TSA OPERATIONAL GOAL:
EDITOR’S NOTE: Christopher McLaughlin, TSA
assistant administrator-security operations, leads
the agency’s workforce of more than 50,000 TSA
employees at more than 450 airports around the
country. His office also works with airports on
inspection and compliance issues. In this discussion with AAAE, McLaughlin highlights ongoing
operational initiatives. His remarks were edited
for length only.
For us, “the most effective security, the most efficient way” is our daily mantra. It’s what we do on
a daily basis. PreCheck is the risk-based security
(RBS) piece that gets the most notoriety. It’s certainly the more public-facing piece, but everything
we do right now is through a lens of risk-based
security and providing, again, the most effective
security the most efficient way. This could include
changes we made to our policies to allow children
under the age of 12 to leave their shoes on during
screening. Something as simple as that is having a
positive impact on both the customer’s experience
and on checkpoint throughput, and we’re doing
that in a way that hasn’t jeopardized risk.
This spring, we launched a program with people
over the age of 75 that is very much speeding up
their processing time. Those individuals are now
allowed to leave a light outer garment on, allowed
to leave their shoes on, and those two simple facts
with people of that age really speed their process
through the checkpoint.
One of the first things that we launched with
RBS is to work with Honor Flights. These involve
our World War II veterans who we just know that
we can trust for obvious reasons. We put some
changes in place about a year ago that expedites
their screening experience to Washington, D.C., to
visit some of the monuments that remind them of
their service to our country.
Another program is where we bring in passenger-screening canines to help us offset some other
checkpoint lane throughput issues. That is a program in its infancy, but we’re at a place now where
we’ve built some protocols, we’ve done some testing, and we really are comfortable that these dogs
are helping us to provide that most effective security in the most efficient way.