is almost 32 million, 50% under the age of 18. only 27% of the population lives in urban areas. two official languages.
afghanistan is a land linked, not a land linked. it's a land linked nation. it's almost the size of the state of texas. take it as a compliment, ambassador. education is critical to afghanistan's future. the dem graphic that they have with this youth population unless it sefrz equally boys and men access, equal empowerment through education and the future of afghanistan will not be as bright as everyone in the world community wants it to be. in may 2012, u.s. and afrg signed the enduring strategic partnership agreement. a ten year partnership that reflects the commitment to combatting terrorism and to promote peace, democratic values
and economic opportunities. now at 200,000 strong, the afghan armed forces are drawn from throughout afghanistan vein a common cause, froekting and help to develop a new afghanistan. numerous conflicts stand in the way. al qaeda is an internal security threat. afghan youth, impatient for economic development and for employment aren't too enthusiastic about their current prospect.
and government construction meyers national unity. the task of rebuilding a new afghanistan is a challenging one. but throughout efforts of individuals like ambassador mopl.hib, afrg is made strides towards being a more prosperous, stable, and peaceful nation. on saturday, i think the prospect of peace was enhanced. i hope the reports are true. i hope whoever replaces him see there is path to the future that should not involve conflict. the next election plan will
there are aye eight million boys and girls enrolled in school today. that say phenomenal achievement. and it goes well for the future. the national election plan on women, peace and security will align afghanistan with international accords and promote article 22 of the afghan constitution. where the citizens of afghanistan, man and woman have equal rights and duties before the law. and finally, the president's jobs for peace program seeks to stem the exodus leaving for europe and to reunite the afghany people in a collaborative effort to rebuild our nation. ambassador mohib, in the short time i have known him, six
months where i have followed day by day the activities that he and the leaders of the country have committed to in the quest for peace. he's a man of tiring thought diplomacy, terms of appealing to hearts and mind educating people to the new afghanistan. he served as ambassador to the united states in september 2015. he founded the afghan students association in the uk, think tank discourse and has initiated multiple community service programs for afghan woman and orphans. moderating today's discussions
is one of diplomacy's great rascals, ambassador ron neumann. a mischievous fellow with a sense of humor. there are only two ambassadors, famz liz in the history of u.s. diplomacy where a son has followed a father in their diplomatic posting. we have hear tonight one of those individuals. the first one's name was adam. ambassador neumann and i are friends. we're professional colleagues. we share the same space and the same point in space and time in terms of our commitment to doing anything that we can to mobilize whatever networks that we have
or that question in support of your nation's quest for long term peace and economic development and success in the global community. i'm very honored to ask two ambassadors to come to our table tonight. i want to thank the international trade center and kindness in being our strategic partner in terms of the work we do with our public programs. i also want to thank miss stephanie, our director of international affairs and our director of global communications and the interns who work with us for their commitment to our cause. so, please, give a very loud, stomp your feet and clap your hand, welcome to ambassador mohib and ambassador neumann. [ ablaus ] >> thank you.
thank you. [ applause ] >> i guess ambassador newman would have something to say about that. >> well, you know, my pleasure to be -- i've been called many things. i've had my name carried in the street in protest. but rascal is new. well, thank you i think, tony for that interesting introduction. it's such a pleasure to be with you here tonight. >> it's a pleasure to be here, thank you to the world affairs council. to be here again, i met some of the members at our embassy. we had the honor of hosting one of the events. it was a great spoorexperience.
we decided to do it twice. >> it's a great chance. it's an interesting evening. it's been an interesting couple of days in the news. but, you know, before we go to the hard stuff, which i'm sure will preoccupy us for most of the evening, mr. foster mentioned the size of the youth population. great deal of the hope of afghanistan is in its youth. and while you're not quite youth, you're still emblematic of this new generation that comes from a different background but has lived through a lot of the tragedy of afghanistan. i thought it might be useful to give people a sense of afghanistan, if you would take a moment or two to talk about your own background. >> okay, well, that's going to take a while.
in brief, i would say that my -- as a child no one would have believed that that childhood would produce something successful. but through hard work and dedication and people who believed in the potential, gave me the opportunity to be able to serve my country and have the honor to serve my country in one of our most important diplomatic posting. i think that's also showing of where afghanistan is. we've had over 30 years of extremely difficult period. the resilient afghan people through our hard work and de dedication and the community who saw the hard work in afghanistan has turned the table around. today afghanistan is a functioning democracy. and it has, as the president
mentioned, opportunities for our youth. for our population. and the opportunities that we didn't have. we have pulled ourselves out of the rubble and built our country, a democracy we continue to build on. >> you and your family went through a lot in the process getting here. >> absolutely. but it's not just me, ambassador. the vast majority of afghans suffered through this war. it has been -- we had to live in refugee camps, leave our homes, our homes being destroyed. and we have had to live through war, civil war. and a lot of difficult periods. but whether it was outside afghanistan, those of us who were able to be able to go and find shelter outside and those who stayed in the country all went through a very difficult
time. we survived it. and that's what -- where i think the afghan resilience come to mind. just share a story to -- not to take away from the story. a couple of months ago, our football team won -- we lost the finals to india in football, south asia cup -- but the people were so proud, we wanted -- they wanted to go welcome our football team, our heroes. and that morning, a bomb exploded the airport. there were threats of a second one, but that didn't stop thousands of afghans to still go and receive our heroes with greatest joy. and as the report had been proven right, just a couple hours later another huge bomb exploded. but any message to anyone who
wants to destroy that country that was a message from the afghan people. nothing will stop us. we will rebuild this country. >> well, i know that in the years i've been dealing with afghanistan, i can hardly think of an afghan friend, colleague or associate who has not had either themselves or their family death, torture, imprisonment, and yet keeps going. and this last year was another violent year. it's important for americans to understand that afghan security forces had more people killed last year alone than america has lost in its 15 years of warfare in afghanistan. the army is still together. it took some hard knocks last year as well.
what would you say, how do you think the security forces of afghanistan will do this year? it's always very dangerous to predict battle, especially close enough that somebody might remember the prediction. but, you know, people are worried. will the capital fall, will other province capitals fall. it's possible. how do you foresee the ability of the afghan forces to make out this year? >> to paraphrase our president, last year the military was 12 years old. and in one year, it's now 20 years old. we've made huge leaps of progress. but to come back to that determination, we have seen so much that despite all those upsets last year, i know many people were predicting that we would fail. but despite a very difficult year, our security forces not only made sure that the enemy
doesn't meet its strategic objective of withholding land, capturing and holding land, that we also improved coordination. this year the number of attacks, or the amount of attacks that were expected and predicted to be as reports suggest 75% more than last year. and every attack whether on a city, the majority was in kunduz. the taliban were defeated. we were able to do that because coordination among our security forces became better. we have a much more offensive plan in how to defend our territory. also, what's important to understand is the role of transition. last year was the first year where our security forces had the responsibility for securing
afghanistan, our territory for the first time ever. now, this was -- we had to rely on international security forces, about 600,000 security personnel, that is the official military numbers that left afghanistan. they were providing assistance and fighting shoulder to shoulder with us. all of a sudden we were on our own. it was a testing time. it was a very difficult time. but we pulled through. we hit rock bottom and we're on our way up. this year in a much better position and i'm confident that we'll be able to defeat any attacks that are on our territory this year. >> the united states seems to have made a rather critical attack on this last couple of days. how do you evaluate what has
happened? we haven't heard much from the pakistanis about the attack. it's in a part of pakistan where we haven't attacked before. the significant blow of killing the taliban leader. speculation is dangerous, so here's a diplomat encouraging another diplomat to speculate. it's a way of getting in trouble, but how much would you like to speculate on what happens as a result of the death? >> he was an impediment to peace. we welcome president obama's decision and his bold action to eliminate a person who was preventing other taliban elements and the calls of our government for peace process. it's not just about that action. it gives the afghan people hope that our most important partner, the united states is serious about peace in afghanistan. it also creates an opportunity for us to be able to build on
that and invite those who are leaning towards peace but perhaps were prevented from. as you said speculation is difficult. but it creates an opportunity, it has created a sense of hope in the afghan community and afghanistan. knowing that the sanctuaries that were provided to the taliban are no longer safe in that they will be eliminated no matter where they are. that's an important step for afghanistan i think. >> if that is really true, it would be an important step. personally, you know, i'm out of government. i don't speak for anybody but myself. but it was not clear to me from president obama's comments whether we actually have a change of american