The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) awarded 1,039 other transaction agreements (OTAs) from 2012 to 2016 and improved oversight of those agreements over that time, according to a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) review.
OTAs are not subject to federal contract laws. They are designed to be more flexible than other government contracts and grants to help TSA secure the nation’s transportation systems. GAO found that TSA had taken steps to address OTA file documentation and file reporting gaps that were previously identified.
TSA awarded at least $783 million in OTA contracts from 2012 to 2016, mostly to reimburse airports for installing, updating or replacing checked baggage screening systems, GAO found. OTAs were also used for intelligence analysis and to offset costs of explosive detection canines.
In its review of 29 OTAs, GAO found that TSA compared independent government costs and estimates with contractor bids for complex design and construction projects. TSA also independently verified local power authority rates when reimbursing airports for electricity costs to operate screening equipment.
The review found that TSA had taken action to address prior lapses in oversight, and no recommendations for additional steps were made.