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Transportation Security Administration

In U.S., the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was created as part of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act, in light of the 9/11 attacks.  TSA was originally organized in the U.S. Department of Transportation and was moved to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2003.  TSA protects the nation’s transportation systems to ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce.

Pursuant to 49 USCS § 114, TSA shall be an administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation.  The head of TSA is the under secretary of transportation for security.  The under secretary shall be appointed by the President, with the advice and consent of the senate.  The term of office of the under secretary shall be 5 years.

The qualifications of the under secretary are:

  • s/he must be a citizen of U.S.; and
  • s/he must have experience in a field directly related to transportation or security.


The under secretary shall be responsible for:

  • ensuring security in all modes of transportation;
  • screening of day-to-day federal security operations for passenger air transportation and intrastate air transportation;
  • developing standards for the hiring and retention of security screening personnel;
  • training and testing security screening personnel;
  • hiring and training personnel, in consultation with the secretary of transportation and the heads of other appropriate federal agencies and departments, to provide security screening at all airports in the U.S. where screening is required;
  • receiving, assessing, and distributing intelligence information related to transportation security;
  • assessing threats to transportation;
  • developing policies, strategies, and plans for dealing with threats to transportation security;
  • making other plans related to transportation security, including coordinating countermeasures with appropriate departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the U.S. government;
  • serving as the primary liaison for transportation security to the intelligence and law enforcement communities;
  • managing and providing operational guidance to the field security resources of TSA, including federal security managers on a day-to-day basis;
  • enforcing security-related regulations and requirements;
  • identifying and undertaking research and development activities necessary to enhance transportation security;
  • inspecting, maintaining, and testing security facilities, equipment, and systems;
  • ensuring the adequacy of security measures for the transportation of cargo;
  • overseeing the implementation and ensuring the adequacy of security measures at airports and other transportation facilities;
  • requiring background checks for airport security screening personnel, individuals with access to secure areas of airports, and other transportation security personnel;
  • working in conjunction with the administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration with respect to any actions or activities that may affect aviation safety or air carrier operations;
  • working with the International Civil Aviation Organization and appropriate aeronautic authorities of foreign governments to address security concerns on passenger flights by foreign air carriers in foreign air transportation; and
  • carrying out such other duties and exercise such other powers relating to transportation security as the under secretary considers appropriate, to the extent authorized by law.


Further, in case of a national emergency, the under secretary will have the following additional responsibilities:

  • to coordinate domestic transportation, including aviation, rail, maritime, and other surface transportation;
  • to coordinate and oversee the transportation-related responsibilities of other departments and agencies of the federal government other than the Department of Defense and the military departments; and
  • to coordinate and provide notice to other departments and agencies of the federal government and appropriate agencies of state and local governments, including departments and agencies for transportation, law enforcement, and border control, about threats to transportation.

Inside Transportation Security Administration