NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

AIRPORT SECURITY SCREENINGS SHOULD BE PRIVATIZED

February 18, 2005

Airport security screenings would be faster and more efficient if the federal government allowed private companies to perform screenings, says Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), chairman of the House aviation subcommittee.

Private-sector screening eliminates the conflict of interest that occurs when the government is both the regulator and the regulated. Aviation security is a federal responsibility, but many feel that government is more productive when setting policy and conducting oversight, explains Mica.

Moreover:

  • Allowing private companies to perform screenings will foster flexibility, efficiency and savings, as well as private-sector innovation and forward thinking.
  • Most of the major innovations and cost-savings in TSA's screening program have come from a private-sector pilot program at five airports operating over the past two years.
  • Classified testing by the Homeland Security inspector general found that those private firms under federal supervision provide equal or better security than the all-federal screeners.

As long as the highest levels of security are provided in accordance with federal standards, oversight and audits, the means by which they are achieved is irrelevant. The government should focus on oversight, testing and frequent inspections and allow aviation security to evolve through the private sector, says Mica.

Source: Rep. John Mica, (R-Fla.), "Shift to private screeners," USA Today, February 10, 2005.

 

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