Politics

Orlando airport latest to ditch TSA in favor of private security

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Orlando Sanford International Airport has received initial approval for its proposal to replace its TSA contingent with private security staff.

The Screening Partnership Program, which the TSA established after testing a pilot program from 2002-2004, permits a private contract screening workforce under government supervision to assume control of an airport’s security.

Current participants include San Francisco International Airport and Key West International Airport. Orlando Sanford would become the 17th participant in the program, upon final approval.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has pushed for the TSA to reform its operations to reduce inefficiency.

“It’s critical that TSA get out of the business of running a huge bureaucracy and human resources operation and refocus its attention on security, analyzing intelligence, and setting the highest risk-based security standards.” said Republican Rep. John Mica, Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

The bureaucratic nature of the TSA has gotten out of control, according to some members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The agency has cost taxpayers more than $57 billion since its inception a decade ago.

That total includes an average salary of over $103,000 for 3,986 headquarters staff located in Washington, D.C.

But defenders of the TSA maintain that those costs are necessary to protect the flying public.

“Only a well-trained, well-paid, fully empowered professional public workforce can provide the protection the American people need,” John Gage, the national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, told Congress in February.

Gage has also targeted the Screening Partnership Program.

“The mission of corporations is to make profits from the shareholders, and that is in direct conflict with the single focused mission of air travel security for American,” Gage said.

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