AIN Blog: Mica Gains Allies in Goal To Reform TSA
The self-admitted “father” of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is driving another nail in the coffin of his “bastard child.” But this time he has other House chairmen and subcommittee chairmen working with him.
Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), who heads the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who heads the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, ordered their Republican investigative staffs to review the performance of the much-maligned TSA.
Mica does not disguise his desire to eliminate the TSA in its present form and return to a lean, risk-based, adaptive agency responsible for analyzing intelligence, setting security standards and overseeing the nation’s transportation security structure.
“Unfortunately, the TSA has strayed from its security mission and mushroomed into a top-heavy bureaucracy that includes 3,986 headquarters staff, making $103,852 per year on average, and 9,656 administrators in the field,” he said. He noted that the agency has 65,000 employees and has spent $57 billion on numerous operational and technology failures.
“While we are safer today than we were 10 years ago, this is largely thanks to the vigilance of American citizens and passengers, the actions of flight crews and armed pilots, the addition of hardened cockpit doors and the assistance of foreign intelligence agencies,” Mica continued. “After 10 years, we cannot continue to rely on luck. It is time for reform.”
According to Issa, the agency has become “a backwards-looking dinosaur that seeks employees through pizza box advertising and struggles to detect actual terrorist threats.” The House investigators uncovered more than 25,000 security breaches in U.S. airports since 2001.
The report, entitled “A Decade Later: A Call for TSA Reform,” was released in mid-November at a press briefing at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. The probe found that the agency suffers from mismanagement and failure.
“From the top down, the TSA is a troubled agency,” the congressional staffers said. “The TSA and its Administrator are buried within the Department of Homeland Security [DHS], along with 21 other agencies. Turnover in the position of TSA Administrator has been excessive, and too little priority has been placed on naming a new administrator when the position has become vacant.”
Mica wants to remove the TSA from the Department of Homeland Security and relocate it to the Department of Transportation. The report said the House Transportation Committee is preparing new legislation to reform TSA in accordance with the findings of the investigators, including an audit by a “qualified outside organization.”