WASHINGTON — The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recognized a year of accomplishments and progress in 2022, setting a new record in firearm interceptions by Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) at checkpoints, making significant strides to improve transportation security and screening an average of more than two million passengers daily at airports across the country.
TSA provided airport screening at or near pre-pandemic travel volumes despite multiple instances of challenging weather conditions; enhanced cybersecurity resilience of critical transportation infrastructure with performance-based security directives and continued to test and deploy new technologies that significantly improve security effectiveness, efficiency and the passenger experience throughout the transportation system. Additionally, TSA officers stopped more than 6,500 firearms at airport checkpoints.
“I am incredibly proud of our dedicated TSA employees who perform the critical task of securing our nation’s transportation systems each day,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “We had a very successful year that ended with the enactment of the FY 2023 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, which included funding to bring TSA employee compensation to a level commensurate with other federal employees, in addition to funding to expand collective bargaining rights for our non-supervisory screening workforce. For years, our employees have not been paid fairly, and securing pay parity was necessary from an operational standpoint as we continue to see increasing travel volumes, and will also help our ability to recruit and hire new employees and retain the talent we have.”
During 2022, TSA achieved the following highlights and accomplishments:
OUR SECURITY OPERATIONS
20 years of federalized security: TSA recognized the 20th year of checkpoint federalization as more than 400 airports nationwide reached this milestone anniversary.
Technology improvements: TSA improved security effectiveness and reduced physical contact by deploying 534 Credential Authentication Technology (CAT) units and adding 243 Computed Tomography (CT) X-ray scanners at airport checkpoints. The FY23 Omnibus Bill, which President Biden signed into law in December 2022, will enable technology deployments to continue across the agency’s nearly 2,400 security checkpoint lanes to raise the bar on identity verification and security efficiency, accommodate future improvements in liquids screening and take initial steps for screening at speed.
Cybersecurity resilience efforts: TSA worked with industry partners to revise previous rail and pipeline Security Directives and issue performance-based pipeline Security Directives to enhance cybersecurity resilience for the nation’s critical pipelines and rail systems. Performance-based criteria recognizes the diversity of organizations and systems that exist throughout the transportation sector and seeks to incorporate practices that strengthen those systems against attack.
Officers stopped a record number of firearms: TSOs prevented more than 6,542 firearms from entering the secure areas of airports in 2022; 88% of the firearms were loaded. TSA also announced several new measures to mitigate firearms threats including enhanced screening for passengers in possession of a firearm at a TSA checkpoint and loss of TSA PreCheck® eligibility for up to five years. In December 2022, TSA also increased the maximum civil penalty for a firearms violation to nearly $15,000.
Federal Air Marshal Service 60th Anniversary: In March 2022, TSA recognized its Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS) for 60 years of protecting domestic and international flights and providing a visible security presence for surface transportation modes. The FAMS was initially founded as part of the Federal Aviation Administration in 1962 in response to increased international airline hijacking incidents, and transitioned to TSA after its establishment following the 9/11 attacks.
Expanded canine teams: TSA trained and deployed more than 1,000 explosives detection canine teams at airports and mass-transit facilities to support large-scale events such as Super Bowl LVI, the Kentucky Derby, Indy 500 and enhance security operations at airports and surface transportation systems nationwide.
Announced open architecture initiative: TSA partnered with Airports Council International (ACI) - Europe to begin piloting open architecture airport security technology. Open architecture offers agility in technology development, adoption and updates, promoting competition and improving security and the traveler experience.
TSA Insider Threat: Executed a multimedia insider threat awareness campaign, increasing workforce knowledge of potential risk indicators of an insider threat and reporting streams; expanded TSA office and program membership within the TSA Insider Risk Mitigation Hub and increased external domestic and international transportation stakeholder and partner outreach efforts. The agency also continued advancement of TSA Insider Threat with the deployment of a case management system and threat data analytics.
Global incident management: TSA supported Operation Allies Welcome with the safe transport of over 90,000 people from Afghanistan to the U.S. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, TSA continued to lead cybersecurity efforts as a sector risk management agency for transportation.
OUR CUSTOMERS AND PARTNERS
Passenger volumes continue to recover: Travel volumes returned to pre-pandemic levels in 2022, with TSOs screening 736 million passengers, averaging over two million passengers per day. On average, 99.4% of passengers waited less than 30 minutes at airport security checkpoints, while 99.4% of passengers in TSA PreCheck lanes waited less than 10 minutes.
TSA PreCheck reduced enrollment fee: Seven new airlines joined the TSA PreCheck expedited screening program and over 3.3 million people enrolled, bringing the total number of active TSA PreCheck members to more than 14 million. The agency also reduced the initial enrollment cost to $78 and renewal cost to $70.
First TSA PreCheck at an international checkpoint: In February, TSA opened its first TSA PreCheck lanes outside of the U.S. making its debut in Nassau, Bahamas.
TSA improved the passenger experience: The TSA Contact Center answered 1.9 million traveler calls and email messages; AskTSA responded directly to 2.2 million traveler questions, typically within two minutes, over social media and introduced a new feature enabling airline passengers to text AskTSA (275-872) with security-related questions. The TSA Cares helpline provided assistance to 46,000 travelers with disabilities, medical conditions and other special circumstances. Additionally, TSA implemented enhanced screening technology, improving the Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) units in airport checkpoints with a software update that enhances accuracy and efficiency. Through a partnership with Apple, TSA also continued to test the acceptance of mobile driver’s licenses to enable a more seamless airport security experience for travelers in participating states including Arizona, Maryland and Colorado.
Collaboration and strategic partnerships: TSA conducted over 500 domestic response plan exercises; provided self-defense training for airline employees; offered truck, port and rail workers online options to securely renew credentials and increased intelligence sharing with surface and aviation partners.
TSA leveraged innovation and identity management: TSA published its Innovation Doctrine to highlight how the agency embeds innovation into its business processes. Additionally, TSA issued an Identity Management Roadmap, outlining a cohesive identity management approach that enhances standards, improves data sharing and privacy protocols across systems and expands collaboration efforts among stakeholders to improve the traveler experience.
TSA introduced its virtual Mission Hall: In November 2022, TSA launched a virtual tour of TSA’s Mission Hall, which is located at TSA headquarters. The exhibit is a collection of historical archives and artifacts documenting the agency’s establishment, its evolution and critical events in transportation security.
Increased compensation for TSA employees: In late December 2022 President Biden signed into law the FY23 Omnibus Bill, which was a top priority for DHS and TSA, that includes funds to pay TSA employees at a level commensurate with other federal agencies. The new compensation plan will begin in July 2023 and recognizes the critical role TSA employees play in protecting the nation’s transportation systems.
Expanded collective bargaining rights for non-supervisory screeners: The FY23 Omnibus Bill included funding to support implementation of an expanded labor framework, including broad collective bargaining rights for the non-supervisory screening workforce. On December 30, 2022, Administrator Pekoske signed a new Determination on Transportation Security Officers and Collective Bargaining that sets forth this new labor framework. The spending bill also included funding for continued Merit Systems Protection Board rights for TSOs. The agency first established these rights for TSOs in September 2021.
TSA hired a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Officer: TSA hired its first-ever executive officer to lead diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility initiatives for the agency. The Chief Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Officer is responsible for designing, developing, and recommending a diversity management strategy that aligns with and contributes directly to TSA’s mission and strategic goals.
TSA continues to hire and train officers: TSA hired more than 10,000 new TSOs and opened its new TSA Academy West adjacent to Harry Reid International Airport (LAS) in Las Vegas. The new training academy graduated over 1,000 TSOs while others were trained at the TSA Academy East in Glynco, Ga. TSA offered a hiring bonus for TSO positions in some areas of the country where it is hard to recruit applicants and provided an opportunity for candidates to onboard as Security Support Assistants (SSA) within just a few weeks. The SSA position allows candidates to quickly obtain employment at TSA to perform non-screening duties in support of checkpoint operations, while they complete the TSO hiring process.
For more information, see the TSA 2022 Year in Review.