Another Contest: Fixing Airport Security
Slate is hosting an airport security suggestions contest: ideas “for making airport security more effective, more efficient, or more pleasant.” Deadline is midday Friday.
I had already submitted a suggestion before I was asked to be a judge. Since I’m no longer eligible, here’s what I sent them:
Reduce the TSA’s budget, and spend the money on:
1. Intelligence. Security measures that focus on specific tactics or targets are a waste of money unless we guess the next attack correctly. Security measures that just force the terrorists to make a minor change in their tactics or targets is not money well spent.
2. Investigation. Since the terrorists deliberately choose plots that we’re not looking for, the best security is to stop plots before they get to the airport. Remember the arrest of the London liquid bombers.
3. Emergency response. Terrorism’s harm depends more on our reactions to attacks than the attacks themselves. We’re naturally resilient, but how we respond in those first hours and days is critical.
And as an added bonus, all of these measures protect us against non-airplane terrorism as well. All we have to do is stop focusing on specific movie plots, and start thinking about the overall threat.
Probably not what they were looking for, and certainly not anything the government is even going to remotely consider—but the smart solution all the same.