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TSA warehouses $185 million in new security equipment in Texas prior to its deployment

TSA warehouses
equipment in Texas

While it is waiting to deploy the latest security technologies at airports across the United States, TSA leases three warehouses in Texas in which it stores that equipment.

As of Feb. 29, 2012, the gross value of that equipment being stored in those three warehouses was approximately $185 million, according to testimony delivered to two House committees on May 9 by David Nicholson, a TSA assistant administrator.

“TSA has reduced the annual cost for its warehouse lease and operations by $4.1 million dollars (from $7.6 million annually in 2009, to $3.9 million in 2011) by working directly with warehouse owners and awarding the warehouse operations contract to a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business,” explained Nicholson.

TSA buys equipment before it can be deployed for use in locations affected by natural disasters, or at busy and crowded U.S. airports. “These factors generally lead TSA to procure equipment ahead of deployment so that the equipment is immediately available when the airport is ready,” he added.

The warehousing security equipment was the subject of a critical House report issued the same day, entitled Airport Insecurity: TSA’s Failure to Cost-Effectively Procure, Deploy and Warehouse its Screening Technologies.

In another part of his testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Nicholson noted that TSA’s Pre Check program has been expanded to 12 U.S. airports, and that TSA’s goal is to roll it out at 35 of the busiest domestic airports by the end of 2012.

In addition to travelers passengers enrolled in “trusted traveler” programs run by Customs and Border Protection, Pre Check has been made available to members of the U.S. armed forces who possess a valid Common Access Card (CAC), including reservist and National Guard members.

“TSA is actively working with major air carriers such as United Airlines, US Airways, Jet Blue, Hawaiian Airlines and Alaska Airlines to expand both the number of participating airlines and the number of airports where expedited screening through TSA Pre Check is provided,” Nicholson testified.