September 15, 2022
Acting Administrator, Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Christopher D. Roberti
Senior Vice President for Cyber, Space, and National Security Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
As it looks to modernize travel post-pandemic, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has many goals and challenges to address, including staff recruitment and retention as well as national security efforts.
On Day 2 of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s two-day Global Aerospace Summit, Christopher D. Roberti of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce spoke with The Honorable David P. Pekoske, Acting Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration. In a fireside chat about the return to travel, Pekoske shared insights on new technological advancements that will benefit passenger safety and the TSA’s upcoming goals.
The TSA Has Created a New Budget Request to Support Recruitment and Retention
For the first time since TSA was founded, “[a new] budget will put all of our employees on equal footing for pay with their counterparts and the rest of the federal government,” said Pekoske.
“We're under a different pay system,” he noted, explaining that if you classified someone’s position in TSA into any other federal agency, that person's pay would increase by around 30%.
“It's a very significant difference,” Pekoske said. “These are national security positions [with] significant responsibility, and we want to make sure that we provide equitable compensation. Our proposal in the budget is for pay equity.”
“This [budget] request will be about $1.5 billion in fiscal 2024,” Pekoske added. “So far, we've had great support from the House and from the Senate. They have different proposals for when it starts, but the most important thing is to start it.”
This, he said, will help the TSA with recruitment and retention — a top priority for the sector going forward.
One-Stop Security Will Harmonize International Security Efforts
Pekoske noted that one-stop security is an important concept “not just in the one-stop concept, but … in the investments and the training we make going forward.”
He explained that the concept achieves three key things:
“One is that everything we do should improve security effectiveness,” he said. “The second is we should always endeavor to improve security efficiency, and the third is we should endeavor to make sure we improve or increase the passenger experience going through our screening process.”
According to Pekoske, the benefit of one-stop security is it improves security significantly by harmonizing internationally “to achieve the security outcomes [and harmonize] our technology and the software that runs within that technology,” he said.
However, unlike in the U.S., some countries don’t require their officers to screen within their own country.
“We could have one-stop really outbound from the United States start first, and we've done a lot of work on that already,” he said. “Then, once our authorization comes in place … [we can] figure out which are the prototype locations [and] to make sure that we fully brief up to our oversight committees in the Congress, [and figure out] the process we're gonna use and how we're gonna ascertain the security commensurability between the two systems.”
“I would expect that in the not too distant future, we will see some one-stop arrangements if only outbound from the U.S. at first,” Pekoske added.
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