Bad Timing On New TSA Uniforms

TSO at BWI Airport.  Photo by Benet J. Wilson

Back in September 2008, I did a blog post for Aviation Week on how the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) had unveiled new uniforms for its screener workforce.   At the time, the reason given for the change was to allow screeners to look more professional and allow a continued transition to a federalized air security operation.

So skip 13 years, to yesterday.  Our friends on the Politico Transportation team ran with a story that found the agency in a bit of hot water on Capitol Hill.  TSA decided to sign a $50 million contract for new uniforms mere hours before the sequestration cuts went into effect.  The agency defended the move, saying the old contract was expiring.

I’m all for folks having updated uniforms.  My issue is with the timing of the announcement.  The signing of the uniform contract came at the same time Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was making the news rounds warning travelers that thanks to sequestration, lines at TSA security checkpoints were going to be longer.

It just seems to be a bad PR move to spend $50 million (a small amount in the general scheme of things) on clothes when passengers are facing more hassles in their travels. There has to be a better way, kids!

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