Chairman John L. Mica wrote to the nation's approximately 200 busiest airports on March 13, 2012, informing them of their right to opt out of all-federal passenger security screening and choose the security model in which qualified private screeners operate under Transportation Security Administration (TSA) standards and oversight.
This private-federal program, known as the Screening Partnership Program (SPP) was established when TSA was created in 2001. However, TSA recently attempted to shut down this effective, efficient and cost-saving program. An important provision included in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (H.R. 658), a bill Chairman Mica introduced in the House and which was signed into law in February 2012, restarts the SPP program and ensures airports continue to be able to opt out, as Congress intended.
The SPP program allows TSA to function more appropriately in setting security standards, providing oversight, and analyzing intelligence, rather than focusing on maintaining a massive bureaucracy. Since the creation of TSA, it has ballooned into a workforce of over 65,000, and significant reforms are necessary to in order to improve the agency's performance.