Beginning in September, TSA will begin a workforce-wide retraining of all personnel associated with a passenger checkpoint, TSA Administrator Kip Hawley said this week.
Speaking July 22 to the Aero Club of Washington, D.C., Hawley said the mandatory retraining is part of the Checkpoint Evolution initiative and will include all personnel from front-line screeners to officials in the administrator's office.
"Make no mistake, this Checkpoint Evolution effort has nothing to do with lights and music," Hawley said. "The point is to give us the best shot at stopping an attack. We have a counterterrorism mission and this is a critical part of that security mission."
Aviation remains at the center of terrorist targeting, Hawley said. "That's why we're doing these security measures. That's why we're doing something better, something different, to upgrade our security at these checkpoints. It is our checkpoint; it's our space; it's your space. We need to use it to go on offense."
TSA has screened 3.5 billion passengers since the start-up of the agency, Hawley said, adding, "That's more than the population of the world. That means that our officers, when they're not focused on the Standard Operating Procedure and they're not going through our checklist, that they're going through information in their own subconscious. This is incredibly valuable information that allows them to pick up on cues if we train them on it and encourage them to use it."
The Checkpoint Evolution training means getting away from the mentality of, "Did I complete the checklist? If I did, I'm done with my job," Hawley said. "We have to do our job of not letting prohibited items through, but my job is not finished until I've stopped an attack."