TSA Tries to Fix Systemic Problems at Newark

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If you're a TSA-watcher, then the agency's problems at Newark Liberty International Airport need no introduction.

But just in case, recall the security breach days after the underwear bombing attempt, the security checkpoint robbery scheme operated by a TSA supervisor, the knife in the carry-on bag ... you get the idea.

Well, enough is apparently enough.

According to the Star-Ledger, Newark's TSA managers acknowledged that this series of gaffes have "produced a lack of faith in our ability to provide world class security." The TSA recently held two meetings on the topic of Newark's poor record of late, and produced a document containing a long list of recommendations for improving performance.

According to the Ledger, "Managers urged a revamping of scheduling practices to allow more time to conduct training; scheduling eight hours of training per month for each employee, including nights and weekends; followup observations to ensure retention of skills learned during training; and the assignment of trainers to specific checkpoints and other locations to coordinate training and remediation with employees’ supervisors."

The recommendations also included a standardized penalty system and a more centralized disciplinary process.

The document attributed Newark's problems to "understaffing, complacency and lack of focus, lack of direction and guidance, insufficient flow of communications, poor physical design of checkpoints, lack of sufficient down time to conduct training, lack of prioritization skills," among other factors.

Of course, identifying and acknowledging problems by no means guarantees they'll be fixed. According to the Ledger, "Some TSA supervisors who attended the meeting, but requested anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly, said they are skeptical that real changes will be implemented."

Passengers, too, should be forgiven for being skeptical, though closing up glaring security holes should be a top priority for the agency. We'll just have to see what happens.

Readers, what do you make of the seemingly systemic issues at Newark? Any hope that the TSA can clean up its act?

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