Publications / Conference Poster

A quantitative methodology for identifying attributes which contribute to performance for officers at the transportation security administration

Avina, Glory E.; Kittinger, Robert; Speed, Ann S.

Performance at Transportation Security Administration (TSA) airport checkpoints must be consistently high to skillfully mitigate national security threats and incidents. To accomplish this, Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) must exceptionally perform in threat detection, interaction with passengers, and efficiency. It is difficult to measure the human attributes that contribute to high performing TSOs because cognitive ability such as memory, personality, and competence are inherently latent variables. Cognitive scientists at Sandia National Laboratories have developed a methodology that links TSOs’ cognitive ability to their performance. This paper discusses how the methodology was developed using a strict quantitative process, the strengths and weaknesses, as well as how this could be generalized to other non-TSA contexts. The scope of this project is to identify attributes that distinguished high and low TSO performance for the duties at the checkpoint that involved direct interaction with people going through the checkpoint.