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TSA Overhead | An Independent Voters View

Updated on January 30, 2011

One of the ‘bright spots’ of the recent State of the Union Address by President Obama was the idea of reorganizing government operations to make them more efficient. I am not one who has been a big detractor of The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) until recently when I started reading some startling facts about them and how they are organized. The TSA has of course an administrator and a deputy administrator. But then it has no less than sixteen separate departments (see Chart Below). Now I am not an expert in the field of transportation security, or organizational efficiency. But what I do know is that leaders have an optimal span of supervision and control of 5-7 sub-elements. Whole Armies are built on this principle, as are many private corporations.

TSA Org Chart
TSA Org Chart | Source

In the Organization chart of the TSA above just a purview of the sub-elements titles seem to point to some possible consolidation. I have highlighted them in similar colors. A few more interesting facts here are that the agency has around 3,500 administrative staff in the Washington DC Area. That staff supports approximately 8,500 workers at 467 airports nationwide; it’s pretty easy math to figure each administrative staff member supports 2.1 field agents. Where are the cost benefit analyses of TSA operations? No where; they don’t do them.

Did you know that the TSA has actually been profiling at airports around the country since 2007? Do they use the Israeli model? Nope. Did they do any studies to figure out how to actually do the profiling? Nope. Have they done any studies to figure out if it works? Nope. Are they fixing to hire 3,100 more people at a cost of $1.2Billion to do this work that no body knows is cost effective or not? Yep. Re-organization from the top down is looking pretty good from here.

You’ll notice I haven’t addressed the pay or training of the TSA field agents, and for those who may not be familiar with my comments on fellow hubbers hubs, I have a low tolerance for stepping on the heads of the folks who are out there doing a difficult and THANKLESS job, day after day. Face it no one who travels likes to be searched or scanned. The best they are going get from the American public is reluctant toleration for doing what the leadership has determined to be necessary. As an old soldier I can appreciate that but hey, it goes with the paycheck. The job is what it is, and I thank each and every field agent that does it professionally. If we can get some professionalism at the top with a few leadership skills we may well have something that works as intended. Seems to me a good time for each of you to let both the President and your congressman know what you think about this.


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    • Hmrjmr1 profile image

      Hmrjmr1 6 years ago from Georgia, USA

      GH - thanks for stopping by, we all keep up the pressure on congress we can collectivley make a difference. Try it and see.

    • Granny's House profile image

      Granny's House 6 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

      Hey how you doin? Have seen you for a while. Great job on this hub. Thank you for bring this to out attention. Not like we can do anything about it. lol

    • Hmrjmr1 profile image

      Hmrjmr1 6 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Pop- yep way too top heavy, see how it goes with the budget knife. My way of being optimistic I guess. Thanks for stopping by.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 6 years ago

      The TSA is a huge bureaucratic nightmare that never seems to learn anything. They are attempting to profile but they give hardly any training to their agents and then expect them to know what they are doing. It's a horrible waste of time and money and we aren't any safer. The administrative offices are bloated with overpaid personnel.

    • Hmrjmr1 profile image

      Hmrjmr1 6 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Thanks MT glad you enjoyed it.

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 6 years ago from Minnesota

      Thanks for your great information on this. I appreciate it:)