Thursday, December 31, 2009
Review of Transportation Security Administration's Expenditure Plan: Explosives Detection Systems and Equipment
We reviewed Transportation Security Administration’s expenditure plan for explosives detection systems and equipment as part of our oversight responsibilities to monitor the department’s use of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) funds. The Recovery Act provided $1 billion to TSA for the procurement and installation of explosives detection systems and equipment. Our objective was to determine whether the expenditure plan was practical, thorough, comprehensive, and designed to meet the Recovery Act’s goals. Further, we evaluated the plan according to prudent management principles, such as whether it contained risk mitigation and management control strategies.
Transportation Security Administration’s expenditure plan to procure and install explosives detection systems and equipment is generally practical, thorough, and comprehensive, except that it does not have contingency plans for equipment that the Transportation Security Laboratory has not yet qualified or operationally tested. Transportation Security Administration did not develop a contingency plan to reallocate the Recovery Act funds if the passenger screening technology it plans to purchase does not pass qualification and operational testing. The unavailability of qualified technology may delay projected contract award dates and the expenditure of the Recovery Act funds. Although Transportation Security Administration’s expenditure plan did not meet the Recovery Act goal of using 50% of the Recovery Act funds for activities that could be initiated by June 17, 2009, Transportation Security Administration expects to fulfill the special contracting provision by using competitive procedures to award fixed-price contracts.
We are not making any recommendations in this report. The Acting Assistant Secretary disagreed with our conclusion that the expenditure plan did not include contingency plans for equipment that had not been qualified or operationally tested. The response also included an update to the agency’s obligation of funds.