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-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 l.20 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
-7screen baggage with a high success rate (95%) and a low false alarm rate (4%). 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 1%--but the time to test each passenger was about 30 seconds. 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.
-8All 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 l'7 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 lo3. 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
-9that, we are confident, will lead to strengthened security procedures throughout the world. 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, participants at the Council 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.
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’ behalf. 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 needs. Further, he made the decision to amend Federal Aviation Regulation l29.25 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