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TSA

A new law will require the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to become more transparent in how it acquires and uses security technology, including the development of a public five-year technology investment plan. The Transportation Security Acquisition Reform Act was signed into law by President Obama Dec. 19, 2014.

“This law is an important step that will root out the waste at TSA and increase safety by ensuring that the most effective, cost-efficient security tools are implemented,” Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.), who sponsored the bill, said in a statement after the bill’s passage. “Despite Washington’s gridlock, the bipartisan support of this law shows that Republicans and Democrats can work together to solve problems.”

According to Fierce Home Land Security, under the new law, the agency has about six months to develop and submit the five-year strategic plan in an unclassified format, as much as possible. But it could include a classified addendum that reports sensitive security risks, technology vulnerabilities and other sensitive information.

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However, the plan should include an analysis of security risks and associated capability gaps that would be addressed by security-related technology. It should also include acquisition needs, current and future trends in domestic and international passenger travel, listing current technologies that are at the end – or near the end – of their lifecycle, and opportunities for public-private partnerships, among other things.

Besides the plan, the agency will be required to justify major acquisitions of security-related technology to Congress as well as report schedule delays of implementations, cost overruns and technical failures regarding major acquisitions.

TSA also will be required to develop measures to manage and track equipment in inventory as a way to reduce storage costs of unusable or outdated technologies. The agency must also report annual goals for doing business with small and disadvantaged businesses.

The House initially passed the bill in December 2013. About four weeks ago, the Senate passed its version, which was sent back to House for its approval before being signed into law.