The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) should develop outcome-oriented performance measures and data collection measures to better position it to assess the effectiveness of its initiatives to diversify its security technology marketplace, and give small businesses better chances in the TSA marketplace, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.

In the TSA Efforts to Diversify Security Technology strategy from January 2020, TSA addressed requirements from the 2018 TSA Modernization Act and outlined 12 strategic initiatives to increase small business participation in its marketplace. However, small businesses that GAO met with said that “they continue to face challenges entering TSA’s marketplace – such as navigating its testing and evaluation process and identifying security requirements.”

“While TSA collects some output metrics on its initiatives, leading practices note that outcome-based measures can help track progress in meeting goals,” wrote GAO. “TSA also has not collected data on small businesses’ progress across its acquisition phases, such as capturing the overall time, costs, and ability to meet security requirements.”

According to GAO, developing outcome-oriented performance measures can help TSA “assess the effectiveness of its initiatives to diversify its security technology marketplace.”

GAO made two recommendations, both of which the Department of Homeland Security – which houses TSA – agreed with, including:

  • Develop outcome-oriented performance measures; and
  • Collect data on small businesses’ progress across TSA’s acquisition phases, where appropriate.
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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.