TSA will add performance metrics to two of its risk assessment programs

July 28, 2020

Greg Grisolano


The Transportation Security Administration will add quantifiable performance metrics to two of its risk-assessment programs aimed at beefing up security in rail, highway and mass transit.

That’s the agency’s response to a report released earlier this week by the Government Accountability Office, which recommended that TSA establish performance targets for activity levels within its surface inspector programs.

TSA is the entity primarily responsible for securing surface transportation modes. The agency deploys surface transportation security inspectors throughout the country to enforce regulations and assist surface transportation entities with security-related matters, including threat assessment and risk mitigation.

The GAO report states that, while the agency has work plan requirements in place, it has not established performance targets for measuring the activity level within the surface inspector program. One such measure GAO recommends the agency develop is a desired security assessment score or percent increase in scores it would like to achieve each year.

“By developing targets for its activity-level performance measures within the surface inspection program, TSA would be better positioned to assess the program’s progress in achieving stated objectives,” the report states. “TSA could also use these targets to better identify areas of improvement if targets are not met.”

In 2017, GAO reported that TSA’s domain included nearly 140,000 miles of railroad track, more than 2.5 million miles of pipeline, and 4 million miles of roads. GAO also reported that there were 10 billion annual passenger trips on mass transit systems, including 24 million students on school buses each day. TSA’s oversight also included nearly 800,000 daily shipments of hazardous materials.

In its response to the report, the Department of Homeland Security stated it concurs with GAO’s recommendations. It anticipates having the performance measures in place by March 31.

Read the full GAO report here.

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Greg Grisolano

Greg Grisolano joined Land Line in 2013. He was formerly a reporter for the Joplin Globe. He brings business writing and photography skills to Land Line, and has a passion for finding and telling stories about the people who make up the trucking industry.