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Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

Risk-Based Security Initiatives

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is undertaking efforts to focus its resources and improve the passenger experience at security checkpoints by applying new intelligence-driven, risk-based screening procedures and enhancing its use of technology.

This approach is based on the following premises:

  • The majority of airline passengers are low risk.
  • By having passengers voluntarily provide more information about themselves, TSA can better segment the population in terms of risk.
  • Behavior detection and interviewing techniques should be strengthened in the screening process.
  • TSA must accelerate its efforts to optimize screening processes and use of technology to gain system-wide efficiencies.
  • Increase security by focusing on unknowns; expedite known and trusted travelers.

TSA has developed conceptual screening processes consistent with this approach that the agency began testing at airports in August 2011. Click below to learn more about each program.

TSA will continue to take steps to further enhance its layered approach to security through new state-of-the-art technologies, expanded use of existing and proven technologies, better passenger identification techniques and other developments that will continue to strengthen the agency’s capabilities to keep terrorists off commercial aircraft.

TSA will always incorporate random and unpredictable security measures throughout the airport and no individual will be guaranteed expedited screening in order to retain a certain element of randomness to prevent terrorists from gaming the system.

If the individual pilots prove successful, these changes could allow officers to better focus their efforts on other passengers who are more likely to pose a risk to transportation. Additional changes to the security screening process may be implemented in the future as TSA continues to analyze the best approaches to security.

Latest revision: 10 February 2014