Airlines & Airports
Rich Thomaselli | June 03, 2016 12:30 PM ET
Private Sector Has Long Had A Role In US Security, So Why Not Airport Security?
Recently, my TravelPulse.com colleague Josh Lew waxed eloquently about the need to privatize airport security.
I’m here to preach to the choir and echo Josh’s thoughts, with some elaboration.
And my view is based on a single, albeit controversial, premise: If our government has been comfortable and reliant on using private firms to be involved in U.S. security, why not airport and airline security?
The United States itself has long used the private sector to handle some military issues – known as ‘contingency contracting’ – including combat missions and personnel security. This practice dates back to the Revolutionary War and has been standard operating procedure ever since in every military action. In fact, by the time we fought the Iraqi War it was a 1:1 ratio between the private sector and military personnel, and a 1.42:1 ratio in the Afghanistan conflict.
I’m not here to debate the merits of that use; there’s been ancillary controversy over the use of companies like Blackwater and Triple Canopy, to be sure, yet those these private firms continue to be called upon to hit hot spots around the world.
In the end, it’s my longwinded way of saying that since George Washington it’s worked well enough to be a repeatable philosophy. The private sector has proven it can do almost everything more efficiently than the government, and at a reduced rate. That’s why it’s time to turn over airport security to private firms.
Government agencies produce some fine work and some fine individuals, but the Transportation Security Administration’s failure rate is astounding. Last year, it was well-documented that government agents with fake bombs, grenades, guns, knives and more were able to slip these past security at a 95 percent rate.
Ask any security expert and they will tell you the same thing – TSA employees are low-level employees with very little to no training. Government training is a basically a smokescreen. It’s “outcome-based” training – the outcome is pre-determined and the training is focused on the lowest common denominator.
Taking over airport security should be easy. Private companies have to follow government standards, but they don’t have to operate under government bureaucracy. Private companies are free to develop “performance-based” training programs that are designed to make people better and more efficient. They set stringent training standards that have to be met, including subjective evaluations, as opposed to the minimum training qualifications that are used by government agencies and easily tailored to just get people through.
Although it certainly sounds like it, this is less an indictment of the TSA and more an affirmation of private firms.
The time, indeed, has come.
More by Rich Thomaselli
Get Travel Deals and Travel News
Latest Travel News
Features & Advice
Hotel & Resort
Cruise Line & Cruise Ship
Cruise Line & Cruise Ship