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QUESTION 1. Has the FAA imposed the same requirements for
screening passengers and checked baggage on foreign carriers serving this country as those currently in place for U.S. airlines? If not, why not?
I recognize the challenge faced by the United States air carriers, particularly as they attempt to implement necessary security requirements in a highly competitive environment. The Federal Aviation Administration has not to date imposed the same requirements on U.S. and foreign air carriers, however, and I do not believe that the United States should now unilaterally impose on foreign airlines the requirement to follow the same extraordinary measures recently imposed on our carriers. We coordinate closely with our aviation trading partners to make certain that the security precautions followed by their airlines and at their airports are adequate to deter and deflect criminal acts. Part 129 now requires foreign airlines serving the United States to submit their security plans to the FAA for acceptance. This will make it possible to better insure that the security measures implemented by foreign airlines are adequate to meet the threat that is ascribed to their operations.
It has always been our position that aviation security is a global problem, not unique to us. While U.S. civil aviation has been a major target, the number of nations subjected to sabotage and terrorism is large, and each one is vulnerable to actions by their own specific enemies and dissident groups. We view our work with these countries, both in the context of our bilateral agreements with them and through ICAO and other bodies, to be of utmost importance in achieving the highest and most effective international standards possible. We have initiated discussions with these nations regarding improved standards, both in Annex 17 and otherwise, so that we can collectively respond to the level of risk and the terrorism threat on a worldwide basis. It is only through such cooperative efforts that we can succeed in effectively combatting the terrorist threat.
QUESTION 2: In July 1987, the DOT Safety Review Task Force on aviation security recommended that the FAA develop extensive employment qualification standards for screening personnel, as well as more extensive standards for the approval of airline screening training programs. What has been the FAA response to these recommendations?
The Federal Aviation Administration is working closely with the Air Transport Association (ATA) of America to develop both employment qualification standards and training standards for screening personnel. The air carriers, acting through the ATA, are particularly interested in participating in the development of these standards since they are, by regulation, responsible for adequate passenger screening. The FAA will incorporate the best features of these standards into amendments to the air carriers' approved security programs as soon as possible. In addition, the FAA has recently completed work to revise, expand, and update its training resources made available to the carriers.
QUESTION 3: The DOT Task Force also recommended that the FAA
establish a time frame when older equipment must be removed from service. Is this a part of your announcement that all x-ray and metal detectors be
state-of-the-art? If so, when will that retirement date be?
In response to increased sophistication of the terrorist and hijack threat as well as the evolution in the quality of metal detectors and security x-ray systems, the FAA has committed to revising its standards and systematically upgrading the quality of security screening equipment. The proposed change to the security program, including an implementation schedule, is currently being developed.
Security R&D Budget
QUESTION 4: It is my understanding that the FAA research and development budget for airport security is only 5 percent of the total R&D budget — or some $9 million. Is that sufficient to accomplish all the work that is needed for enhanced security?
Yes, the aviation security R&D program is adequately funded. The need for improvements in security systems is balanced against other safety and capacity requirements of the industry. Over half of the aviation security budget is dedicated to explosives detection, looking at both mature and new technologies. The remainder is divided between concourse security, the detection of portable hijack weapons, and systems integration which deals with physical security at the airport.
FAA Security Bulletins
QUESTION 5: Last week, you announced a revamping of the manner in which FAA security bulletins will be handled. In your view, does the FAA have adequate resources to effectively analyze and disseminate information on security notifications in a timely fashion?
We have requested for the civil aviation security program an additional 120 positions for FY 1990. These additional resources will greatly enhance our capabilities across the board, including our ability to effectively implement and manager our security notification system.
QUESTION 6: There has been a great deal of concern about the posting of a particular FAA security bulletin at the U.S. embassy in Moscow prior to the Pan Am 103 incident. What is the purpose of sending FAA security bulletins to U.S. embassies?
Diplomatic posts should be informed of information which is being given to FAA officials and U.S. carrier representatives in the post's country and/or consular district. Since the contents of these bulletins may come to the attention of airport or host government officials through airline security channels, it is important that officers at the post who deal with these matters be in a position to respond to inquiries from foreign officials. Posts receive these bulletins not as travel advisories, but as information necessary to assist them in their official responsibilities.
Security Access Door Rule
QUESTION 7: Last year, the leadership of this Committee wrote
to former Secretary Burnley expressing our concerns
There have been numerous meetings with affected parties to examine the feasibility of the rule, in addition to the analyses of the comments received during the rulemaking process. Also, FAA has held almost weekly discussions with its field elements to review their work with individuals and local airports, to resolve the problems, real or surmised, that they have encountered. The solutions to those problems have been recorded and furnished to the airport operator groups. FAA will continue to work with those organizations to ensure that the requirements are met in the most effective and efficient manner possible.
QUESTION 8: Airport operators have stated that the access control rule substantially underestimates the number of doors to be secured, and ignores the need to secure cargo facilities and general aviation facilities, nor does it consider requirements for structural modifications such as wiring, conduit and new door frames to accommodate automated systems, perimeter fencing, and asbestos abatement in older buildings. How does the FAA proposes all of these additional costs, which are, in effect, required by the rule, are to be met?
The FAA's estimates of design, testing, hardware, installation, maintenance etc., were based on price quotes of manufacturers of computer card access systems. Although no such estimate can be precise with regard to a specific location, the aggregate is considered to reasonably approximate the average costs to the airport operators.
QUESTION 9: It is my understanding that the initial
computerized access rule proposal mandated that only the doors in the terminal be linked up with the computerized access system. Is it logical to now mandate in the final rule that a fixed-base operator, or an air cargo carrier,, or even the National Guard be required to install such a computerized system?
First, the rule does not require that a computerized system be used necessarily. To the contrary, it specifically notes that operators of smaller airports may be able to meet the requirements of the rule with minimal or no computer-assisted hardware installation. The FAA has provided airport operators with a draft Advisory Circular that helps to clarify the intent of the final rule. That circular specifically addresses this question.
QUESTION 1: Following up on your response to my question at the April 13, 1989, hearing, testimony has been given to the House Public Works and Transportation Aviation Subcommittee that in order to deliver a maximum of 100 TNA units in 1990, a commitment must be made by June of this year for the purchase. A six week window exists if your announced schedule is to be met. How do you plan to fulfill your pledge and meet the deadline?
The FAA is expected to prepare a proposed rule by mid-June which would require the air carriers to deploy explosives detection systems as expeditiously as possible. Procurement of the system by the air carriers would begin when the rule is adopted but, in the interim, carriers can announce their intention to invest in TNA.
QUESTION 2: What is the priority of where — domestic and/or international airports — to place the TNA units when they become available and how was the priority established?
The TNA units would be placed at both domestic and foreign airports where U.S. air carriers operate. Priority would be given to the higher-activity airports overseas and to major international airports in the United States. Cooperation of local authorities in authorizing installations at foreign airports would also be a factor. It would, of course, be inadvisable to be too specific in specifying the exact criteria for placement, because of the information this would provide about security assessment methodology.