A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) official said this week that the agency is working on technology-related solutions to make its airport-based workforce more efficient and to reduce the severity of security-related bottlenecks that flyers face.

Dan Daly, deputy director of the Information Assurance and Cybersecurity Division at TSA, talked about that work during a panel discussion at the Feb. 22 Digital Transformation Summit hosted by ACT-IAC and MeriTalk.

Asked about how technology is being used to improve efficiency at TSA, Daly replied that “in terms of efficiencies, where we see the largest gap at the moment is at our TSO [Transportation Security Officer] workforce at the airports.”

“How we can really enable their activities through technology, I think, is a primary mission space for our administrator at the moment,” he said.

Daly said there are “a lot of efforts underway to really look at how we can create some efficiencies in what we’re doing at the checkpoint, so that you don’t have to see 100 TSOs standing there, maybe we can reduce that number down by a factor of 20 percent, 30 percent, 40 percent.”

On the cybersecurity workforce front, he said that most organizations – including those in  government and the private sector – are “having some kind of hiring issue, especially as it relates to technology and cybersecurity.”

At TSA, however, Daly said “we’re actually growing.”

He remined that TSA has a role in cybersecurity regulation in several transportation sectors, and said in that function, the agency is “releasing a lot of security directives, we’re putting a lot of requirements out for industry to meet.”

“It’s something, I think, really everybody should take notice of,” Daly continued. “Because as you think about your business and what you’re doing, not a lot of people are actually following a framework.”

“Whether it’s NIST [National Institute of Standards and Technology] or it’s ISO, you’ve got to take a look at your program and say, what are we doing, are we following the framework, how are we following his framework, are we truly meeting the intent behind this framework, and then … align your resources to fulfill any of those gaps.”

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John Curran
John Curran
John Curran is MeriTalk's Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.