tv [untitled] April 9, 2012 11:30am-12:00pm EDT
tsa has began teaching a tactical communications course for our frontline workforce. this training focuses on active listening, empathy and verbal communication techniques and will be complete by the end of 2012. these initiatives are some of the key aspects of tsa's security infrastructure that provide the backbone for our overall risk-based strategy. this strategy demonstrates our commitment to move away from a one size fits all security model. while this approach was necessary after 9/11 and has been effective over the past decade, key enablers now allow tsa to move toward a more intuitive solution. perhaps the most widely known initiative is tsa precheck. today approximately 600,000 passengers have experienced expedited screening through tsa precheck. by the end of 2012, we expect to offer passengers in 35 of our nation's busiest airports the benefits of tsa precheck. in addition to eligible frequent fliers and trusted traveler
programs we expanded to include active duty u.s. military traveling out of reagan national airport. in addition to precheck, last fall we implimted new screening procedures for children 12 and under, allowing them to leave their shoes on and go through a less intrusive security screening process. and just last monday, passengers of 75 and older. finally we are also supporting efforts to start identity based screening. pilots have cleared security. these initiatives have allowed us to expedite the screening process for children, our military, many frequent fliers and now in testing the elderly. they have resulted in fewer divestiture requirements and a reduction in pat-downs, while allowing us more time to focus on travelers we believe are likely to pose a risk to our transportation network, including those on terrorist watch lists. by enhancing the effectiveness
of our current programs, tsa continues to work toward our goal of providing the most effective security in the most efficient way. thank you again for the opportunity to testify. at this time, i would like to introduce my colleague, mr. steven sadler, administrator for tsa's office of intelligence and analysis. >> the gentleman is recognized. >> good afternoon, chairman and distin wishing members of the committees. i appreciate the opportunity to testify on some of the work we are doing in coordination with the united states coast guard to strengthen security throughout our nation's maritime transportation system. the transportation worker identification credential program, or twic, is an important security tool to be sure those without access don't find access. there was no standard verification or background check for entrance to a port. today facility owners and operators can look for one standard verification document.
the identity verification and threat assessment requirements of the twic program support the dhs multilayered approach to protecting the nation's transportation system and enhanced security at our ports. several key objectives included in the safe port act of 2006 were met during the initial rollout of the program in october 2007. these include milestones for implementing twic enrollment sites, issuing twicst. on april 15th, 2009, the u.s. coast guard implemented the requirement for all escorted workers in secure areas and all mariners to possess a valid twic. this past february when applying for a hazardous materials endorsement under a state-issued
commercial driver's license. hazmat applicants with a valid twic can pay a reduced fee. they can go directly to their state licensing agency to apply for this endorsement. currently 11 states and the district of columbia have availed themselves of this capability. tsa also recently awarded its universal enrollment services contract. this new capability will allow individuals to apply for multiple programs such as twic and hme at the same location, provide enrollment centers across a broader geographic range and allow enrollment for future or new enrollment service by tsa. on may 31st, 2011, tsa completed the required data collection phase of the twic reader pilot. tsa gathered information from seven points, 13 facilities and four vessel operations that collectively installed 156 readers of various types and models best suited to their business needs. these sites provided reader performance and reliability as well as through-put data and
pedestrian access points. the final report was submitted to congress february 27th, 2012. this data provides a clear picture of the likely impacts of using readers at maritime facilities and on vessel operations. the twic reader pilot concludes that twic reader systems function properly when they are designed, installed and operated in a manner consistent with the characteristics and business needs of the facility or the vessel operation. thank you for the opportunity to testify today. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you. mr. lord? >> thank you, mr. chairman and other members of the committee. thank you for inviting me here t progress and relatedhallenges in deploying three key security programs. my observations are based on a large body of work completed in the last two years. i would first like to note that dachs and tsa have made some notable achievements into 9/11 attacks in securing our nation's ports and airports, and as the tsa witnesses noted today, some
remaining challenges still exist. the first program i'd like to discuss today is tsa's behavior detection program, also called s.p.o.t. it consists of over 3,000 behavior detection officers that are deployed to over 160 u.s. airports. this program is a key part of ta it is a's efforts to focus more attention on dangerous people versus dangerous items, which i support. the bottom line on the program is, while tsa has taken some steps to validate the science behind the program, much more work remains to fully validate it, establish sound performance metrics, and assess costs and benefits. and as we noted on a prior time, all these additional steps could take several more years to complete. and as we noted in our report on the program, tsa deployed s.p.o.t. nationwide before determining whether it had a valid scientific basis. the good news is dhs did
complete an initial validation study in april 2011, which concluded that the program was more effective than random screening. however, as the study itself noted, it was not designed to fully answer the very important question of whether you can use behavior detection principles for counterterrorism purposes in the airport environment. a scientific consensus on this issue simply does not exist. another key report recommendation was to develop better performance measures. the importance of this is underscored by looking at the arrests made under the program. for example, 27% of the 300 s.p.o.t. arrests made in 2010 were illegal aliens, raising questions about mission focus. the second tsa program i'd like to discuss today is tsa's body scanner program, commonly referred to as advance imagine g a technology or aits.
as you know, these scanners were deployed after the attempted christmas day attack on a flight. about 640 of these units are now in place at 160 airports. according to tsa, these machine provide superior benefits over walk-through metal detectors since they are capable of detecting nonmetallic threat objects. earlier this year, we issued a classified report on ait. while most details are classified, tsa allowed us to note some of the e d tails regarding the utilization rates of these hearings for today's hearing. we found that some of these units had been used less than 30% of the days since their installation. the good news is, in response to our report, tsa agreed to take steps to address these low utilization rates. the last program i would like to briefly discuss today is tsa's maritime biometric program called twic. in terms of progress, it is a tals has now enrolled 20e6r
million maritime workers in the program. however, our 2011 report identified a number of significant internal control weaknesses in cart enrollment, background checking, and use that we believe have limited the security benefits in the program. in fact, these weaknesses may have contributed to the breach at selected u.s. facilities during covert tests we conducted as part of this review. we recommended that dhs and tsa strengthen program controls as well as complete an effectiveness study to clarify the current program's contributions to enhancing maritime security. tsa -- i mean dhs has established a working group with executive oversight to address our important twic report recommendations. we look forward to seeing the the results of this committee's work. in closing, tsa has established a number of security layers and programs to thwart potential
terrorist attacks. however, our past work has identified a number of ways these efforts could be strengthened to help ensure american taxpayers receive a good return on their considerable investment. i'm hoping that today's hearing can provide some additional insights on how these programs can be strengthened and be made more cost-effective. mr. chairman, this concludes my statement. i look toward forward to your questions. >> thank you. admiral? >> good afternoon, chairman and distinguished members of the committees. i am honored to appear before you today to speak about the coast guard's role in the twic program within the maritime transportation system. the twic program, as envisioned under maritime transportation security act of 2002 as strengthened by the safe port act of 2006, requires that all rekre denialed merchant marrier ins and transportation workers seeking unescorted access to secure areas of regulated
facilities and vessels undergo a security check and receive a twic. the twic is currently required for unescorted access to approximately 2,700 regulatory facilities, 12,000 regulated vessels, and 50 regulated outer continental shelf facilities. while the transportation security administration has primary responsibility for the issuance of twics, the coast guard has primary responsibility for ensuring compliance with the twic regulations. all of the approximately 2,700 maritime facilities impacted by the twic regulations are and have been in compliance since the april 15th, 2009 implementation date. the coast guard continues to conduct both unannounced and announced inspections to ensure compliance. additionally, the coast guard has verified more than 213,000 twics through a combination of visual and electronic means. in accordance with the safe port act, a pilot program was
conducted by tsa to evaluate the feasibility and technical and operational impacts of implementing a twic reader system. electronic readers add another layer of security associated with the twic by providing biometric confirmation of the twic holder's identity. tsa's report on the pilot program was delivered to congress on february 27th, and the coast guard is now incorporating the results of the pilot in our rule making for electronic readers in the maritime environment. this rule making will apply requirements in a risk-based fashion to leverage security benefits and capabilities. additionally, section 809 of the coast guard authorization act of 2010 amended the original twic requirements to include only those mariners allowed unescorted ak setsz to a secure area designated in a vessel security plan. as elements of the coast guard merchant mariner issuance process relies upon data received in twic enrollment, the provision was self-excaughted or easily implemented.
noting such, the coast guard issued a policy letter in december 2011 to remove requirement to hold a twic for mariners currently inactive or those serving on vessels that did not require a vessel security plan. the coast guard continues to work towards codification of this change through a rule-making process. a gao report on twic in may 2011 identified a verification of twics in the field. we issued a response to our field yubunits highlighting tha quick flash of the twic was not acceptable. the electronic readers deployed at our units assure each person aintelligenting to enter a facility is carrying a twic, and to date we have implemented over 275 readers to our field units. we continue to work with our dhs partners, and particularly with tsa as well as state and local agencies to continue to improve the twic program for seafarers and other maritime transportation workers, by
balancing a steadfast commitment to security while facilitating commerce. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. i will pleased to answer your questions. >> thank you. as earlier announced, we'll now recognize the gentleman from maryland for his opening statement. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. today the oversight committee and the transportation infrastructure committee convene to examine measures tsa utilizes to secure our nation's transportation networks. in the realm of aviation security, the tsa must achieve a delicate balance. they must be effective in meeting the evolving threat posed by terrorists. we also expect it to be responsive to the needs of the public and to the demands of commerce. since the terrible events of september 11th, 2001, several attacks have been attempted against commercial planes including the attempted bombing on christmas day 2009 of a northwest airlines flight 253 and the attempted bombing in 2010 of a cargo jet using a bomb
disguised as an inkjet cartridge. these incidents demonstrate the constantly evolving threats tsa must counter. tsa's 43,000 transportation security officers must screen more than 2 million passengers every day at our nation's 450 airports. although the vast majority of passengers pose no risk, these officers must find the e equivalent of the need until the haystack. in response to the christmas day bombing attempt, tsa increased its deployment of advanced technology systems to screen passengers for metallic and nonmetallic threats. more recently, tsa has developed a precheck program to expedite screening for low-risk travelers such as members of the military. i welcome tsa's efforts to develop a more intelligent, risk-based approach to transportation security. recognizing the enormity of the challenge tsa faces as the agency develops new screening techniques, we must ensure that
it strikes the appropriate balance between moving too quickly to deploy untested or unreliable technologies or techniques and moving too slowly to address new threats. today's hearing will also review the transportation worker identification credential. when i served as chairman of the subcommittee on coast guard and maritime transportation, i convened hearings in 2007 and 2008 to review the rollout of twic. as a matter of fact, the coast guard joins us today. unlike many screening techniques, tsa uses in the aviation realm, congressman day-to-dayed what became the twic program and required that this program be funded by fees collected from enrollees. there are now more than 2.1 million enrollees, and by our estimate these enrollees are paid approximately $280 million to implement this program. to close the security perimeter that twic is intended to grade,
we must finally implement the use of readers so these cards are no longer just expensive flash passes. tsa must also ensure that twics are not issued to ineligible applicants. however, we must also view twic in the broader maritime security context. twic is meant to control landside access to secure areas of u.s. ports and secure areas of u.s. vessels. there are many risks that approach our ports, particularry from the water side that twic was never intended to address. none of the individuals on the estimated 17 million small boats operating in our waters are required to carry twics, and none of the foreign mariners on the more than 9,000 foreign-flagged vessels calling on u.s. ports carry twics. our first and most critical line of maritime defense at sea is the coast guard, which must defend our coast, rescue
thousands at sea, respond to marine casualties and oil spills, intercept drugs and enforce security requirements at 2,500 facilities and on nearly 13,000 vessels regulated by the maritime transportation security act. this service of 42,000 active-duty officers and members do all of this on a budget of less than $10 billion per year. less than 2% of the d.o.d.'s base budget, and they now face additional cuts of up to 1,000 active duty with next year's budget. the coast guard does all that we ask of them to do. however, we cannot continue to stretch the service and assume that it will never break or the gaps will not open in our maritime security. with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. thank you for your courtesy. >> i thank the gentleman. we've also been joined by the chairman of the full transportation committee, and i now recognize him. >> first of all, thank you so
much, chairman is saissa, and tr committee, government reform and oversight. i'm honored to co-chair this hearing with you. sorry a little bit of a delay getting back here today, but pleased to be with you. and i thank you for your leadership on this. this is a very important agency that we have a joint responsibility over. our committee has some limited oversight responsibility under transportation as you may recall historically. tsa was created, i happened to chair the subcommittee on aviation in 2001 after the horrific terrorist attacks. since that time, tsa has grown from 16,500 screeners and a small cadre of different transportation security
activities which we joined together. it was a much smaller beginning, and unfortunately has mushroomed to 65,000 employees of which there are 14,000 administrative personnel, 4,000 in washington and 10,000 out in the field. we never intended it to mushroom to this size. i've been critical particularly of the administrative cost, even with the administrative cost, we might be able to endure that kind of expenditure which has grown to $8 billion if it meant we were secure. but instead, as this committee report today reviews, we have a number of programs that are so far behind, one i'd like to talk about is the twic program,
transportation worker identification card, it spent hundreds of millions of dollars, still in limbo. some of the equipment that's been purchased does not do the job. i know we can't talk about all of it here in this open setting, but the deployment of -- and acquisition of expensive equipment that is supposed to protect us which wasn't properly tested, vetted, and the deployment could have probably been done better by a high school class project. tsa had five administrators in nine years. we had a period under the obama administration which we had no administrator for almost a year. it's difficult enough with an agency like tsa or any other federal agency to operate with an administrator in washington, let alone not having an administrator for that period of
time. i have other concerns, having monitored this as closely as any one in congress. we are still at risk, the nation is still at risk. unfortunately, even the layered system and tsa, we'll talk to you about a layered system, almost every layer is just flawed, the behavior detection which i worked with previous administrators to put in when we had equipment that didn't work, tsa again bought equipment that didn't work. just following that equipment. the puffers, and i had my investigative staff follow that. they have sat and they sat and we were paying rent on them -- sorry, in a warehouse, they spent $600 i think per piece of equipment they told us that d.o.d. had them destroy but only
after we prompted the action, sent investigators down to look at another, jointly, we sent them to look at another warehouse we had information that was full of equipment, some purchased, some should have been deployed, some sitting there at great taxpayer expense for a long time paying rent on it. then the nerve to cause us to delay and i might even ask if we can't get the information to subpoena it, when we were informing tsa that we were sending our investigative staff there to delay our staff investigation by a week so trucks could come up and haul the stuff away even some as we were -- as our investigators were appearing on the scene. it's just a very expensive and disappointing operation. i have had faith in
administrator pistol, he promised reform. he's told the committee he would reform the agency. and i don't see that happening. unfortunately. but that's just the highlights, mr. chairman. and it's just important that we get to the bottom of this. there's a lot of hard earned taxpayer money going for, unfortunately, theater security and not real security and we've got to stop paying that price before we pay a huge price with another attack, successful attack, by terrorists. i yield back the balance of my time. >> i thank the judge. i recognize mr. self for five minutes. >> i have the advantage of knowing your bio, you may not know mine. i spent nearly three decades in security. the one thing i know about security there are two types. there's the type that convinced people that your target is harder than somebody else's, in
other words, i can't protect all cars but i can make the crook choose to steal the car next to the one protected by viper. that is what i would say you have as a system today. you in fact have a series of hardenings, they work sometimes. and i was speaking particularly about in the aviation. these programs, certainly seem to be good programs and in every case as the wind blows through the screen, those spots clearly will at times stop targets. but targets, particularly terrorist targets, are in fact, exactly like you would expect -- they are mobile, they are responsive. if we do not have a layered security system that has a sufficient force to at least be like the hull of a ship, admiral, one in which there will be a few leaks but for the most part it's water tight our
security system today is clearly not water tight. the accidental catching of the bad guys, belabors two points. one, the many people who in fact find themselves like most of us on the dais, going through security and sometimes they have us pull something out, sometimes they don't. sometimes they do a secondary, sometimes they don't. i'm going to give you a couple. we opened up this hearing to facebook. i'm giving you anecdotal ones but i'll supply all of them. i'll place them in the record and supply all of them to you so you can respond to the individuals in their entirety. for example, joe kerea, he is a u.s. marine, flying in his dress blue uniform, forced to remove his trousers in full view of passengers because his shirt stays beneath them were scaring a tsa employee.
it didn't matter that he explained what it was, it didn't matter that they were something that he undoubtedly had seen many times before if he were a veteran. of course you and i all know that the turnover at tsa is high and the training is seemingly perpetual. the next one is from reagan shea who says i am a disabled person and have been targeted for groping. my wife travels with a portable oxygen concentrator and her use of the machine means she gets pawed by hand every time we travel. julia rochellee, the tsa has taken away my freedom to travel because i wear a medical device and cannot go through the amount of radiation i would be subjected to as a result i get an enhanced pat-down procedure every time.
lastly, and there are plenty more, over 350, i am wendy, i wear -- i have worn an artificial leg since i was 4. i'm now 61. i used to travel a lot for my work but gave up traveling after being assaulted by tsa constantly. even to the point of having my breasts checked, instead of my leg prosthesis. first question i have for the panel, particularly for the aviation side, there's 65 to 67,000 tsa workers, men and women trying to do the good job. a quarter of them are employeed in administration. first question for you is, do you think that's a fair ratio of administration or do you think you are, in fact, a bloated bureaucratic organization that has a lot of people working on a lot of systems that ultimately after procurement don't work?
>> sir, i'll respond to that. thank you for recognizing the very hard working men and women of tsa, our folks in the field are working hard every day to keep all of us safe as we travel. i will have to take the ratio for administrative to front line personnel, i think it might be different from that but i'll get back. >> i'll give you -- when i travel, obviously to a number of places, houston, sacramento, but san diego and dulles are my majors. i periodically count and for four active check points at san diego, there will be as many as 35 people in blue standing there. so, even if your administrative count were not 1-4, wouldn't you agree, based on your own observations, that the amount of people directly at a checkpoint versus the total number would seem to be extremely high? in other words, you haven't created efficiency in the ten years of your existence. >> certainly i