Government executives discuss approaches to travel.

Author:Marconi, James M.

Innovations in travel--and how to integrate them with government requirements--marked an overarching theme during GovTravels 2017. Developing technologies and practices have laid the groundwork for trends and opportunities in travel. Managing these new trends represents a challenge for top decision makers administering the needs of both travelers within the United States and US government travelers themselves.

On March 1, GovTravels' final day, several of those government executives provided key insights into the evolution of government programs and approaches to travel.


Gary Rasicot, the Acting Deputy Administrator of TSA, painted a picture of the agency's commitment to serve the public and help them get safely from point A to point B.

"Security is our middle name, literally. That's what we do. That's our primary focus. And we do that through 60,000 of the most dedicated Americans you will ever see," said Rasicot. "It's a challenging job. It really is. Because every day we balance security with the facilitation of lawful commerce." To that end, TSA is examining the viability of multiple technologies to improve efficiency and security. These include the addition of 33 automated screening lanes--which better manage the flow of bins at security checkpoints and let transportation security officers focus on their jobs--at four airports, including Chicago O'Hare. TSA is also developing computed tomography technology for screening security checkpoints, not just at checked baggage, meaning that travelers might eventually be able to leave laptops and liquids in their carry-ons. While there are numerous technological and privacy hurdles, TSA is also investigating the use of biometric data to verify passengers' identities.

"We stood up this innovation task force, looking at specific technologies and processes and doctrine changes that could make both the security mission better, but also the passenger experience," said Steve Karoly, TSA Acting Assistant Administrator, Office of Requirements & Capabilities Analysis.

Rasicot also mentioned another conceptual idea, the Airport Operations Center, where key decision makers are brought together in a...

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