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-2transportation system hostage and threaten the lives of our
To respond to the threat of terrorism, it is the FAA's job to work closely with intelligence agencies to seek to identify what the potential threats against civil aviation are, and then to apply the appropriate tools and techniques necessary to offset the tools and techniques used by those who would thwart the system. It is an ever changing process because, as technology and political
objectives change, so does the threat.
In the early 1970’s, for example, we revolutionized the civil aviation security system by instituting a sky marshal program and by implementing a highly effective passenger screening system designed to stem the wave of hijackings being experienced at that time. But as the level and nature of the threat to the traveling public has varied, so has our response. We have continued to make changes to that system, through heightened expectations of what the system must be able to detect and through improvements to equipment, techniques, and personnel; our recent requirement calling for improved systems for restricting and monitoring access to secured areas on airports is one example of such a change. And
the system has worked remarkably well for over a decade and a half.
In 1985, following the TWA hijacking, Congress, with the strong leadership of this Subcommittee, called on the FAA to initiate a
-3major program to make assessments of the security of foreign airports serving the United States. This new legislative thrust, contained in the International Security and Development Cooperation Act, significantly expanded the FAA's "global" presence in security matters and represented a measured response to a growing international threat against American aviation interests. Additional steps were taken as well at that time to increase funding for FAA security research and development work and to bolster security inspector and Federal Air Marshal staffing within the FAA. Further, the United States worked within the International Civil Aviation Organization to strengthen international security requirements, and the FAA took actions to
enhance security requirements for U.S. carriers operating abroad.
More recently, following the Pan Am tragedy over Scotland, FAA instituted a series of new security measures to tighten U.S. air carrier security requirements at airports in Western Europe and
the Middle East:
o Airlines must now complete loot x-ray or physical inspection
of all checked baggage.
o Passengers may not have access to the contents of checked
baggage following the security inspection.
-4o Airlines must perform a positive match of passenger and baggage to ensure that unaccompanied bags are not loaded onto
o Airlines must take additional measures to preclude unauthorized access to baggage from check-in to loading on
board the aircraft.
o An increased number of passengers is to be randomly selected for enhanced screening. Checked baggage of the persons identified for enhanced screening must be physically
o Small packages and parcels that are shipped through passenger ticket counters must be x-rayed or physically
examined prior to shipment.
These measures exact a cost on our air transportation system and are not lightly taken by the FAA. But we will not hesitate to tilt the balance toward improved security and away from convenience when that is necessary to protect our citizens. Thus far, these measures appear to be working without undue hardship or
inconvenience to air travelers.
We are also continuing our aggressive program of foreign airport
assessments called for in the International Security and
-5Development Cooperation Act. Since the inception of this program in 1986, we have conducted roughly 800 visits to 216 foreign airports in 107 countries. We have been well pleased at the cooperative approach shown generally by host governments, and believe this program has aided in attaining additional security improvements at many foreign airports. The current Act enables us to conduct assessments, provides general guidance concerning the nature of assessments to be conducted, and prescribes a workable and appropriate approach toward public notification of uncorrected problems at foreign airports, all in a manner which highlights the need for a cooperative rather than unilateral approach toward
solving security problems.
We are aware that some have raised the potential need for additional legislative authority in the security area. At this juncture, we have not identified a need for any new legislation dealing with aviation security matters. FAA has substantial existing authority to tailor its requirements to meet new or changed threats, and we would not favor legislation directing specific kinds of security procedures to be followed or which would otherwise-reduce our flexibility to deal with a dynamic issue. Should we determine that additional authority is necessary, we will, of course, seek the assistance of this
Subcommittee in providing such authority.
With regard to our security staffing posture, this fiscal year we
-6are increasing our civil aviation security workforce by an additional 56 personnel, and have requested 120 additional security personnel in our FY 1990 budget, which will bring the total security force to almost 700. These additional employees will facilitate our efforts to respond to the international threat and to continue to improve security here in the United States. The added staffing will enable us to improve the FAA presence in
the most pressing areas of the world.
We are accelerating the delivery schedule of the thermal neutron analysis (TNA) units we have ordered for bomb detection. This remarkable system is the result of three years of FAA-directed research on an explosive detection system developed to detect all commercial and military explosives which might be concealed in checked baggage and air cargo.
Prototype TNA systems have already been tested at the Los Angeles and San Francisco Airports during June 1987-March 1988. One of the systems was electronic-based; the other was a radioactive element referred to as "CF" (Californium-based). Six CF-based TNA units will be delivered and in operation during the June 1989 to January 1990 time frame, six months ahead of schedule. We believe this unit shows great promise for operating effectively in screening passenger luggage. Our experience examining over 30,000
bags using thermal neutron analysis demonstrated that it could