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Fifteen years later, how is aviation security faring?

Mark Garrison Sep 26, 2016
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Passengers line up outside a Transportation Security Administration checkpoint at Ronald Reagan National Airport in Arlington, VA.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

On Sept. 27, 2001, President George W. Bush rolled out new airline security measures in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Not long after, the Transportation Security Administration was born. Fifteen years later, the TSA’s budget for the 2016 fiscal year is $7.44 billion.

There hasn’t been a successful attack on America’s aviation system in that time. But that speaks to the tricky thing about measuring the impact of counterterror strategy. If attacks don’t succeed, security officials never really know if they spent the right amount or too much. They may have just caught a few lucky breaks.

Air travel security is also a moving target that requires new technology and tactics to keep up with changing threats. At the same time, because its blue-shirted workers deal directly with the public, the TSA also has to consider passenger convenience and privacy.

If you’re a member of your local public radio station, we thank you — because your support helps those stations keep programs like Marketplace on the air.  But for Marketplace to continue to grow, we need additional investment from those who care most about what we do: superfans like you.

Your donation — as little as $5 — helps us create more content that matters to you and your community, and to reach more people where they are – whether that’s radio, podcasts or online.

When you contribute directly to Marketplace, you become a partner in that mission: someone who understands that when we all get smarter, everybody wins.