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DHS Did Not Effectively Oversee TSA’s Acquisition of Computed Tomography Systems, Says OIG

TSA risks spending over $700 million in future appropriated funding to purchase CT systems that may never fully meet operational mission needs.

TSA acquired CT systems that did not address all needed capabilities. According to TSA’s 2018 Operational Requirements Document, to achieve its mission successfully, its CT systems must be able to meet throughput, detection, availability, and safety requirements. However, the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General determined TSA deployed 300 CT systems to airport passenger screening checkpoints that did not meet throughput requirements and, although CT systems provided enhanced detection, they required an upgrade almost immediately after purchase to address operational needs.

These issues occurred because the Department of Homeland Security did not provide adequate oversight of TSA’s acquisition of CT systems. DHS is responsible for overseeing all major acquisitions to ensure they are properly planned and executed and meet documented key performance thresholds. However, DHS allowed TSA to use an acquisition approach not recognized by DHS’ acquisition guidance. In addition, DHS allowed TSA to deploy CT systems even though they did not meet all TSA key performance parameters. DHS also did not assess TSA’s detection upgrade before TSA incorporated it into the CT system. As a result, TSA risks spending over $700 million in future appropriated funding to purchase CT systems that may never fully meet operational mission needs.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) plans to spend over $1.2 billion to procure and maintain computed tomography (CT) systems at passenger screening checkpoints. Given the security mission and significant investment, OIG conducted this audit to determine to what extent TSA’s acquisition of CT systems addresses needed capabilities.

OIG made three recommendations to improve the Department’s oversight of TSA’s Checkpoint Property Screening System program. DHS concurred with all three recommendations.

Read the OIG report

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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