inspection process to make sure that we’re probably the most effective, secure in the most efficient
way. We’re really at the initial phases of this look.
So I can’t make any promises, but we are looking
at adopting a process similar to what we’ve done
in other sectors where we make decisions about
future inspections based on the sort of historical
gamut of inspections that have been conducted. So
if we have an entity that’s been around for a long
time and has a consistent track record of high performance, we may be able to adjust either the timing of our inspections or some of the components
of the inspections to reduce the burden on the airports, the airlines, other regulated entities without
compromising security, and in a way that allows
us to be, again, the most effective security provider
that we can in the most efficient way.
We’re also looking at things that we can do in
the inspection world to really harness the skill
set that our folks have and combine that with the
skills of others within our layers or other layers
to be more thoughtful in their actual inspections,
to look for things that, again, pose potential intent
more than just something that might be on the list
of things to check.
TSA STAFFING AT AIRPORTS
I do think that we have the right number of folks to
get the job done in the airports. Obviously, this is
the time of year when we see the strain of summer
travel, as everyone else does, and I would tell you
there are opportunities that we have to continue to
refine our model. Even this year, we’ve been able
to add in a new technology solution that’s helping
us to refine that model and ensure that we have
the right people in the right place at the right time.
We have some one-off examples this summer
where we frankly have seen a need to make some
adjustments, and for those airports out there,
if you are struggling, feel free to call me or go
through AAAE and reach out to us, because we
try to see all things all the time, but sometimes we
don’t. And where we’ve had one-offs, I think we’ve
been able to work with airports to really address
those issues, and we want to continue to do that.
We see our role as a partner.
So we move forward there as we move through
the summer, and then I think we have some really
good things on the horizon in terms of adjustments
that we can make within our existing staffing
model to be more efficient with what we do.
In terms of a budget picture, I don’t see a scenario where we are going to grow our resources. The
good news for all of us is the industry seems to be
rebounding, and as that happens, we are seeing
more passengers with the same number of officers.
Employing things like the RBS strategy is helping
us with that, but as we move forward, it’s critical
that we find ways to be more efficient without,
of course, compromising security, so that we can
meet the increasing demands of passenger traffic as
we move forward.
COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AND THE SPP
With collective bargaining, we’re well down the
road. We’ve been working diligently with the
American Federation of Government Employees
(AFGE) to come to a collective bargaining agreement. As I think most people are aware, AFGE
won the right last summer to become the exclusive representative of our officers and in that process also won the right to enter into a collective
bargaining agreement. So our teams have been
As you can imagine, it’s a complex issue. So both
on the TSA side and the AFGE side, I would tell
you there’s been some learning curves, but I think
that we’re getting to a good place where we’ll have
a good solid working relationship. The primary
tenets have always been to provide an agreement
that takes care of our folks while at the same time
doesn’t compromise security in any way. That’s in
the forefront of our minds, and I think we’re very
close to achieving that agreement. My kudos to the
folks from my team — when I say my team, I mean
the larger TSA — and also from AFGE in working
so hard to come to this agreement.
(At Airport Magazine press time, TSA
announced that it has reached a collective bargaining agreement with AFGE.)
As I think most people are aware, in February,
as part of the FAA Reauthorization Act, some
new language was created to help us making
decisions around SPP, the privatized airports.
Since that law went into place, we’ve received
just a few applications.
We have announced that we have accepted three
of those applications at this time — Sanford, Fla.;
Glacier Park, Mont.; and Sacramento.
Now begins the RFP process, and I think what
this legislation has helped us to do is really frame
the issue in terms of what’s really good for us and
good for industry, which is requiring us to take a
healthy look at applications that indicate that they
could provide effective security at the same rate
that TSA provides. A