DHS Wants A.I. to Help It Recruit, Retain TSA Agents

The Transportation Security Administration is conducting market research on ways to use artificial intelligence, automation, and cloud-based software to help it recruit and develop its workforce, according to a request for information posted on June 15.

The TSA — a division of the Department of Homeland Security tasked with safeguarding U.S. commercial air travel, seaports, railroads, and mass transit — is preparing an acquisition to modernize its human capital management systems for its 67,000 employees. The scope covers recruitment, applicant assessment and hiring, orientation, onboarding, employee benefits, payroll, retirement planning, performance management, background checks, and separation, according to a draft statement of work (SOW).

The RFI directs interested parties to submit a one-page cover letter, a five-page statement of capabilities, and a 25-page response to the questions enclosed in the RFI. The deadline for submitting responses is June 29.

Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg
TSA screeners

The acquisition could consolidate and replace three incumbent IT and professional services contracts that have generated a combined $388 million in obligations, according to the RFI:

  • Recruitment & Hiring – A contract with Accenture PLC to manage job fairs, advertising, marketing and other services that has generated $250 million since September 2016.
  • Personnel, Payroll and Benefits – A contract with Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd. for payroll processing, benefits planning and processing, and other personnel-related services, which as generated $107 million since March 2017.
  • TSA Assessment Platform – A contract with PSI Services to design a common system for developing, administering, and analyzing assessments for candidate selection and promotion, which has generated $31 million since January 2016.

TSA human resources officials envision augmenting these capabilities with the ability to use A.I. and machine learning to identify and reward high-performing candidates and employees. At the same time, robotic process automation could help to streamline processing and give employees the ability to manage their pay and benefits via a self-service portal.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the “new normal of social distancing” in public and in the workplace, the ability to hire, interview, onboard, and train remotely via teleconferencing will be essential to the TSA’s mission, according to the RFI.

The TSA’s human capital modernization program would dovetail with ongoing efforts to implement a secure, hybrid-cloud environment. The new environment will rely on software-as-a-service supplied by Salesforce.com Inc. and ServiceNow Inc. to support TSA’s core human capital functions and integrate with DHS’s National Finance Center and the Office of Personnel Management, according to the RFI.

This RFI also replaces a prior solicitation for human capital services that was released in December 2019.

To contact the analyst on this story: Chris Cornillie in Washington at ccornillie@bgov.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Daniel Snyder at dsnyder@bgov.com; Jodie Morris at jmorris@bgov.com

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