Skip to content
 
If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(Forbes)   Private security contractors process 65% more passengers, three times better at finding contraband than TSA, cost less - "federalize/professionalize," indeed   (forbes.com) divider line
    More: Ironic, security contractors, TSA  
•       •       •

6728 clicks; posted to Main » on 05 Sep 2012 at 11:35 PM (10 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



142 Comments     (+0 »)
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


Oldest | « | 1 | 2 | 3 | » | Newest | Show all

 
2012-09-05 7:12:24 PM  
That is a basic business principle, if you make the rules you can't be the one to implement the rules. Just as the police don't write the traffic laws so they can give you speeding tickets the TSA should not create the rules by which passengers are screened and then implement those rules.

TSA should make the rules and certify the contractors.
 
2012-09-05 7:29:29 PM  
SFO screeners receive the same wages and benefits as those hired and managed by the TSA

the contractor saves money by using part-timers


That didn't take long to find a contradiction.

Robert Poole of Reason Foundation

Reason Foundation? Same one that makes the magazine and derp site we all know and hate?

*Googles*

Well look at that. I'm sure he has no interest in lying and confirming his personal opinions for personal income, since the people who pay his wages won't allow for anything except their version of the facts.
 
2012-09-05 8:30:40 PM  
TSA budget is about 8.2 billion a year and Union bosses will end up making it a Union job esp. with dues not being deducted from government paychecks in some states and membership falling, the roughly 200 million a year in union dues just sitting in airports will be too much to resist and even more pressure will be place on Dems to make it so, instead of allowing private airport screeners even if they do a better job.
 
2012-09-05 8:32:31 PM  

GAT_00: SFO screeners receive the same wages and benefits as those hired and managed by the TSA

the contractor saves money by using part-timers

That didn't take long to find a contradiction.

Robert Poole of Reason Foundation

Reason Foundation? Same one that makes the magazine and derp site we all know and hate?

*Googles*

Well look at that. I'm sure he has no interest in lying and confirming his personal opinions for personal income, since the people who pay his wages won't allow for anything except their version of the facts.


Bush was against Federalizing the screeners, IIRC.
 
2012-09-05 8:35:58 PM  

EvilEgg: Bush was against Federalizing the screeners, IIRC.


I think there's legitimate criticisms against the TSA, but you're not going to find them from libertarian think tanks that have decided the answer before considering the question.
 
2012-09-05 8:42:51 PM  
The astonishing finding: SFO screeners processed 65% more passengers per screener than did their counterparts at LAX.

LAX has 50% more passenger traffic than SFO, why the f*ck would you choose to compare the two?
 
2012-09-05 8:57:44 PM  
also, looking at the actual committee report that the stat comes from, this 65% figure controls for none of the huge differences between SFO and LAX, this is the complete extent of the analysis:

i420.photobucket.comView Full Size


i don't doubt that private contractors would be cheaper, but 65% added efficiency is a f*cking joke.
 
2012-09-05 8:58:01 PM  

thomps: The astonishing finding: SFO screeners processed 65% more passengers per screener than did their counterparts at LAX.

LAX has 50% more passenger traffic than SFO, why the f*ck would you choose to compare the two?


Because it's a "per screener" metric?
 
2012-09-05 9:03:25 PM  

Lsherm: thomps: The astonishing finding: SFO screeners processed 65% more passengers per screener than did their counterparts at LAX.

LAX has 50% more passenger traffic than SFO, why the f*ck would you choose to compare the two?

Because it's a "per screener" metric?


right but the difference in size can account for a huge difference (it takes me much less time to get through security in omaha than it does at o'hare, particularly on a per-screener basis, yet both are TSA-run), not to mention the different mix between domestic and international, infrastructural differences, etc. the simplicity of the calculation is embarrassing.
 
2012-09-05 9:12:34 PM  

Lsherm: thomps: The astonishing finding: SFO screeners processed 65% more passengers per screener than did their counterparts at LAX.

LAX has 50% more passenger traffic than SFO, why the f*ck would you choose to compare the two?

Because it's a "per screener" metric?


There's no way to know what the screeners are doing. Is there any variation in their job duties between the two airports? How about layout of the security area? Knowing how badly the security areas usually are, at least here, is there a more efficient layout at SFO versus LAX? Since rate through the scanners is at least in part based on how quickly people move through the scanners and collect bags, do people through LAX have more bags and thus slow down the conveyors more, or is there less area to collect bags which could slow down transit through the security area? How often do passengers have to go through screening multiple times for setting off a detector? Are the detectors exactly the same so you can actually make a direct comparison, since I'm guessing there is a non-zero time difference depending on which scanner you put someone through?

These are just off the top of my head, and they are basic questions that could easily change the time to go through the line, thus effecting the efficiency of workers. They didn't bother doing any of that kind of basic analysis because that might change the answer from what they wanted. This was the most basic level of analysis that could possibly be done and is the kind of work you expect from a high schooler, not a supposed think tank.
 
2012-09-05 9:16:03 PM  

GAT_00: These are just off the top of my head, and they are basic questions that could easily change the time to go through the line, thus effecting the efficiency of workers. They didn't bother doing any of that kind of basic analysis because that might change the answer from what they wanted. This was the most basic level of analysis that could possibly be done and is the kind of work you expect from a high schooler, not a supposed think tank.


seriously, you have data for 16 contractor airports and over 400 TSA airports over what, like a decade, but instead of doing any kind of analysis around that, they use only 4 aggregated numbers from 2 airports.
 
2012-09-05 9:18:46 PM  

thomps: GAT_00: These are just off the top of my head, and they are basic questions that could easily change the time to go through the line, thus effecting the efficiency of workers. They didn't bother doing any of that kind of basic analysis because that might change the answer from what they wanted. This was the most basic level of analysis that could possibly be done and is the kind of work you expect from a high schooler, not a supposed think tank.

seriously, you have data for 16 contractor airports and over 400 TSA airports over what, like a decade, but instead of doing any kind of analysis around that, they use only 4 aggregated numbers from 2 airports.


Because it gave the answer they wanted. There was never any intent to do an honest analysis here.
 
2012-09-05 9:21:55 PM  

GAT_00: Because it gave the answer they wanted. There was never any intent to do an honest analysis here.


To be fair, is there ever?
 
2012-09-05 9:32:26 PM  
Farkers are actually sticking up for the TSA? Geez you people are devoted to your big government cause.
 
2012-09-05 9:34:25 PM  

feckingmorons: Farkers are actually sticking up for the TSA? Geez you people are devoted to your big government cause.


both GAT and i have said that the TSA has issues, but that efficiency savings number (aka the subject of tfa) is 100% horsesh*t.
 
2012-09-05 9:38:08 PM  

thomps: feckingmorons: Farkers are actually sticking up for the TSA? Geez you people are devoted to your big government cause.

both GAT and i have said that the TSA has issues, but that efficiency savings number (aka the subject of tfa) is 100% horsesh*t.


So show your work.
 
2012-09-05 9:45:30 PM  

feckingmorons: thomps: feckingmorons: Farkers are actually sticking up for the TSA? Geez you people are devoted to your big government cause.

both GAT and i have said that the TSA has issues, but that efficiency savings number (aka the subject of tfa) is 100% horsesh*t.

So show your work.


yeah i'll get right on gathering the data and building a statistical model for you. should only take 15 minutes or so, but until then you can consider yourself the winner of the thread.
 
2012-09-05 9:55:23 PM  
maybe it has something to do with security contractors having standards, also knowing they are not above the law, also knowing they can be fired.
 
2012-09-05 10:07:53 PM  

Dr. Goldshnoz: maybe it has something to do with security contractors having standards, also knowing they are not above the law, also knowing they can be fired.


Oooh, unquantifiable intangibles, the best kind of statistical proof.
 
2012-09-05 10:12:08 PM  

GAT_00: Dr. Goldshnoz: maybe it has something to do with security contractors having standards, also knowing they are not above the law, also knowing they can be fired.

Oooh, unquantifiable intangibles, the best kind of statistical proof.


even better - unquantifiable intangibles used to explain an unsubstantiated and dubious claim!
 
2012-09-05 10:24:48 PM  

GAT_00: There's no way to know what the screeners are doing. Is there any variation in their job duties between the two airports? How about layout of the security area? Knowing how badly the security areas usually are, at least here, is there a more efficient layout at SFO versus LAX? Since rate through the scanners is at least in part based on how quickly people move through the scanners and collect bags, do people through LAX have more bags and thus slow down the conveyors more, or is there less area to collect bags which could slow down transit through the security area? How often do passengers have to go through screening multiple times for setting off a detector? Are the detectors exactly the same so you can actually make a direct comparison, since I'm guessing there is a non-zero time difference depending on which scanner you put someone through?


I agree with you that this study is lacking in evidence, but just wanted to point out that you're hinging too much on the efficiency of the individuals doing the screening. The goal is to evaluate the complete agencies, not just the people in one particular job function. So, things like their choice of hardware, how they delegate tasks to their employees, etc would be perfectly valid reasons to say one company is better than the other.
 
2012-09-05 10:30:56 PM  

thomps: also, looking at the actual committee report that the stat comes from, this 65% figure controls for none of the huge differences between SFO and LAX, this is the complete extent of the analysis:

[i420.photobucket.com image 719x563]

i don't doubt that private contractors would be cheaper, but 65% added efficiency is a f*cking joke.


That little blurb doesn't indicate the contractors are BETTER, only faster. For the record I don't think contracted security personnel itself is the problem. But screening is not an unskilled job, you don't want cut rate contractors. It doesn't matter who's paying them as long as there are quality controls and adequate training.
 
2012-09-05 10:38:36 PM  

serial_crusher: efficiency of the individuals doing the screening.


The entire study is about individual efficiency. What else should I focus on? You can't evaluate the company without evaluating how people work within the company. That's like evaluating crop yields without checking to see if there was a drought. Individual actions matter a lot, as do factors out of the control of the actors.

And to return to a point thomps made and change topics, let's accept the premise for a moment that private contractors are better than government ones. If that's the case, this disparity should be visible at every single airport to one degree or another, right? 16 contractors airports and 400 TSA airports? Why not cite for every year and every airport that the contractors are better? It would only improve your argument, even if the increase was low - any increase in efficiency is an increase in efficiency. Why not give that proof? Or try to devise some kind of metric for persons screened per work hour? That's got to be possible and would be a very persuasive argument.

Yet this so-called think tank did nothing like that. They did the bare minimum possible. To not use that evidence to back up your claim suggests to me that your claim isn't valid, that this study is incredibly cherry picked data to confirm the answer the think tank wanted.
 
NFA
2012-09-05 10:45:50 PM  
The TSA WAS run by contractors. It was a total cluster fark. The companies brought in minimum wage clowns who were sleeping on the job, doing drugs, stealing from passengers and generally not doing anything at resembled security. A person would show up for an interview and literally the next day be screening passengers with no training and being paid less than $10 per hour.

The goal of government contractor is to make as much profit as possible while raping the tax payer and providing as little service as possible. At least with the federal TSA, the workers are paid a living wage and spend that money in their communities.

Attempting to rewrite history won't solve the problem.
 
2012-09-05 10:49:16 PM  
Cherry picked data or not its funny to watch you guys vehemently rush to the defense of the security theater called TSA.
TSA apologists assemble!

/dnrtfa
//tsa IS a theater.
 
2012-09-05 10:53:09 PM  

Dr. Goldshnoz: Cherry picked data or not its funny to watch you guys vehemently rush to the defense of the security theater called TSA.
TSA apologists assemble!

/dnrtfa
//tsa IS a theater.


you're not really picking up on the point here, are you? is privately contracted airport security somehow not theater? maybe you'd be more comfortable in a thread where you could post pictures of empty chairs photoshopped into political situations.
 
2012-09-05 11:16:33 PM  

NFA: The TSA WAS run by contractors. It was a total cluster fark. The companies brought in minimum wage clowns who were sleeping on the job, doing drugs, stealing from passengers and generally not doing anything at resembled security. A person would show up for an interview and literally the next day be screening passengers with no training and being paid less than $10 per hour.

The goal of government contractor is to make as much profit as possible while raping the tax payer and providing as little service as possible. At least with the federal TSA, the workers are paid a living wage and spend that money in their communities.

Attempting to rewrite history won't solve the problem.


I was wondering if anyone else was old enough to remember this. When the government took over screening, it was a HUGE step up in professionalism. The entire commercial flight experience is pretty horrible now, from start to finish, but bringing those people back into the mix really won't help.
 
2012-09-05 11:16:49 PM  

Dr. Goldshnoz: TSA apologists assemble!


If you think that's what I'm doing, you should really re-examine what I've said and find where I have defended the TSA. What I have done is picked apart a critically flawed "study" that people are going to use for massive sweeping arguments that all government is bad and all business is good because this study proves absolutely nothing except the author's preconceptions.
 
2012-09-05 11:21:50 PM  

NFA: The companies brought in minimum wage clowns who were sleeping on the job, doing drugs, stealing from passengers and generally not doing anything at resembled security.


Some things never change.  

blog.brickhousesecurity.comView Full Size
 
2012-09-05 11:38:34 PM  
*scans*


Steve Forbes, Forbes Staff


*closes tab*
 
2012-09-05 11:41:56 PM  
Fact: Airport security was provided by private security companies on September 11th, 2001.
 
2012-09-05 11:42:39 PM  

GAT_00: SFO screeners receive the same wages and benefits as those hired and managed by the TSA

the contractor saves money by using part-timers

That didn't take long to find a contradiction.


You strategically cut off the comment there. "The contractor saves money by using part-timers (all fully trained, of course) to meet peak periods rather than keeping full-timers waiting around for periodic surges." So your implication that the don't use full time workers is likely false.
 
2012-09-05 11:43:33 PM  
You mean a short-sighted policy that was rammed through Washington in the wake of 9/11 is failing miserably 10 years later? Ya don't say...
 
2012-09-05 11:43:43 PM  

NFA: The TSA WAS run by contractors. It was a total cluster fark. The companies brought in minimum wage clowns who were sleeping on the job, doing drugs, stealing from passengers and generally not doing anything at resembled security. A person would show up for an interview and literally the next day be screening passengers with no training and being paid less than $10 per hour.

The goal of government contractor is to make as much profit as possible while raping the tax payer and providing as little service as possible. At least with the federal TSA, the workers are paid a living wage and spend that money in their communities.

Attempting to rewrite history won't solve the problem.


But they were still more successful at catching terrorists than the TSA
 
2012-09-05 11:44:42 PM  

Tema213: GAT_00: SFO screeners receive the same wages and benefits as those hired and managed by the TSA

the contractor saves money by using part-timers

That didn't take long to find a contradiction.


You strategically cut off the comment there. "The contractor saves money by using part-timers (all fully trained, of course) to meet peak periods rather than keeping full-timers waiting around for periodic surges." So your implication that the don't use full time workers is likely false.


If you're part time, you won't be paid the same as a full time TSA rep, and I have trouble believing that someone who is part time gets exactly the same benefits as a full time person. It rarely works that way.
 
2012-09-05 11:45:25 PM  

feckingmorons: Farkers are actually sticking up for the TSA? Geez you people are devoted to your big government cause.


No actually they're rightfully pointing out glaring logical fallacy and bias in the publication.

Personally I believe the TSA is a huge waste of taxpayer money due to a knee-jerk reaction over tightening security post 9/11. But to use false information and confirmation bias to prove that point only diminishes that agenda.
 
2012-09-05 11:45:38 PM  

thomps:

even better - unquantifiable intangibles used to explain an unsubstantiated and dubious claim!


LOL Welcome to Fark LOL
 
2012-09-05 11:47:49 PM  

NFA: The TSA WAS run by contractors. It was a total cluster fark. The companies brought in minimum wage clowns who were sleeping on the job, doing drugs, stealing from passengers and generally not doing anything at resembled security. A person would show up for an interview and literally the next day be screening passengers with no training and being paid less than $10 per hour.

The goal of government contractor is to make as much profit as possible while raping the tax payer and providing as little service as possible. At least with the federal TSA, the workers are paid a living wage and spend that money in their communities.

Attempting to rewrite history won't solve the problem.


You mean like how the TSA behaves now?
 
2012-09-05 11:49:24 PM  

feckingmorons: TSA should make the rules and certify the contractors

cease to exist, and not be replaced.

FTFY
 
2012-09-05 11:50:06 PM  
Listen, just legalize weed and you can feel me up all you want.
 
2012-09-05 11:51:17 PM  

MFAWG: Fact: Airport security was provided by private security companies on September 11th, 2001.


Fact: 9/11 wasn't an airport security failure. It was a procedural failure, predicated on the crew and passengers cooperating with hijackers, getting a free trip to Cuba, and living through the experience.

And their plan only worked for three out of four attempts on 9/11, too.

Another fact: Nothing the TSA does today would have prevented 9/11 then. The only two changes that have made any difference are A) securing the cockpit door, and B) having a plane full of people who aren't just going to sit there and let someone threaten their safety, as demonstrated by the reactions of the crew and passengers for the underwear and shoe bomber attempts.
 
2012-09-05 11:53:33 PM  
If you want to pick at the analysis, you could note they didn't factor in staffing efficiency: by being allowed to use part-time staff, the contractor can use less people at low tide.

/never had much delay at LAX compared to other large airports
//never been to SFO
 
2012-09-05 11:55:10 PM  
The 4th Amendment.
 
2012-09-05 11:56:33 PM  
Cool. So why did Bush federalize them again?
 
2012-09-05 11:57:29 PM  

John Nash: If you want to pick at the analysis, you could note they didn't factor in staffing efficiency: by being allowed to use part-time staff, the contractor can use less people at low tide.

/never had much delay at LAX compared to other large airports
//never been to SFO


they do factor that in by using FTEs which aggregate fractions of part-time staff into full-time equivalents.
 
2012-09-05 11:57:56 PM  

feckingmorons: Farkers are actually sticking up for the TSA? Geez you people are devoted to your big government cause.


I don't see anyone in this thread with unqualified support for the TSA as-is. It's almost like you're incapable of listening. What are the benefits of private screeners? Probably (though not necessarily) cheaper, presumably more flexibility to adjust numbers on the fly to respond to pressures unique to each season and market, more flexibility around hiring and firing. Advantage of employed screeners? Theoretically, the math on the cost side isn't as critical as the service being provided. But if there still isn't incentive to provide that service even with adequate staffing, then that isn't an advantage either.

Presumably, screening policy (regardless of your thoughts on it), wouldn't differ all that much, since that would still be set by the TSA.

There simply isn't a model of any public vs. private version of this (or any service) that yields a 65% productivity improvement, especially when subject to the same policy provisions. That's not a defense of the TSA as-is, it's an indictment of the puerile argument put forth in this article.

There's a real conversation worth having here. This article isn't it.
 
2012-09-05 11:58:52 PM  
Privatization of government services only makes some people rich...it never saves taxpayers money.

People who push Privatization only want to direct those jobs to their buddies and campaign donors

Also, we tried privatization of airport security before...and that resulted in 4 hijacked planes, 2 destroyed 100 story buildings, massive damage to our US military HQs, and over 3000 people dead...on September 11, 2001

The TSA needs to be reduced in size and scope...but privatization only ends us costing the same for even crappier, more abusive, service.

Business Socialism is never the answer
 
2012-09-06 12:01:23 AM  
Let's see, two obvious things.

Mainly:

#1: The meaningful metric, sorry, is not just passengers-per-screener. It's time-per-passenger.

See, the thing is, when you're allowed to screw with your workers by making them take whatever part-time work you'll give them and not guarenteeing them 40 hours a week or a set wage, you can manage to not have more lines open then you need, and less people idle at any given time. Of course, now some people can't be sure they'll be able to pay their rent each month, but hey, progress, right?

And meanwhile, when you're in the airport, what you actually CARE about is how long it takes for you to get through the goddamn line.

#2: The TSA still lacks a meaningful objective. All this has done is replace a pointless public employee with a pointless private one. Just sack 65% of the agency already and make them get rid of the theater crap. Bigger savings, more dignity.
 
2012-09-06 12:03:48 AM  

UCFRoadWarrior: Also, we tried privatization of airport security before...and that resulted in 4 hijacked planes, 2 destroyed 100 story buildings, massive damage to our US military HQs, and over 3000 people dead...on September 11, 2001


Airport security had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11.

Nothing.

The belief that cooperating with hijackers was the best option for surviving the experience was the key factor, not airport security.

Boxcutters and pocketknives were not "prohibited items" at the time, remember?
 
2012-09-06 12:04:38 AM  
Ah, libertarians. I just can't WAIT until i nees to purchase a contract from Lone Star Security in order to get police protection.
 
Displayed 50 of 142 comments


Oldest | « | 1 | 2 | 3 | » | Newest | Show all


View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

This thread is archived, and closed to new comments.

Continue Farking




On Twitter


  1. Links are submitted by members of the Fark community.

  2. When community members submit a link, they also write a custom headline for the story.

  3. Other Farkers comment on the links. This is the number of comments. Click here to read them.

  4. Click here to submit a link.