Airport Security Should Be Privatized In the United States
In the last couple of years, there have been a lot of efforts towards the privatization of federal institutes in the American nation. As the federal government grows day by day, so does the size of its budget; as a matter of fact, the federal government in the US has been spending millions of dollars annually on institutes or projects that do not bear the expected fruits. According to Light (2005, paragraph 3) many American public ventures have become complacent; this has caused a deficit in the government’s expenditure which might lead to an economic crisis if nothing is urgently done to counter the situation. Unless the government comes up with effective strategies to cut down on its budget, the average American citizen may find themselves overtaxed and headed towards financial doom. It is probably due to this that many public enterprises in America have undergone privatization. The purpose of this essay is to emphasize and elucidate with viable depictions the reason why airport security in America should be privatized and the benefits that the process would have for the nation and citizens of America.
The US General Accounting Office (1996, p. 2) define privatization as the process in which the roles and duties of a government are passed on, wholly or partially, to firms in the private arena. According to Robert et al (2012, p.1) the issue of airport privatization is not a new one. Many airports in the modern day are either fully or partially privatized, with the local federal governments holding a greater number of shares. In the United States of America, as stated by Robert et al (2012, p.4) the centralized Airport Improvement Program has been responsible for a number of directives that have occurred in US airports. The US General Accounting Office (1996, p. 2) further asserts that in order for any public airport among the approximately 565 American commercial airports to be privatized, there needs to be a collaborative effort between the American federal, state as well as local political administrations. According to Light (2005, paragraph 1) the Aviation and Transport Security Administration was established for the purpose of offering security to the national airports as well as all the other modes of transportation in the United States of America. This entity was aimed at the federalization of airport security.
Nevertheless, as purported by Robert et al (2012, p.11), if any of the happenings that have been taking place in the US are anything to go by, this body has not satisfactorily met its mandate of proving the US airports with tight security. A most commonly cited example is the September 11th in the year 2001. In addition to this insufficiency, the officers at TSA have also failed to come up with effective technology to sense weapons such as knives and guns as well as explosives (Light, 2005, paragraph 2). After the George Bush government realized that the TSA administration was failing at its duties despite huge chunks of the federal government resources being allocated to it, the government appreciated the fact that it was time to allow private investors to take over the management of the airport security in America.
According to The US General Accounting Office (1996, p. 44) there are several factors that have a propensity to affect the benefits that a privatization of the American airport security would have on the federal government as well as the American citizens. One such factor is the manner in which the privatization is conducted, the different sizes of the airports affected and the features that are unique to each American airport as well the amount of income generated by the relevant American airports. One of the major advantages of the privatization of airport security in the United States of America is the fact that in the event that private firms do not perform their duties satisfactorily, their contracts can be cancelled and awarded to other competent firms. In addition to this, the privatization of airline security will be affected by whether or not the subsidies and grants that are currently awarded to the public airport security administrations will be extended to the private investors who take over the enterprises.
As a consequence of the failings of TSA, Robert et al (2012, p.16) assert that there has been a lot of pressure being placed on the US government to commercialize or privatize the security of American airports. This has however not occurred. Nevertheless, in the year 2000 the American parliamentary body passed that all the functions of the airport security related to the Federal Aviation Association be combined and administered by the Air Traffic Organization. On the other hand, Light (2005, paragraph 6) argues that the incompetence that has been experienced by the administration of airport security in the US cannot be wholly blamed on the airport officials. In the year 2003, the House of republicans is alleged to have perpetrated a process that resulted in the reduction of airport screeners to forty five thousand. This process diverted the attention of the airport security administration from pertinent issues like safeguarding the well being of Americans and their nation; more over the decrease in funds meant that the airport security management had to use resources meant for updating security technology and conducting research on security issues at the airport in the hiring of causal security officers.
The US General Accounting Office (1996, p. 2) asserts that there are a variety of reasons why the airport security in the United States should be shifted from federalization to privatization. Firstly, despite the fact that most of the commercial airports in America are owned by the government ant that the process of leasing or sale of such airports has rarely happened, members from private firms are very significant in the economic support and commercial activities that occur in these airports. As a matter of fact, more than three quarters of the airline sector human resource in America’s largest airports are from private firms. In addition to this, The US General Accounting Office (1996, p. 2) states that the privatization process, if conducted on American airport security, will be very instrumental in providing the federal government with the much needed monetary resources to be invested in national development of other sectors. In addition to this, the US General Accounting Office (1996, p. 5) assert that the airport security in the US should be privatized due to the fact that most American airports depend on private firms for financial sustenance. More over many people in the US are convinced that the private sector is better placed to manage the airport security more effectively than the federal government has done over the years; this will lead to greater profits and a general financial enhancement of the American nation. The America citizens will also escape the possibility of being overtaxed to cater for public demands (US General Accounting Office, 1996, p. 6).
In conclusion, despite all the benefits that would accompany a process of privatization of American airport security, The US General Accounting Office (1996, p. 3) asserts that there are several financial and law related frontiers that hinder the occurrence of such a process. According to Robert et al (2012, p.16), despite the fact that the Federal Aviation Association has been supportive of the privatization of airports to some extent, it has categorically been opposed to the chartering or trading of an American public airport to private investors. The main reason for this, as The US General Accounting Office (1996, p. 3) depicts clearly is that if private investors take up the management and security of American public airlines, the federal government will no longer be able to monitor how the revenue accumulated from such airports is utilized. It is due to this frontier that in 1996 the 9th of October, the federal Aviation reauthorization Act was endorsed by the American parliamentary body to allow the top official in the Transportation ministry to set free at most five airports from the law related frontiers that prevent their being leased or sold.
Paul Light: ‘Still Searching for Airport Security’ Washington Post, April 24 (2005) p. B2
Robert W. Poole, Leonard Gilroy and Harris Kenny: ‘Annual Privatization Report 2011: Air
Transportation’ Reason Foundation (2012) pages 1-16
The US General Accounting Office: ‘Airport Privatization: Issues Related to the Sale or Lease of
US Commercial Airports’ (1996) Pages 2-44