GAO’s recommendations database contains report recommendations that still need to be addressed. GAO’s priority recommendations are those that we believe warrant priority attention. We sent letters to the heads of key departments and agencies, urging them to continue focusing on these issues. Below you can search only priority recommendations, or search all recommendations.

Our recommendations help congressional and agency leaders prepare for appropriations and oversight activities, as well as help improve government operations. Moreover, when implemented, some of our priority recommendations can save large amounts of money, help Congress make decisions on major issues, and substantially improve or transform major government programs or agencies, among other benefits.

As of April 18, 2018, there are 5,184 open recommendations, of which 465 are priority recommendations. Recommendations remain open until they are designated as Closed-implemented or Closed-not implemented.

Browse or Search Open Recommendations


Have a Question about a Recommendation?

  • For questions about a specific recommendation, contact the person or office listed with the recommendation.
  • For general information about recommendations, contact GAO's Audit Policy and Quality Assurance office at (202) 512-6100 or
« Back to Results List Sort by   


Subject Term: "Aviation security"

1 publication with a total of 1 priority recommendation
Director: Grover, Jennifer A
Phone: (202) 512-7141

1 open priority recommendation
Recommendation: To help ensure that security-related funding is directed to programs that have demonstrated their effectiveness, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the TSA Administrator to limit future funding support for the agency's behavior detection activities until TSA can provide scientifically validated evidence that demonstrates that behavioral indicators can be used to identify passengers who may pose a threat to aviation security.

Agency: Department of Homeland Security
Status: Open
Priority recommendation

Comments: DHS did not concur with this recommendation, but has subsequently taken steps to address it. For example, TSA reduced the number of Behavior Detection Officers (BDO) from 3,131 full-time equivalents (FTE) in fiscal years 2013 through 2015 to 2,600 BDO FTEs in fiscal year 2016 and has reduced funding for its behavior detection activities since 2013. In fiscal year 2017, TSA eliminated the standalone BDO position and began integrating BDOs and behavior detection activities into the standard duties of its transportation security officer (TSO) position. According to TSA, this adjustment resulted in $196 million in funding becoming available to support increased passenger volume at TSA's checkpoints. TSA also revised its list of behavior indicators from 94 to 36. In July 2017, however, GAO found that only 8 of the 36 revised indicators were supported by valid evidence-- which includes original research that meets generally accepted research standards and presents evidence that is applicable in supporting TSA's use of specific behavioral indicators--demonstrating the use of the indicators to identify passengers who pose a threat to aviation security. As a result, GAO reported that TSA should continue to limit funding for behavior detection activities until the agency can provide valid evidence demonstrating that behavioral indicators can be used to identify potentially high-risk passengers. GAO has ongoing work to monitor and review TSA's behavior detection activities.