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ing, that the bulk of it ought to be assigned to the high risk areas of the world where the problem is most severe.
It is my estimate that at the present time probably less than ten percent of that staffing is permanently assigned to those high risk locations. There may be portions of that staff who visit those areas periodically, but to us that is not the same, it does not fulfill the same need as permanent assignments to assist U.S. carriers and to work hand in hand with host governments to ensure adequate security.
In addition, we feel that the government help should be in the form of providing the explosive detection equipment necessary to detect bombs and explosive devices that may be intended for U.S. air carriers. Specifically, the thermal neutron analysis units, as well as promising vapor detection equipment, we believe should be made available by the U.S. government for use by air carriers to defend against this threat.
We think this is appropriate because, as I have said, the threat is one intended to impact on government, and the equipment that is becoming available is the result of a long-term government R&D program. We believe it is appropriate that the government follow through and make the first inventory of that equipment available to the carriers to carry out their security responsibilities, not unlike at all what the government did in the early 1970's when the government financed the first equipment to detect weapons at U.S. airports to combat the hijacking threat.
We have two other recommendations in our statement, and that was that the U.S. government continue efforts to strengthen the international standards and recommended practices on security that are promulgated by the International Civil Aviation Organization. Much progress has been made in that regard, but more is needed.
We specifically believe that ICAO ought to be authorized to perform a mission that extends beyond the mere promulgation of standards and recommended practices, to do two things: One, to evaluate the effectiveness of those standards in the first instance; and second, the extent or the method by which the member states apply those standards.
And then more importantly perhaps, give ICAO the authority to take action to impose sanctions or otherwise serve notice on states that fail to live up to their obligations with respect to the standards.
I think, sir, that sort of summarizes our statement. I would be happy to answer any questions as time permits. Thank you. [The statement and questions and answers follow:]
Statement Of Richard F. Lally, Assistant Vice President For Security, Air Transport Association Of America
Good morning. My name is Richard F. Lally, I am assistant vice president for security, of the air transport association of America. I welcome this opportunity to discuss with the subcommittee the critical need to expend more effort in responding to terrorist threats of sabotage against international civil aviation.
The bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 was a painful reminder of the vulnerability of a free society to terrorist attacks. The U.S. airlines with service overseas have had extraordinary security measures in effect for the past three years at 45 high risk airports, most of which are located in Europe and the Middle East. Yet, despite those efforts, someone, or some group, succeeded in sabotaging Flight 103 and tragically ending the lives of 270 people.
We have redoubled our efforts in the wake of that crash, instituting even tighter screening procedures for international flights than we had before the crash. But the security challenge we face today is formidable, and the airlines cannot meet that challenge alone. They are commercial enterprises, not intelligence agencies. They rely on their Government, and allied governments, to help track and assess the many security threats made against commercial airlines each year. And they very much need Govenment's help, including the direct assistance of Federal Aviation Administration security professionals, to provide adequate security in high risk areas of the world.
The nature of the security threat we face today is far different (and far more dangerous) from what it was in the early seventies when we first began screening passengers and their carry-on baggage. Back then, hijacking was the primary threat. Now, it is sabotage by international terrorists seeking to influence the behavior of governments through acts of violence against commercial aviation. Modification of government policy is their real goal, commercial aviation merely the surrogate target. The attack on PA-103 was not aimed at any of the passengers or crew, or at the airline itself. Clearly the terrorists' target was the U.S. Government.
Meeting this new threat requires greater government involvement in airline security. The U.S. Government must go beyond its traditional regulatory role and become a direct participant and an active partner of the airlines in security.
I have four specific recommendations to offer here today. In making these recommendations, I do not mean to suggest it is solely the Government's responsibility to^y improve security. The airlines must do their part and I assure you they will.
My first recommendation is that the FAA should concentrate its own security resources where they are needed most. Congress substantially increased FAA's budget for security following the terrorist hijacking of a TWA jetliner in the Mediterranean three and a half years ago. FAA subsequently hired more air marshals and security inspectors, thereby doubling the size of its security workforce. Moreover, FAA's 1990 budget calls for about 120 additional security experts which will raise their security workforce to above the 600 level.
Secretary Skinner announced April 3rd that additional FAA security specialists will be redeployed to selected U.S. and overseas airports. These moves must be in sufficient numbers and immediate, with the clear understanding that the experts are to work with foreign governments and provide continuing assistance to U.S. airlines to assure the adequacy of U.S. airline security programs. The FAA security specialists should be assigned to airports where the threat of terrorism is greatest— specifically to Europe, the Middle East and the Far East. Although about 90 percent of today's terrorism threat is concentrated in those areas, less than 10 percent of FAA's security work force is assigned to those locations.
I am not suggesting that the FAA abandon its security responsibilities at domestic airports but I am suggesting that it must assign more of its security people to ground duties in support or airline security activities at high risk airports overseas.
My second security related recommendation is that the Government must speed the development and availability of emerging new technologies that detect hidden explosives. FAA has had promising results in recent tests of equipment designed to detect vapors emitted by explosives. It also has achieved significant breakthroughs in the development of thermal neutron analysis, a process which bombards baggage and cargo with neutrons and that appears capable of detecting all known explosives in the quantities necessary to bring down a commercial aircraft.
FAA recently announced it will buy six thermal neutron machines this year and will do all that it can to bring this new technology on line quickly. Secretary Skinner's April 3 announcement advised that airlines will be required to install as many
as 100 explosive detection systems such as TNA units at major U.S. and foreign airports as soon as they are available. These are the first approved explosive detection techniques to emerge from a 15 year FAA research and development program. They are good first steps. The equipment should be installed on a priority basis at high threat foreign airports where the threat is greatest. Fortunately, today's threat does /»ot require their installation at U.S. airports in our opinion.
I The FAA should accelerate this R&D effort to push the state-of-the-art and expe- j cute the availability of-the very best tools to meet the urgent and severe threat of international terrorism Jn addition, the Government should fund the first industry buy of explosives detection equipment. FAA provided funds to the airlines in the
, early seventies to speed the deployment of effective metal detectors at U.S. airports.
L-Government financing now is even more appropriate, and urgently needed, in meeting today's far more dangerous threat of terrorisntrj
ATA has developed a preliminary estimate of the explosives detection equipment requirements to support U.S. airline operations at high-threat foreign airports as well as a preliminary estimate of the costs involved. A detailed breakdown of these estimates is attached to this statement.
In summary, our preliminary estimate is that 66 thermal neutron analysis units and 171 vapor detection units are needed to meet the security requirements of eight U.S. airlines at 45 high threat airports in Europe, the Middle East and the Far East. Costs are estimated at $49,500,000 for the thermal neutron analysis units and $17,100,000 for the vapor detection units, for a total preliminary cost estimate of
We believe that Federal funding for this equipment is justified and warranted. It will be consistent with the Government's obligation to maintain public safety and protect it's citizens from criminal attacks, especially when those attacks are committed by international terrorists whose real targets are U.S. Government institutions and policies.
My third recommendation is that the United States accelerate efforts to strengthen international agreements on airline and airport security. The International Civil Aviation Organization has made considerable progress in that direction in recent years, but more needs to be done. ICAO should lay out tougher security standards and recommended practices for all nations.
It should be given the resources it needs to evaluate security programs around the world and the authority to impose sanctions against nations that fail to live up to established standards. The special ICAO council meeting convened last month at the request of the U.S. and U.K. Governments was a good first step in that direction.
While I am on the subject of international agreements, I would also like to urge prompt consideration by the U.S. Senate of the Montreal protocols. That agreement, together with a supplemental compensation plan meeting criteria specified by the executive branch, will assure swift, fair and full compensation for damages suffered by innocent victims of terrorist attacks on commercial aviation. Under the current regime, established by the Warsaw Convention, claimants face years of costly and agonizing litigation when attempting to break treaty-imposed limits of liability.
My fourth and final recommendation is one that will help ensure U.S. travelers the protection they deserve until the tough international standards I just mentioned are in place. It is that FAA impose the same security requirements on foreign carriers serving the United States as it imposes on U.S. carriers. On December 29, 1988, FAA mandated heightened security measures for U.S. airlines serving Western Europe, the Middle East and the Far East. Those same security steps were not required of foreign air carriers serving the U.S. from the same high-threat airports. We believe it is imperative that FAA impose the same heightened security measures on foreign carriers serving the U.S. that they imposed on U.S. carriers in the wake of the Pan Am crash.
The fact that foreign carriers do not operate under the same security rules is, I think, an obvious flaw in FAA's current security program. Some 50 percent of U.S. citizens traveling abroad fly with foreign carriers, so beefing up security only for U.S. carriers would be like having police patrols only on odd numbered streets. U.S. carriers fully support the additional security measures ordered by the FAA following the Flight 103 tragedy. But if the United States Government is serious about the safety of American travelers it must impose the same requirements on foreign airlines serving the U.S. from the same high-risk threat foreign airports.
An objective analysis of the incidents in which explosions have occurred onboard civil aviation aircraft since 1983 confirms that all of civil aviation—that is, airlines of all flags, not just the U.S. flag—are the target. 573 of the deaths resulting from these bombs stemmed from devices placed aboard airlines of other nationalities, whereas 274 deaths (including the 11 victims on the ground in Scotland) involved U.S. flag aircraft. Further underscoring this point is the fact that last year there were only 2 U.S. airline hijackings—the lowest annual total since 1973—compared to 13 hijackings on foreign air carriers during that same year.
I should note that former FAA administrator McArtor wrote to his counterparts in Europe, the Middle East and the Far East urging tighter security measures. That was a step in the right direction, but it does not go far enough. Foreign airlines with service to the United States should be legally bound to comply with U.S. security regulations.
Let me mention some of the things the U.S. carriers are doing on their own to address the need for improved security. Several weeks prior to the Pan Am explosion over Scotland the members of ATA launched an ambitious review of security that involves an in-depth look at six key elements: Screener qualifications, screener training, screener pay and benefits, new technology, management involvement in
security and airline security testing programs. ATA subsequently asked outside consultants to bid on the development of a model training program for the industry, and we expect to award a contract shortly.
This kind of review, by the way, is not unique. The airlines continually reassess the nature of the threat they face and the effectiveness of their security programs. They take security seriously, and I think that is reflected in the record. In the 15 years since passenger screening began there has been only one U.S. hijacking of a major airliner involving a real firearm smuggled through the screening system. The U.S. airlines screened more than 1 billion people last year, four times the U.S. population, and the system detected some 3,000 firearms leading to the arrests of about 1,500 people^By FAA estimates, 118 hijackings have been prevented since passenger screening became mandatory, j
In other words, the passenger screening system in place at U.S. airports today is working well. It is accomplishing what it was designed to do, which was to prevent hijackings.
However, meeting the new threat of international terrorism clearly requires new strategies—strategies calling for greater government involvement in airline security and greater focus on airports and airline operations overseas. Government must share the burden of security rather than push it off entirely on the airlines. It must help the airlines shore up their defenses. If we can get that kind of help, and if government can target its resources where the threat is greatest, I think we can go a long way toward shielding travelers against the scourge of terrorism in the years ahead.
Thank you for your attention.
[The following information was subsequently received for the record:]
Questions Of Senator Ford And The Answers
Question 1. You stated that you do not think that the TNA explosive detection devices will be needed at U.S. airports. Why wouldn't there be an equal threat to U.S. air travelers leaving international gateway airports in this country?
Answer 1. I believe the consensus among industry and government security professionals is that the level of threat in the U.S. does not warrant application of the more stringent security measures, including use of TNAs, that are needed at highthreat foreign airports.
Question 2. Increasingly, security experts point to the low-paid screening personnel as a weak link in our airport security process. These individuals are, for the most part, paid by the airlines. What is the airline industry doing to ensure that these people are trained and remain motivated during their job? Is there any need for a larger Federal role in this area?
Answer 2. The airlines have underway a comprehensive initiative to improve the quality of the passenger screening process. Accordingly, a larger Federal role in this area is not believed necessary at this time. Key elements of the industry effort include:
Employment Qualification Standards.
Questions Of Senator Mccain And The Answers
Question 1. Mr. Lally, do you share Mr. Kutchins concerns over the access rule, particularly in the area of compatibility?
Answer 1. Yes, I do share the concerns expressed by Mr. Kutchins with respect to the access rule. The question of compatibility among airports and between airports and airlines is one that deserves serious and thorough consideration. This needs to be done as soon as possible because major airports must soon submit plans to FAA for implementation of the access control rule. The compatibility issue should be resolved before the potential approval of airport plans involving different technologies, media, etc.; otherwise, options will be foreclosed and the opportunity will be lost.
JQuestion 2. Mr. Lally, what is the view of your members towards instituting the soed EL AL screening procedures?
Answer 2. Because of differences in operating and service characteristics, the precise El Al security screening procedures are not directly transferable to U.S. airlines. For example, compared to U.S. airlines El Al has relatively few aircraft that serve a limited passenger clientele at only a few dozen locations. However, concepts of the El Al system do have application and a number of U.S. airlines have adapted those concepts to their operations at foreign airports.
Senator Ford. Thank you very much.
I believe we will go to Mr. Kutchins and then I will have some questions for both of you. And if you proceed then, we will try to expedite this hearing.
STATEMENT OF MICHAEL J. KUTCHINS, DIRECTOR OF AVIATION, CITY OF SAN ANTONIO, TX, PAST PRESIDENT, AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF AIRPORT EXECUTIVES
Mr. Kutchins. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
My name is Michael Kutchins. I am the Director of Aviation for the City of San Antonio, Texas, and a Past President of the American Association of Airport Executives. On behalf of the AAAE board and its members, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to testify this morning.
AAAE is the largest professional organization for airport executives in the country. It represents more than 1,400 airport management personnel at some 650 U.S. airports. Our membership is neither big airport nor small airport oriented, since it includes representation from the largest and the smallest airports in the country which serve all segments of the aviation public.
Mr. Chairman, we commend you and your colleagues for holding this hearing. The Pan Am tragedy deserves the attention of the Congress, the Administration, and the entire aviation industry. Safe and secure transport of air travelers must be the top priority. To do less is clearly unacceptable.
AAAE also commends Transportation Secretary Skinner for his recent announcements to enhance the effectiveness of aviation security measures at home and abroad. We also applaud Ray Salazar and his staff for their important contributions to improving security. While we may not agree with FAA all the time, Ray and his people are always willing to listen to our concerns.
When our aviation security system works as it should, very little attention is paid by the media and the general public. Indeed, those that are visible to the public are often regarded as an inconvenience. But in the rare instance when security is breached, the socalled security experts emerge to criticize the system.
It is virtually impossible to perceive and to prevent every threat. If someone is intent on violating security procedures, he or she will find a way to succeed. It is impossible to design an air transportation system capable of processing more than 450 million passengers a year, let alone the visitors who accompany them to the airport, and give 100 percent assurance that nothing will ever happen.
What we must do is design and implement procedures and systems to meet the challenge. The Federal government must take a proactive approach to designing systems to solve security problems, including a major and aggressive research and development program.