I would like to welcome everyone to this hearing and thank all of our
witnesses. We look forward to your testimony and greatly appreciate your
The growth of TSA's bureaucracy has outpaced the number of travelers the
agency was designed to protect. The goal of this hearing is to more fully
understand why this is the case, and hear what steps TSA plans to take to
address this problem. Securing our nation's transportation systems is
paramount, and for that reason we must ensure that every dollar TSA
spends directly addresses that goal.
We all appreciate the incredible microscope TSA and its employees are
under. There are very few federal government entities that interact with as
many Americans on a daily basis as TSA does.
However, this hearing goes beyond the behavior or mistakes made by TSA
personnel. Today's hearing is about understanding why TSA's bureaucracy
has expanded so dramatically, and learning what steps need to be taken to
prevent further unnecessary expansion.
Given the challenging economic climate we are facing, TSA should be
making personnel decisions and any decisions that impact spending with a
keen eye towards their impact on enhancing and improving security. Any
dollar that does not enhance security should not be spent by TSA.
With an annual budget approaching $8 billion, we need to ask the question
of whether TSA's staffing model is efficient and effective. We all need to
learn to do more with less, and I believe TSA is capable of doing just that
without compromising security.
In the years following 9/11, we all supported the rapid expansion of TSA as
both necessary and justified; however, that growth now appears to be
limitless. We need to examine how it is possible that we need more
screeners when we have fewer people to be screened.
TSA has evolved significantly since its formation after 9/11. I am supportive
of Administrator Pistole's efforts to make TSA a more risk-based counter-
terrorism focused agency. The initial implementation of Pre-Check, TSA's
risk based passenger screening initiative, thus far appears to be successful,
and I look forward to seeing it expand.
Having said that, my concern, and the concern of many of my colleagues is
that TSA does not view risk-based screening and other initiatives as a means to a more efficient staffing model. Instead, the bureaucracy continues to grow, despite the tangible benefit that risk-based screening could help us realize in the way of fewer screeners.
The FY 2013 request for Personnel, Compensation and Benefits for airport
screeners is more than $3 billion; this figure represents roughly 40% of
TSA's total budget. Without oversight and intervention, this number has the
potential to skyrocket even higher. We need to learn today why that number is so high, what TSA's overtime costs look like, and how we can keep that number from expanding without a tangible security need.
Today, I look forward to hearing directly from the leadership of the
Transportation Security Administration about the steps TSA plans to take to
curb the growth of its bureaucracy; and ways we can reduce the burden on