Are you smart?  Smarter than whoever designed the current TSA process?

But seriously folks.  The TSA recently just got a whole lot richer and apparently wants to slang some of that money around.

Hat tip to my buddy Mick for making me aware of a crowdsourced initiative that the TSA is sponsoring.

The link for the challenge is here.

Basically, the TSA will pay someone up to $15,000 for an idea on how to manage the queuing in light of more and more passengers signing up and/or qualifying for the TSA Pre✓ program (and by “qualifying” I mean “paying the application fee”).

It’s pretty smart on the part of the TSA actually.  They have to know their system is inefficient at best and ineffective at worst.  What better way to source hundreds of ideas than by dangling at $15000 carrot at the end of a stick?  Getting McKinsey & Company to examine the process would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, so I applaud them for trying to be cost-conscious about it.

From their link, they describe the program as follows:

TSA Pre✓™ is an expedited screening program that allows low-risk travelers to experience expedited, more efficient security screening.

Tell you what, I’ll give the TSA an idea for free (and/or $15000).

Get rid of the TSA Pre✓ program and make it standard airline security for everyone.  We all keep our shoes on, laptops can stay in the bag, 3-1-1 liquids are ok in the bag.  Randomize more thorough security checks, but the more thorough screenings should be the exception, not the rule.  If someone is deemed a “high-risk” passenger (and after they’ve had a chance to defend themselves against that determination in a court of law), they should be screened more thoroughly every time (although prevailing logic would ask “why are they allowed to fly in the first place?”).  The most effective and preventative thing to protect airplanes and their passengers in the post-9/11 world has already been done: airline cockpit doors are now bulletproof and lock from the inside.  Almost everything else is redundant.

(or just hire Disney to do it)

In defense of the TSA
I never thought the above would be a subheader in any of my blog posts, but it’s a crazy world we’re in.  The TSA is, I posit, a victim of airlines charging baggage fees.  People want to get around paying baggage fees so they carry on more and more items, which makes it harder and harder for the TSA to move people through the security screening process quickly.

I’ve long held the opinion that although TSA officers are well-meaning people and are just trying to do their job, the organization, as a whole, is nothing more than reactive security theater.

Let me know if you enter the competition, and share your ideas on how to fix the TSA below!


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