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screen baggage with a high success rate (95%) and a low false alarm rate (48). I should add that the high success rate was
attained finding minimal quantities of explosives, and would be
higher with larger amounts of explosive material.
I would further
note that the radioactive elements of the TNA system are well
within prescribed safety levels and pose no threat to system
operators or passengers.
As announced last week by Secretary
Skinner, the first TNA system will be deployed at New York's
Kennedy International Airport.
Research is also underway on an explosive vapor detection system for checking people for explosives. Last October at Boston Logan Airport, we tested a prototype walk-up explosive detection booth designed to detect the entire spectrum of explosives which may be carried by a saboteur. The false alarm rate was exceptionally low--less than 18--but the time to test each passenger was about
The manufacturer is working now on reducing that time
frame to about 6 seconds per passenger.
We hope to have the
improved device available for testing next year.
We also are continuing work to develop improved weapons detection capabilities, including efforts for the detection of plastic weapons, and are conducting an evaluation of state-of-the-art detection equipment which is commercially available. Further, we
continue to solicit new ideas from the scientific and academic
community with a view toward identifying and developing additional
tools that will enhance security.
All of these efforts are important to improving civil aviation security, and they will continue. Additionally, though, we must
continue to work in the international arena to develop an
international approach to end terrorism in the skies.
As you are
aware, the International civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) already has in place a set of security standards and recommended practices, incorporated into Annex 17 to the Chicago Convention. One hundred fifty-nine countries have acceded to that convention. We believe the measures set out in Annex 17 are fundamentally sound, but, like our own security measures, they must periodically
be reviewed and updated.
Last month, Secretary Skinner attended a Council Session of ICAO
called specifically to address the sabotage of Pan Am Flight 103. Nine other ministers responsible for civil aviation and 23 additional countries' permanent ICAO representatives participated as well. Secretary Skinner spoke with each of those ministers during the two-day ICAO meeting and with many of the other senior government officials present. They made it clear to Secretary Skinner that they are willing to join us to do all that is
necessary to make international civil aviation secure from
As a result of that meeting, the 33-member ICAO Council unanimously adopted a resolution setting out a plan of action
that, we are confident, will lead to strengthened security
to explore the possibility of establishing an international regime
Secretary Skinner has sparked other initiatives as well. He has met with the heads of all of the major u.s.-flag international carriers to discuss security issues, and listened to the proposals put forth by the Air Transport Association on the airlines'
He has formed a special team in the Department to develop
and evaluate a full range of concepts on how we and the rest of
the international aviation community can make the skies safer and
more secure, and he has made clear that, if we find that the
Department's existing programs need to be augmented, he will not
hesitate to reprogram funds to ensure that we can meet those
Further, he made the decision to amend Federal Aviation
Regulation 129.25 to require foreign airlines to submit their
security plans to the FAA for approval.
We will use the standards
and recommended practices contained in ICAO Annex 17 as the
yardstick against which those plans will be measured.
enable us to better ensure that the security precautions followed by foreign airlines serving the United States are adequate to meet the threats ascribed to those operations.
In closing, Mr. Chairman, I would like to emphasize the strength of our commitment to stop the threat of criminal actions directed
against civil aviation. It is a difficult challenge, but one that we must meet. We thank this Subcommittee for its longstanding support of the FAA's aviation security efforts, and we look
forward to continuing our work with you on these key issues which are so important to the traveling public.
That completes my prepared statement, Mr. Chairman. I would be pleased to respond to any questions you may have at this time.