Former head of TSA warns current security systems ‘not sufficient for tomorrow’s threats’

WASHINGTON, D.C. — It’s been nearly 20 years since the government created the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Wednesday members of a House panel heard from the head of the TSA and former TSA administrators about the on-going challenges facing the agency today.

From unruly passengers, to pandemic restrictions, the TSA has faced a new set of challenges in recent years.

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The TSA was formed in November 2001 following the security failures from the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

“The state of TSA is very strong,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske in his testimony. “The intelligence community’s work in assessing threats has allowed us to mitigate risk to aviation and surface transportation.”

Former TSA administrators urged Congress and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to remain focused on continuing to update our systems and policies to keep up with current threats, including potential cyber-attacks.

“Today’s security systems, as good as they are, are not sufficient for tomorrow’s threats,” said Admiral Peter Neffenger, former TSA Administrator from 2015-2017. “Adversaries are agile, adaptive, aggressive and creative. We have to be even more so… There is no perfect system. No ideal technology and no, ‘we got it right,’ moment.”

Pekoske said a major focus for the TSA today has been upgrading technology.

“We are in the midst to an upgrade in the technology at our screening checkpoints at over 400 airports around the country,” said Pekoske.

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They are changes that will impact millions of passengers every year for an agency tasked with keeping our skies safe.

“We have to remain vigilant and diligent and focus on today and tomorrow,” said Admiral James Loy, former TSA Administrator from 2002-2003.