The Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) Transportation Security Executive Service (TSES) consists of executive-level staff serving in key agency positions just below political appointees. Committees of Congress have raise questions about the frequency of turnover within the TSES and have directed GAO to examine turnover among TSES staff. Accordingly, this report examines: (1) TSES attrition and how it compares with that of Senior Executive Service (SES) staff in other DHS components and cabinet-level departments, (2) the reasons TSES staff separated from TSA, and (3) TSA efforts to mange TSES attrition consistent with effective management practices. To answer these objectives, GAO analyzed data within the Office of Personnel Management's Central Personnel Data File, reviewed TSA human capital policies and procedures, and interviewed former TSES staff. The results of these interviews are not generalizable, but represent the views of about half the TSES staff who separated from fiscal years 2005 through 2008.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Transportation Security Administration||1. To address attrition among TSES staff and improve management of TSES resources, the TSA Administrator should ensure that the National Exit Survey, or any other exit survey instrument TSA may adopt, can be used to distinguish between responses provided by TSES staff and other staff, so that the agency can determine why TSES staff, in particular, are separating from TSA.|
|Transportation Security Administration||2. To address attrition among TSES staff and improve management of TSES resources, the TSA Administrator should require that TSA officials involved in the staffing process for TSES staff fully document how they applied each of the merit staffing principles required by TSA when evaluating, qualifying, and selecting individuals to fill career TSES positions.|