Departing TSA chief touts ‘risk-based’ security approach

Departing TSA chief touts ‘risk-based’ security approach
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Outgoing Transportation Security Administration chief John Pistole is touting the agency’s switch to a “risk-based” airport security approach during his tenure as he prepares to exit federal service at the end of the year. 

Pistole, who is leaving the TSA to lead his alma mater, said in a blog post on the agency’s website Monday that the risk-based initiatives like the PreCheck known traveler program have improved the airport experience for most airline passengers. 

“In 2011, TSA changed the way it screens the nearly 2 million passengers who fly daily from more than 450 commercial airports in the U.S,” he wrote. “We moved from the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to more efficient risk-based, intelligence-driven security operations.

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“Since the vast majority of people pose little to no threat to aviation, we can expedite the screening process at airports,” Pistole continued. “This allows TSA to focus more on individuals who may pose an unknown level of risk to the traveling public.” 

Pistole announced last month he was resigning after nearly five years at the helm of the TSA.  

He has already been tapped to lead his alma mater Anderson University in Indiana, beginning next year.

The departing TSA chief has frequently touted the program the move to risk-based airport security technique as a sea change in the federal government’s approach to airport security because it allows TSA employees to focus more on searching for explosive devices while ruling out passengers who have volunteered to have their backgrounds checked. 

Pistole said Monday that he focused in his last year at the TSA on “increasing the population of known and trusted travelers receiving TSA PreCheck. 

“We enrolled more than 740,000 travelers in the program since opening the first application center in December 2013,” he wrote. “We expanded TSA PreCheck to more than 120 airports and opened more than 300 application centers nationwide. 

“With more people experiencing TSA PreCheck airports are opening more expedited screening lanes and expanding the hours in which those lanes are staffed,” Pistole continued. “Passenger support for TSA PreCheck is positive and we are confident it will only grow as more people recognize the benefits of this program.” 

President Obama has not yet named a replacement for Pistole at the TSA.