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TSA announces new Pre-Check private sector vetting initiative

In a speech today at the Aero Club of Washington, TSA Administrator John Pistole previewed plans to establish a new “private sector vetting initiative” for the Pre-Check program, as noted in this TSA press release:

“TSA is working to establish a relationship with the private sector to enhance its continued efforts to expand the population of travelers using TSA Pre✓™. By leveraging private-sector best practices in business operations, marketing, and algorithm optimization, TSA hopes to provide a better travel experience for an increased number of ‘trusted travelers’ while focusing our attention on unknown and potentially higher-risk passengers.

These efforts will need to be developed carefully, especially with respect to privacy concerns, bearing in mind the lessons from this episode early in TSA’s history. But TSA deserves kudos for their forward leaning efforts to develop this program in the past three years, an effort which has generated significant cost savings and operational efficiencies without diminishing aviation security. Confirming this, the FY 2015 Senate appropriations committee report for DHS noted that TSA has been able to reduce its headcount of screening personnel by 3,186 FTEs due to its “risk-based approach to passenger screening and the deployment of improved screening technologies.”