Not Looking For The Best Value: The Quota World Of The TSA Bureaucracy

The TSA wants training for their “Inter-Modal Security and Training Exercise Program (I-Step).” I’m not sure what that all means, but I would expect the agency to put out a request for bids from all possible reputable security companies and award the contract to the lowest bidder.


Despite the threats of sequestration and the need to control the budget, the TSA does not want all companies to apply. Some of them (many?) have been already disqualified from bidding.

The TSA is looking exclusively for EDWOSBs. Yes, that is a real acronym.

This contract is reserved for Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Businesses. That means the company is fifty-one percent or more owned “directly and unconditionally” by a woman or women who are US citizens. These women must earn less than 350 thousand dollars and have a net worth of less than 750 thousand dollars.

Yes, when it comes to national security, finding the best and most qualified contractors takes a back seat to affirmative action for “rich, but not as rich as some men” women.

Contracting offices are required to set quotas for hiring EDWOSBs by the Small Business Act, which was enacted in January. According to the law, women are “subjected to discrimination in entrepreneurial endeavors due to their gender” and it is “in the national interest” to “remove discriminatory barriers.”

The act sets government-wide goals that at least 23 percent of all contracts must be awarded to businesses owned by service-disabled veterans, “socially and economically disadvantaged individuals,” and women.

Notice that the government, in order to institute its brand of “social” justice is degrading the security of travelers (if we pretend for the moment that the TSA has anything to do with actually keeping anyone safe) and wasting money. By definition, the only way to hope to get the best quality for the lowest price is to allow as wide a pool of qualified candidates as possible. More bidders mean better odds of finding the best possible service for best possible value.

It is hard not to suspect that everyone in government knows that the TSA is nothing more than Security Theater. Its real reason for existing is to provide free money for politicians to make friends with.