Today, U.S. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and Transportation Security Subcommittee Chairman Richard Hudson (R-SC) introduced legislation to reform the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) acquisition process. U.S. House Homeland Security Committee Ranking Member Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Transportation Security Subcommittee Ranking Member Cedric Richmond (D-LA) joined McCaul and Hudson in co-sponsoring the bill.
H.R. 2719, the Transportation Security Acquisition Reform Act, requires TSA to develop a multi-year strategic plan for security-related technology acquisitions, conduct a cost-benefit analysis for purchases and create an inventory tracking system. TSA has repeatedly purchased and deployed equipment that was not properly tested or failed to meet performance objectives. By streamlining its process for obtaining new equipment, TSA will improve security, better engage the private sector in research and development and make better use of its budget.
Chairman McCaul: "For too long, TSA has struggled with efficiently testing, investing in and deploying new technology. According to the DHS Inspector General, mismanagement has left $185 million in taxpayer-funded equipment, some unusable or outdated, locked up in warehouses. As part of the Committee's fiscal oversight of the Department, the Transportation Security Acquisition Reform Act will help fix TSA's broken acquisition process and save taxpayer dollars. The bill adds transparency by requiring TSA to develop a long-term acquisition plan, ensures scarce funds are not wasted on technology that ultimately fails to meet performance objectives, and encourages better use of private sector innovations. H.R. 2719 will help TSA successfully carry out its critical mission of protecting our nation's transportation systems and will ensure its budget is properly used in the process."
Subcommittee Chairman Hudson: "My top priorities as Chairman of the Transportation Security Subcommittee are to improve transparency and accountability within TSA and lead TSA to a more risk-based, passenger-friendly future that protects taxpayer interests. The bipartisan piece of legislation introduced today includes commonsense reforms that create a multi-year acquisitions plan, establish cost-benefit analysis, improve TSA's engagement with small business, and efficiently track and manage equipment in inventory. I am confident these reforms will have a lasting impact and help restore trust in TSA's ability to effectively execute its mission and save hard-earned taxpayer dollars."
Ranking Member Thompson: "I am pleased to join Ranking Member Richmond, Chairman Hudson, and Chairman McCaul in introducing the Transportation Security Acquisition Reform Act. For years, I, along with my colleagues on the Committee, have urged TSA to act as a more prudent steward of taxpayer funds when purchasing security-related technology. In May, we heard from the GAO and the DHS Inspector General on the challenges TSA continues to face with acquisitions. Yesterday, we heard from stakeholders on ways TSA can improve its performance and increase partnerships with small businesses that produce innovative technologies. The legislation introduced today represents a bipartisan effort to increase transparency, accountability, and small business participation in TSA's acquisition practices."
Subcommittee Ranking Member Richmond: "Small businesses have always been our nation's greatest innovators - developing new products and technologies while fueling the nation's economy. It is vital that TSA develop a long-term, strategic acquisition action plan to increase small business participation, promote innovation and increase competition. I'm proud that the Transportation Security Acquisition Reform Act tackles some of TSA's longstanding acquisition challenges, and I commend Chairman Hudson's bipartisan approach that has produced this much-needed legislation."
Specifically, H.R. 2719 requires TSA to:
Develop a multi-year technology acquisition plan within 180 days of enactment of the bill and to update the plan every two years.
Conduct a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis to determine if purchases are justified.
Establish and track baseline program requirements, such as estimated costs, schedules, milestones, identified risks and plans to mitigate those risks.
Use existing equipment before purchasing additional equipment and create a process for tracking inventory.
Publish goals for contracting with small and disadvantaged businesses and provide an annual progress report to Congress