Washington DC November 26, 2021
On Friday, TSA turned 20 years old.
The agency brought with it more thorough airport security, which has created long lines, but also it has given some peace of mind as we take to the skies.
Like any governmental agency, it brings benefits and controversy.
Flying changed forever two decades ago on Sept. 11, 2001, and enhanced safety measures continue to evolve.
Two months after the terrorist attacks, then-President George W. Bush signed legislation creating the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) which is under a larger agency known as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The agency itself is not a law enforcement agency but is tasked with various duties to secure our transportation systems.
It’s a force of federal airport screeners that replaced the private companies that airlines were hiring to handle security.
TSA immediately ramped up security checkpoints that are now routine for us were and things like taking off our shoes, our belts, liquid limits, and CT scanners checking our bags and bodies have now become the norm.
Chad Beedle, Stakeholder Manager for TSA Phoenix, has seen the change firsthand.
“Since 20 years ago, it has changed dramatically,” Beedle explained. “I started here in 2002, I was one of the first officers to roll out TSA here in Phoenix. When we started, we had hand wands and walk-through metal detectors and x-rays and now we have a lot more different technology here like CT scanners, we have advanced imaging technology body scanners that can detect threats on a person’s body, and we have bottle liquid scanners that can detect explosives in liquids.”
Beedle said there hasn’t been a terrorist attack through the aviation industry on American soil since the creation of TSA.
“So that’s one good positive and we continue to strive for that 100 percent accuracy,” he said. “We have to be right 100 percent of the time because the terrorists only have to be right one time.”
TSA is visible at our airports, but they are also responsible for our rail system, power grids and oil pipelines. A few areas where TSA is hard at work though seldom seen.
It’s headquartered in Springfield, Virginia. As of the fiscal year 2020, the TSA operated on a budget of approximately $7.68 billion and employed over 47,000 Transportation Security Officers, Behaviour Detection Officers, Transportation Security Specialists, Federal Air Marshals, and other security personnel.