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Broadcast Message from TSA Administrator Kip Hawley on the Checkpoint Evolution

Evolution of Security Webcast

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Evolution of Security Webcast.
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Over the last two years, as we have worked to make TSA stronger, much of the effort has been around workforce initiatives like career progression and pay. Today we are announcing supporting initiatives that build on the 'people' foundation -- process improvements and technology enhancements. Putting them all together -- people, process, and technology -- will bring fundamental change to the checkpoint and to your role in security. We call this "Checkpoint Evolution." From talking to TSOs in the field as I travel around the country as well as National Advisory Council members when they're at headquarters, I know this will improve our security effectiveness and be a powerful turbocharger for our talented, experienced people.

The airport environment is our home field; it is our turf where we can set the rules. There is no reason why somebody with hostile intent should get to look around and test our security without the likelihood of getting caught. There is no reason why we have to stand behind the magnetometer and try to catch them only by finding a prohibited item in a two million person haystack that is impatient, noisy and chaotic.

It's time to go on offense.

This is about using the best technology available today to assist us (AT X-ray, Millimeter Wave Portals, and automated bin return systems). It's about updating the intangibles (better lighting, radios to keep our comments secure and lowering the noise level). And most important, it is about you -- giving you the preparation and skills you need to truly take advantage of the learning that you have dealing with passengers and their bags all day, every day.

Training, lots of it, is probably the biggest piece. It will bring together intel, explosives detection, and human factors. It will equip you to be more of a thinking, analytical security professional and less "checklist-oriented." We will take our time to roll the training out right -- it is in excess of eight hours -- but we will complete it everywhere in 2008. The new uniforms and badges will be awarded upon successful completion of the training.

All of the changes won't happen overnight, and they won't roll out at all airports at the same time. Some of the elements are already in some of your airports, like behavior detection, and others, like AT X-ray, will arrive sometime this year. Not all airports will see the physical changes immediately or even down the line, but every airport will have some elements of Checkpoint Evolution – whether it's new training, signage, uniforms or the security environment at the checkpoint. These changes are first and foremost about security, but they will also provide a more efficient and thoughtful security system that takes advantage of our strengths.

We're setting up the full prototype of the new checkpoint at Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI), and training will begin there later this week. Deploying the checkpoint at BWI will give us the opportunity to analyze and assess the new queues, signage, training, technology and other aspects and make sure they're solid before they head to other airports throughout the year.

Instead of just telling you about the changes, I wanted you to be able to see and hear about them. We've created a new Checkpoint Evolution mini-Web site that you can check out at work or at home. Later today, a Web cast for the TSA workforce will be posted on the Intranet and the Evolution site – again so you can view it anywhere - to give you an overview of the initiative, a tour of the newly designed checkpoint and comments from NAC members who got to experience it. This morning, you may also see stories in USA Today or on the NBC Today show about the new changes.

After you've checked out the Web site and the Web cast, and as Checkpoint Evolution continues to roll out throughout the year, be sure to go to the IdeaFactory to provide feedback and provide suggestions.

Your personal support is critical in making this overall effort a success. No matter what your formal rank at TSA is, or where you work, you can step up and help just by looking at what we have on the website for employees -- and bring it alive in your job. There will likely be increased media focus on us because of the changes – before we can roll out the training nationwide – so if you embrace this new approach right away, it will help get public support on our side and that will generate even more momentum.

Checkpoint Evolution has taken time to put together, and it will be an exciting time for TSA. This effort and our recent workforce initiatives to improve TSA as a place to work are totally connected because we rely on our people -- their skills and intensity -- to achieve our mission. Since machines have limits and we can only use what is available today, those on the front lines make the difference between success and failure.

Now is the time to shut down those who would do harm and get the public back on our side and involved in the process. This is about leadership and attitude. I am grateful to everyone at TSA for putting forth the personal effort to allow us to meet our mission in these very demanding times. It is a hard job and you are the best in the world.

Thank you for your commitment to TSA's mission and to each other.