Key Issues > Duplication & Cost Savings > GAO's Action Tracker > Baggage Screening Systems (2011-78)
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Homeland Security/Law Enforcement: Baggage Screening Systems (2011-78)

More efficient baggage screening systems could result in about $470 million in reduced Transportation Security Administration personnel costs over the next 5 years.

Action:

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) might achieve savings in screening personnel costs by continuing to replace or modify older checked baggage screening systems with more efficient solutions, including in-line screening systems.

Progress:

TSA has achieved savings in checked baggage screening personnel costs by continuing to replace or modify older checked baggage screening systems with more efficient in-line systems, as GAO suggested in March 2011. In December 2013, TSA reported that 108 airports now possessed operational in-line systems, an increase of 20 airports since the end of fiscal year 2011. TSA reported that from fiscal year 2011 through 2013, the agency had saved a cumulative $104.5 million in personnel costs. These personnel cost savings have not reduced TSA's overall screening workforce. Rather, according to TSA, the personnel have been redeployed to other security tasks. GAO estimated in March 2011 that TSA could achieve net cost savings of up to $470 million over the next 5 years based on reduced TSA staffing costs through more efficient baggage screening systems. This estimate assumed that acquisition, modification, installation, and operation and maintenance costs of stand-alone and in-line detection systems continue to be relatively equal. As GAO reported in March 2011, this assumption was based on cost data from earlier substitutions of in-line for stand-alone systems, which now appear to be outdated. As a result, net cost savings are likely less than reported personnel cost savings. Neverthess, TSA's actions have resulted in increased efficiencies.

Implementing Entity:

Transportation Security Administration
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    • Jennifer A. Grover
    • Director, Homeland Security and Justice
    • groverj@gao.gov
    • (202) 512-7141