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

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

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 an 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.

  • Aviation Security

    The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is working to raise the baseline for aviation security across the globe by implementing enhanced security measures, both seen and unseen, at all last-point-of-departure airports in 105 countries around world. These measures will be implemented in phases, in coordination with our international partners.

  • Cargo Screening

    Securing the global supply chain, while ensuring its smooth functioning, is essential to our national security and economic prosperity.

  • Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (DHS TRIP)

    The Department of Homeland Security Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (DHS TRIP) is a single point of contact for individuals who have inquiries or seek resolution regarding difficulties they experienced during their travel screening at transportation hubs—like airports—or crossing U.S. borders.

  • Trusted Traveler Programs

    DHS provides the only official US Government Trusted Traveler programs for travelers, customized to fit a variety of travel needs. Trusted Traveler programs allow members to use expedited lanes when crossing international borders, and at the airport.

  • Visa Waiver Program

    The Visa Waiver Program permits citizens of participating countries to travel to the United States for business or tourism for stays of up to 90 days without a visa.

  • Maritime Security

    The U.S. Coast Guard protects against potentially dangerous cargo. The Maritime Information Exchange makes Coast Guard maritime information available to the public.

Last Updated: 12/14/2022