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Hearing of the Transportation Security Subcommittee of the House Homeland Security Committee - TSA Reform: Exploring Innovations in Technology Procurement to Stimulate Job Growth

Statement

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

I would like to welcome everyone to this important hearing and thank our witnesses for being here. We look forward to your testimony and greatly appreciate your time.

As part of our oversight of the Transportation Security Administration, one of the things we are looking to do is encourage good ideas that will stimulate job growth in the private sector. Given the hundreds of millions of dollars that the agency spends on technology procurement per year, I believe that TSA presents ample opportunity for generating any number of private sector jobs.

The House-passed Fiscal Year 2012 appropriations bill would provide TSA with more than $550 million for explosives detection system procurement and maintenance. I'd like to see if we can find creative ways to reduce that cost over time, while still keeping the traveling public secure from acts of terrorism.

There are lots of good ideas out there, some of which TSA is engaged in already, and other proposals that we are hearing about from the private sector.

I believe there are a variety of ways that we can better tap into and leverage the private sector to provide technologies and services. There is great innovation in the private sector, both among large and small businesses, and we need to do everything we can to foster that innovation.

This includes streamlining and reforming acquisitions mechanisms within TSA. And it also means finding new opportunities to entice industry, especially through greater transparency on the part of TSA as to what its acquisition roadmap looks like. The only way to reap the benefits of the many businesses out there that have the solutions we need is -- to the extent possible -- let them know what TSA wants and when it is going to want it.

The TSA Authorization Act of 2011, just adopted by this subcommittee, is aimed at improving security by streamlining and eliminating burdensome regulations that are a barrier to job creation in the transportation industry, and encouraging the use of technologies developed by the private sector.

This Subcommittee hearing will continue to focus on the wise use of taxpayer dollars and job creation by examining TSA's technology procurement practices. I would like to see TSA fully engage the private sector in an open and transparent way for the development and purchase of security technologies. I'd like to see progress on saving taxpayer dollars and creating private sector jobs. And I believe we can achieve this all while effectively securing the traveling public and the flow of commerce.

I look forward to hearing the witness' ideas for finding cost efficiencies and stimulating the growth of jobs through improved technology procurement at TSA. And with that I yield to the Ranking Member, Ms. Jackson Lee of Texas, for any opening statement she may have.


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