Who We Are
The Transportation Security
Administration (TSA) was created in the wake of 9/11 to
strengthen the security
of the nation’s transportation systems while ensuring the
freedom of movement for people and commerce.
Within a year, TSA assumed responsibility for security at the
nation’s airports and deployed a Federal workforce
to meet Congressional deadlines for screening all commercial
airline passengers and baggage. In March 2003,
TSA transferred from the Department of Transportation to the
Department of Homeland Security.
TSA employs a risk-based strategy to secure U.S. transportation
systems, working closely with stakeholders in
aviation, rail, transit, highway, and pipeline sectors, as well
as the partners in the law enforcement and
The agency will continuously set the standard for excellence in
transportation security through its people,
processes, technologies and use of intelligence to drive
Mission, Vision, and Core Values
The Transportation Security Administration protects the
Nation’s transportation systems to ensure freedom
of movement for people and commerce.
The Transportation Security Administration will continuously
set the standard for excellence in transportation
security through its people, processes, and technology.
To enhance mission performance and achieve our shared goals,
we are committed to promoting a culture
founded on these values:
We are a people of integrity who respect and care for others
and protect the information we handle.
We are a people who conduct ourselves in an honest, trustworthy
and ethical manner at all times.
We are a people who gain strength from the diversity in our
We are a people who embrace and stand ready for change.
We are a people who are courageous and willing to take on new
We are a people with an enterprising spirit, striving for
innovations who accept the risk-taking that comes with it.
We are a people who are open, respectful and dedicated to
making others better.
We are a people who have a passion for challenge, success and
being on a winning team.
We are a people who will build teams around our strengths.
What is today’s Federal Air Marshal Service? Simply put, it
is a highly trained, professional federal law
enforcement agency charged with securing America’s civil
aviation system from both criminal and terrorist acts.
The story of today’s Federal Air Marshal Service began long
before the tragic events of September 11, 2001.
In the late 1960s, a rash of hijackings of U.S. flagged
commercial air carriers necessitated the creation of a
program aimed at halting the increasing threat to passenger
safety. In an agreement signed in October 1970
between the Departments of the Treasury and Transportation, the
U.S. Customs Service was given the
responsibility to establish an enforcement program aimed at
eliminating this threat.
The result was the creation of the Customs Air Security Officers
Program, more familiarly known as the
“Sky Marshal Program.” Starting in late 1970, 1,784 men and
women completed intense, rigorous training at
the U.S. Army’s Fort Belvoir in Virginia.
Placed on American aircraft dressed as typical passengers, the
Customs Air Security Officers were flying armed
and ready to thwart an attempted hijacking at a moments notice.
This very successful program ceased operations
in June 1974 when x-ray screening equipment was introduced in
the nation’s airports.
In response to the hijacking of TWA Flight 847 in 1985,
President Ronald Reagan directed the Secretary of
Transportation, in cooperation with the Secretary of State, to
explore expansion of the armed Sky Marshal
program aboard international flights for U.S. air carriers.
Congress responded by passing the International
Security and Development Cooperation Act (Public Law 99-83),
which provided the statutes that supported
the Federal Air Marshal Service.
On September 11, 2001, the Air Marshal Program consisted of less
than fifty armed marshals who, by statute,
flew only on international flights flown by U.S. air carriers.
The tragic events which unfolded that day demonstrated the need
for an expanded law enforcement presence
on board American carriers on both foreign and domestic flights.
As a result of the attacks, President George W. Bush ordered the
rapid expansion of the Federal Air Marshal
Service. Over 200,000 applications were initially received, from
which several thousand qualified Federal Air
Marshals were selected.
Those who were hired came from a diverse background of
experience including other federal, state, and local
law enforcement agencies and the military.
Today, Federal Air Marshals serve as the primary law enforcement
entity within the Transportation Security
Administration and are deployed on flights around the world and
in the United States. While their primary
mission of protecting air passengers and crew has not changed
much over the years, Federal Air Marshals
have an ever expanding role in homeland security and work
closely with other law enforcement agencies to
accomplish their mission. Currently, air marshals staff several
positions at different organizations such as the
National Counterterrorism Center, the National Targeting Center,
and on the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Forces.
In addition, they are also distributed among other law
enforcement and homeland security liaison assignments
during times of heightened alert or special national events.
The men and women who make up the Federal Air Marshal Service
are dedicated, well trained law enforcement
professionals, each equipped with the knowledge, skills, and
abilities necessary keep our aviation system safe