Nearly three-thousand people were killed in a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia on the morning of September 11, 2001. The attacks left a profound effect upon our country and set in motion a chain of events that resulted in the creation of a new federal agency, specifically designed to prevent similar attacks in the future. Driven by a desire to help our nation, tens of thousands of people joined this new agency and commit themselves to strengthening our transportation systems while ensuring the freedom of movement for people and commerce.
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- “Not On My Watch” – Watch TSA employees as they visit 9/11 memorials in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania and recommit themselves to the agency’s mission in this 2012 short film
- “Reflections of 9/11” – Watch TSA’s first leaders and architects reflect on the events of that tragic day in this 2010 documentary short film
- “Why We Are Here” – Watch TSA employees reflect on their 9/11 experiences and their dedication to the TSA mission in this 2007 short film
- 9/11 Stories – Read inspiring stories written by TSA employees and collected for the tenth anniversary of September 11th
The Creation of TSA
The Aviation and Transportation Security Act, (.pdf, 104kb) passed by the 107th Congress and signed on November 19, 2001, established TSA and required the completion of more than 30 mandates by the end of 2002. In the largest civilian undertaking in the history of the United States, TSA met each one of these initial requirements including:
- Assuming responsibility for all civil aviation security functions from the FAA
- Hiring, training and deploying security officers for over 400 commercial airports from Guam to Alaska in 12 months
- Providing 100 percent screening of all checked baggage for explosives by December 31, 2002
In March 2003, TSA transferred from the Department of Transportation to the Department of Homeland Security – created on November 25, 2002 by the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (.pdf, 528kb) – unifying the nation's response to threats to the homeland.
Today, more than a decade since its creation, TSA has grown and evolved yet remains committed to its mission. The agency employs a risk-based, intelligence-driven, multi-layered strategy to secure U.S. transportation systems, working closely with stakeholders in aviation, rail, transit, highway, and pipeline sectors, as well as the partners in the law enforcement and intelligence community.
TSA and the Future
Since 9/11, DHS has taken significant steps to keep Americans safe. As a result, the homeland is stronger today than ever before. As we look to the future, TSA will work to constantly enhance its layered approach to aviation security through the use of continuously updated and improved technology, expanded data analysis capabilities and enhanced understanding of current intelligence.
Since his confirmation in June 2010, Administrator Pistole has brought even more focus to TSA’s counterterrorism efforts, directing the agency to try new ways of doing business to drive more effective and efficient security.
TSA has looked at what is working well and what can be done better to strengthen security and evolve security, while improving the screening experience whenever possible.