TSA administrator discusses airport security and Screening Partnership Program

Transportation Security Administration Office of Security Operations Assistant Administrator Kelly Hoggan spoke on Tuesday to the House Subcommittee on Government Operations about the Screening Partnership Program and TSA's current security programs.

Hoggan said that TSA announced an expansion of screening benefits for U.S. Armed Forces at more than 100 airports across the nation. During the last month, new Risk Based Security procedures were implemented and on the busiest travel day of the year, Dec. 27, 98.9 percent of passengers waited fewer than 20 minutes to pass through airport security.

"As TSA continues to integrate RBS into its approach to transportation security, we will work with current and new private sector screening partners to ensure that RBS is integrated effectively into SPP airports and the SPP program continues to be implemented effectively," Hoggan said.

He said TSA has moved forward in focusing resources and improving the passenger experience at airport security checkpoints. The agency has implemented intelligence-driven, risk-based screening procedures and is improving its technology.

Hoggan said RBS changes have modified screening procedures for passengers less than 12 years of age and over 75 years of age, members of the military and some members of the intelligence community.

Hoggan said the SPP program is voluntary, and airports are able to apply for status and use private security agencies to conduct screening according to TSA standards. Since the program began in 2004, 30 airports have applied to the program, and 14 airports have contracted screeners in place.

"Regardless of whether an airport has private or federal employees conducting passenger screening operations, TSA maintains overall responsibility for security," Hoggan said. "To fulfill our responsibility in this mission, it is important to maintain our flexibility-as new and emerging threats are identified, we must be able to adapt and modify our procedures quickly to protect the traveling public and promote the flow of legitimate commerce."