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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.
About two months ago, and as one of my first official acts as Secretary of Transportation, I attended a Council Session of the International Civil Aviation Organization called specifically to address the sabotage of Pan Am Flight 103. Reflecting the seriousness with which such criminal acts are viewed, I was joined at that session by nine other ministers responsible for civil aviation as well as 23 additional countries' permanent ICAO representatives. I had the opportunity to speak with each of those ministers in the course of the two-day ICAO meeting and with many of the other senior government officials present, and can assure you that they are willing to join us to do all that is necessary to make international civil aviation secure from terrorist acts.
As a result of that meeting, the 33-member ICAO Council unanimously adopted a resolution setting out a plan of action that, I am confident, will lead to strengthened security procedures throughout the world. Specifically, as a matter of highest priority, ICAO will review existing international
standards applicable to all operations to determine what changes are necessary in light of recent events. It will also consider developing a set of extraordinary measures to put in place when increased threat levels exist. Further, we agreed to expedite research and development on detection of explosives and to explore the possibility of establishing an international regime for the marking of explosives. Thus far, ICAO is moving quickly and over the coming weeks and months, we will be devoting a great deal of attention to ICAO and its security-related work. At the same time, and to make certain we know what all carriers serving the United States are doing to secure their operations against criminal and terrorist acts, last month we amended Federal Aviation Regulation Part 129.25 to require foreign airlines to submit their security plans to the FAA for acceptance. We will use the standards and recommended practices contained in ICAO Annex 17 now, and as it is being improved, as the yardstick against which those plans will be measured. In taking this action, we will be better able to insure that the security precautions followed by foreign airlines serving the United States are adequate to meet the threats ascribed to those operations.
As you know, on April 3 I announced new aviation security initiatives after an intensive internal review of our aviation security system and after meeting with the families of the Pan Am 103 victims up here on Capitol Hill and later in the White House with the President. I consider this the second set of initiatives stemming from the Pan Am 103 tragedy — the first being the set of extraordinary measures imposed on our carriers by the FAA on December 29 of last year, with which you are all familiar.
The initiatives announced in April include:
o Requiring deployment of explosives detection systems such as the Thermal Neutron Analysis (TNA) device at the busiest airports in the U.S. and overseas where U.S. airlines operate. On April 24, I will be going personally to Europe to begin immediately to consult with my foreign counterparts to ensure speedy installation of these systems where they are needed most at foreign airports, and there will be extensive technical discussions before and after that trip.
0 Assigning additional FAA security specialists to provide greater surveillance and assistance to U.S. carriers operating at the busiest airports in the U.S. and overseas.
1 will also be discussing the placement of additional FAA personnel with my counterparts next week.
o Improving the FAA security bulletin process through which important security information is disseminated to the aviation community, in a variety of ways, including:
making compliance by U.S. air carriers with such
requiring acknowledgement of receipt by the carrier
requiring carriers to submit to FAA within 72 hours
ensuring that specific information in security bulletins
o Elevating standards for x-ray and metal detection equipment to assure that U.S. air carriers are using state-of-the-art equipment.
o Forming a National Aviation Security Advisory Committee, chaired by the Director of FAA's Aviation Security Program, to 10
provide a forum for the exchange and coordination of security programs and research and development designed to further enhance aviation security.
o Conducting a top to bottom review and evaluation by FAA of how well U.S. carriers are complying with security requirements. This effort will look at each airline's resources and general philosophy toward security.
o Discussing with foreign governments new procedures for more effective coordination of security information and countermeasures. This coordination effort, along with the deployment overseas of TNA units and additional FAA security specialists, will be the third main topic of discussion during my upcoming trip to Europe, along of course with the need to ensure a successful outcome to ICAO's current efforts.
On a related subject, Mr. Chairman, there has been substantial criticism over the $75,000 limit placed on liability recoveries under the Warsaw Convention of 1929. There is no question that the current $75,000 international limit of liability for passenger deaths or injuries applicable in the United States is far too low. The Senate has before it the Montreal Protocols which propose revisions to the Warsaw Convention (which