Transportation Security Overview | Homeland Security

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was created in the wake of 9/11 to strengthen the security of the nation’s transportation systems while ensuring the freedom of movement for people and commerce. Within a year, TSA assumed responsibility for security at the nation’s airports and deployed a federal workforce to screen all commercial airline passengers and baggage.

TSA now vets 100 percent of all passengers into, out of, and within the United States through TSA’s Secure Flight program. We use the latest technology to stay ahead of evolving threats, and continuing our efforts to screen 100 percent of cargo, regardless of where or how it is moving.

Improving Security Through Layered, Risk Based Approach

TSA employs a layered, risk-based approach to secure U.S. transportation systems, working closely with stakeholders in aviation, rail, transit, highway, and pipeline sectors, as well as the partners in the law enforcement and intelligence community. The agency continuously sets the standard for excellence in transportation security through its people, processes, technologies and use of intelligence to drive operations.

We use layers of security to ensure the security of the traveling public and the Nation’s transportation system. Because of their visibility to the public, we are most associated with the airport checkpoints that our Transportation Security Officers operate.

These checkpoints, however, constitute only one security layer of the many in place to protect aviation. More security measures both visible and invisible to the public include:

  • Intelligence gathering and analysis
  • Checking passenger manifests against watch lists
  • Random canine team searches at airports
  • Federal air marshals
  • Federal flight deck officers

Expediting Travel While Enhancing Security

TSA is committed to evolving its systems to enhance the safety of the traveling public as well as individual passenger experiences whenever possible. Our new risk-based, intelligence-driven approach to aviation security is evolving from what may have seemed like a one-size-fits-all approach and is establishing TSA as a high performing counterterrorism agency.

We are now focusing our resources on those we know least about, and using intelligence in better ways to inform the screening process. This risk-mitigation strategy makes both good business and security sense.

TSA Pre✓™  is a new initiative based on this risk-based, intelligence-driven approach. TSA is working to enhance security and expedite the screening process for travelers we know and trust who are willing to voluntarily share information with TSA before they travel. When travelers opt into this program, they will qualify for expedited checkpoint screening at airports, significantly decreasing waiting time.

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