House Committees Criticize TSA Over Long Storage of Screening Equipment

Inefficient deployment to commercial airports is wasting hundreds of millions of dollars
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Two House committees issued a report critical of the Transportation Security Administration’s practice of storing screening equipment for long periods rather than deploying the technology at airports.

On May 9, 2012, the House Transportation & Infrastructure and the Oversight and Government Reform committees issued the report—Airport Insecurity: TSA’s Failure to Cost-Effectively Procure, Deploy and Warehouse its Screening Technologies—saying the TSA’s inefficient deployment of screening equipment and technology to commercial airports is wasting hundreds of millions of dollars.

Approximately 5,700 pieces of airport security equipment—including luggage-screening devices—are being stored at the TSA’s Transportation Logistics Center located in Dallas, the report says. The equipment has “a purchase value” of $184 million, and the leasing and management of the warehouse where the equipment is stored annually adds another $3.5 million to the costs, the report says.

As of February 2012, the TSA had 472 Advanced Technology 2 carry-on baggage screening machines at the Dallas warehouse, and at least 99 percent of the luggage-screening devices have been in storage for more than nine months and 34 percent of the AT2s have been in storage for longer than a year, the report says.

In addition, the delayed deployment of the state-of-the-art screening technologies has depreciated the value of the unused equipment by $23 million, and that limited use of direct shipping from manufacturer to deployment location has resulted in the overutilization of the logistics center, costing from $50 million to $100 million, according to the report.

“TSA continues to demonstrate its penchant for bungling aviation security and wasting taxpayers’ money,” said T&I Committee Chairman John L. Mica (R-FL). While “incredible amounts of its state-of-the-art technology is gathering dust in Texas warehouses,” the “TSA has repeatedly failed to effectively procure and deploy screening equipment that actually detects threats, “ he said.