Following an internal watchdog report last year that questioned the effectiveness of body scanners and how security officers are trained to look for threats at airport passenger checkpoints, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) last week reported that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has improved its officer training but says more can be done to test and evaluate the training.DHS Logo DHS

The report, Aviation Security: TSA Should Ensure Testing Data Are Complete and Fully Used to Improve Screener Training and Operations (GAO-16-704), says that it commends that agency for its recent actions to improve the training of Transportation Security Officers (TSO), including a retraining program to deal with the issues raised by the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General, and an expansion of evaluations of TSO training efforts.

However, the GAO says “the agency could further enhance its testing programs to more accurately gauge the true level of TSO performance and ensure continuing improvement in screening operations.” It says that if TSA enforced a requirement that airports submit results from threat image projections onto X-ray baggage scanners at checkpoints “the agency could use these data on a nationwide level to inform and potentially improve training of TSOs in screening passenger carry-on baggage for prohibited items.”

The report also says TSA should track results of failures uncovered in its covert testing so that recommendations are tracked and implemented.