Aviation Security: TSA Uses Current Assumptions and Airport-Specific Data for Its Staffing Process and Monitors Passenger Wait Times Using Daily Operations Data

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employs about 43,000 transportation security officers (TSOs) who screen over 2 million passengers and their baggage each day at airports in the United States. TSA allocates TSOs to airports using both a computer-based staffing model and information from airports that are intended to provide each airport with the optimum number of TSOs. In the spring of 2016, long screening checkpoint lines at certain U.S. airports raised questions about TSA’s process for allocating TSOs to airports. The Aviation Security Act of 2016 includes a provision for the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review TSA’s process for allocating TSOs. This report examines how (1) TSA modifies staffing assumptions and tailors staffing levels to airports’ needs, (2) TSA monitors wait times and throughput and adjusts resources accordingly, and (3) TSA shares information with stakeholders about staffing and related screening procedures at airports. GAO reviewed TSA documentation describing how the agency modifies staffing assumptions and manages stakeholder coordination. GAO also analyzed passenger wait time and throughput data from January 2015 through May 2017 for the 28 airports monitored by headquarters. GAO visited eight airports selected on the basis of passenger volume and other factors and interviewed TSA officials and stakeholders at those locations. GAO is not making any recommendations.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References;
  • Pagination: 30p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01660571
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: GAO-18-236
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 1 2018 1:58PM