TSA Screenings: A Root Cause Analysis of Public Outrage

November 22, 2010

TSA root cause analysis

Is TSA's Lack of Training a Root Cause of Outrage?

In reading reports of the TSA full body screening and aggressive body searches I have read little about training for the transportation security officers, called TSOs. Any good QA specialist would want to conduct a root cause analysis of the outrage that the public is expressing at TSA’s tactics. I have twice been a participant to the “enhanced” screening methods, both times at Boston’s Logan Airport, and noticed that the TSOs seemed to have no training or preparation for the new screening techniques. When the TSOs bark orders at people and fail to use a normal conversational tone, then they are probably going to offend the public. The Wall Street Journal Blog, The Middle Seat Terminal, reports that TSA has been audited by the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General’s Office and cited for numerous training failures. The WSJ Blog states:

“Among the shortcomings that the inspector general found: TSA doesn’t have standard processes to use screener test results, such as “covert testing’’ where government officials try to smuggle weapons through checkpoints, to evaluate and update training programs. On-the-job training is lacking, and TSA doesn’t have uniform steps to “to ensure that officers have the tools and time necessary to complete training requirements,’’ the IG’s report said.

In addition, there aren’t standard procedures for allocating equipment, support and time needed to complete training requirements, either, the report found.”

TSA and DHS need to look into the root cause of the public outrage. Any analysis would point out the training failures. It is one significant reason why the public is expressing outrage at the new screening techniques. Politicians need to note that it isn’t just a question of public safety vs. personal liberty. TSA just isn’t doing a very good job. Those of us who travel to earn a living are seeing it each time we fly.

The Middle Seat Terminal

DHS Report on TSA Training

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