Aviation Security: Progress Made to Set Up Program Using Private-Sector Airport Screeners, but More Work Remains Page: 5 of 55
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Accountability * Integrity * Reliability
United States Government Accountability Office
Washington, DC 20548
March 31, 2006
The Honorable John L. Mica
Subcommittee on Aviation
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
House of Representatives
Dear Mr. Chairman:
The Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA), enacted after the
terrorist attacks of 2001, required the federal government to take over the
job of screening airline passengers and their checked baggage from the
private sector.' Among other things, ATSA further required that the
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) initiate a 2-year security
screening pilot program at up to five commercial U.S. airports. The
purpose of this pilot program, as defined by TSA, was to test the feasibility
of utilizing private-sector screeners to screen passengers and their
checked baggage in a post-9/11 environment, by allowing private-sector
screeners-hired and managed by private screening companies under
contract to TSA-to provide screening services in lieu of federal screeners
at selected airports, with TSA oversight. The pilot program ran from
November 2002 to November 2004. During that time, four private
screening contractors served the five pilot program airports (one
contractor served two airports).
In November 2004, as the private screener pilot program concluded, ATSA
required that TSA begin allowing all commercial airports to apply to TSA
to transition from a federal to a private screener workforce. To support
this effort, TSA created the Screening Partnership Program (SPP) to allow
all commercial airports an opportunity to apply to TSA for permission to
use qualified private screening contractors and private-sector screeners.
Currently, the four contractors that participated in the private screener
pilot program are under contract to TSA to provide screening services at
the five airports they have already been serving, and all five airports that
participated in the pilot program have applied and been accepted to
participate in the SPP. In February 2006, TSA competitively awarded a
new contract for screening services for one of the five pilot program
'Pub. L. No. 107-71, 115 Stat. 597 (2001).
GAO-06-166 Aviation Security
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United States. Government Accountability Office. Aviation Security: Progress Made to Set Up Program Using Private-Sector Airport Screeners, but More Work Remains, report, March 31, 2006; Washington D.C.. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc295707/m1/5/: accessed March 26, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.