This week, we held our semiannual ACI-NA Security Conference. We hold the fall conference in Washington to better enable officials from TSA and key staff from Capitol Hill to join us (our other meeting is normally held in another part of the country). The room was filled with attendees, incredible in these tough economic times; testimony to how important security remains as an issue in the airport community.
We were very pleased to have several TSA officials in attendance, and the conference gave them a good chance to talk to senior airport security officials, not just from the podium but in the hallway. We also had a number of companies in attendance, many of which helped sponsor the event. Sponsors were able to set up table top displays to show off their technologies, which is always a popular feature of the meeting.
One issue that was raised at this meeting and has been the subject of private conversations as well is the issue of transition. We will have a new administration regardless of the election result (even if the Republican wins; the most difficult transition I’ve seen in 29 years in Washington was the Reagan-Bush transition after the 1988 election). The Department of Homeland Security has never been through a transition, nor has TSA.
I am pleased to report that TSA has personnel and processes in place to ensure a smooth transition, even during that awkward time when the previous people have left and the new appointees have yet to be confirmed. The early years of any new administration are often times when people who wish us ill try to take advantage of transitions, so I am particularly pleased that TSA seems well prepared for the next few months.
Obviously, a President Obama or a President McCain will put his own stamp on these agencies and there will be some new people. But it is good to know, from an organizational perspective, the transition should be seamless.