Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the American government has spent more than $1.1 trillion on homeland security (Mueller & Stewart, 2011). One of the most significant expenditures is that of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which handles airport security and screening. Because there have not been any successful terrorist attacks on domestic flights in the United States since 9/11, some Americans feel that the TSA’s measures are appropriate and valuable. Others feel that despite the lack of occurrence of another major attack, we are not really any more secure now than we were before 9/11 and that the harassment, scrutiny, and security breaches that occur regularly point to a need to change the role or direction of the TSA. Former U.S. Representative John Mica (2018) proposed a new direction for the TSA when he wrote the following:
Nearly all of TSA’s security measures have been taken after a terrorist attack was attempted. Examples include banning box cutters after 9-11, removing shoes after the shoe bomber, liquid limitations after the liquid-bomb plot, enhanced pat-downs after the underwear bomber, and now limiting the shipment of toner cartridges on cargo aircraft.
Without the proper focus and attention to changing threat assessments and establishing adequate standards to address those threats, TSA will constantly be reacting to the last terrorist event and not preparing for the next mode of a terrorist attack.
Take a position. Do you agree or disagree that the TSA should change its policy from a focus on reactive measures that screen for items and issues that have already been identified as potential risks (e.g., limiting the size of liquid containers allowed on a plane after a potential terrorist tried to use liquid explosives, or having all passengers remove their shoes after a terrorist tried to smuggle a bomb onto a plane in the sole of his shoe) to a focus on intelligence gathering and the use of technology, such as expanding the use of facial recognition tools, using behavioral analysts to identify suspicious behavior or privatizing airport security?
First, title your initial post either “Current TSA airport security policies are effective and should remain in place” or “Current TSA airport security policies are not effective, and a different approach should be adopted.”
Then, using the information gained in this module, make your case. If you think that the TSA needs a new approach, suggest at least one approach that you think would be more effective. Consider some of the following questions:
What are some of the risks of creating only reactive policies to address potential security breaches?
What are some of the benefits of using current TSA screening approaches?
What are some of the disadvantages of using current TSA screening approaches?
Do you think any current TSA screening protocols are essential? Are there any that you view as absolutely unnecessary?
What are the advantages of changing the direction of the TSA to one that focuses on intelligence gathering? What are the disadvantages?
What are the benefits of implementing technology such as facial recognition software in standard TSA screening? What are the drawbacks?
What are the advantages of using behavioral analysts to identify suspicious behavior? What are the disadvantages?
Why might privatizing security create greater security? What are some of the risks of privatizing security?
Are there any other changes to security approaches that might create greater security?