Christopher Elliott had an interesting article in Newsweek (“Databeast: Patting Down the TSA” 3/19/12, p. 16).  He throws some number at us to challenge the effectiveness and efficiency of the TSA.  Why I’m surprised at Christopher!

The numbers are rather enlightening.

Since 2001 we have spent $57 billion on the TSA.  Over the last decade the staff has grown 400% and the average annual salary of the administrative personnel in Washington, DC, is $103,852.

Those are big numbers.  Perhaps we can justify them.  I will let you decide.  Consider this:  Airlines estimate they lose $4.4 billion annually due to the inconvenience of TSA screenings.  To date the TSA has never apprehended a terrorist.  Hmm.  I wonder if terrorists like the TSA.

But don’t worry.  You see, you have to be highly experienced to work as a TSA agent.  In fact, if you lack a high school diploma, you must have at least one year of work experience.  (I feel better already.)

Additionally, TSA agents are very professional.  That is why one allegedly lifted $5,000 from a passenger’s coat.  Another agent pranked passengers by producing fake cocaine during a routine search.  Now wait a minute—Aren’t these the same people who have all the big signs up telling us “NO JOKES”?  Oh, that’s right.  Those rules only apply to us.

Moral of the story?  Never assume an organization is doing everything right just because it has a prestigious name.  The TSA has some homework to do; I think we would all agree.  But then again, don’t we all?

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About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Tyco Integrated Security at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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