Personnel acquiring airport badges must be background checked and vetted. It’s increasingly clear that there is a need for consistency in badging procedures among airports. How personnel obtain security access and identity verification from airport badging offices is scrutinized more and more. It’s a vulnerability that can be addressed with appropriate procedures training.
The initial documents on which an airport relies for issuing badges are called ‘breeder documents’. Items such as birth certificates, passports, drivers’ licenses, and alien registration cards must be checked for authenticity. Recommendations and security directives by TSA are placing increased demand on airport badging staff.
Several airports share common initiatives which were recently published by the ID Badging Best Practices Taskforce set up by the ACI-NA Public Safety and Security committee. These initiatives outline activities that are proving successful for managing vetting, authenticating, and storing identification documents.
If an aviation employee is given access at multiple airports, then each airport must gather and have auditable evidence of the appropriate documentation before a badge is issued. It’s creating consistency in procedures for granting access to airports and ensuring evident vulnerabilities in identity falsification are not exploited.
Technology advancements have, in most cases, kept up with calls for biometric readers, microchip-enabled access methods, or other intelligent means to be used for airport access. There has been increased focus in Congress to require routine searches of airport employees’ bags and other property and to subject employees to various forms to access screening.
Several of the tasks and duties for issuing airport access are training-centric. By emphasizing communication and training we can ensure consistent practices throughout the operation. Here are some of the more prevalent initiatives being initiated ...
Personnel Self-Service. Providing badging information via web pages associated with the badging office, employment opportunities, or business opportunities section of the airport website can provide applicants with instructions and links to appropriate forms. Applicants know what is required when showing up at the badging office.
Tenant-Employer Service. More and more airports allow for tenant-employer representatives to obtain badging application forms and complete the initial process online. Even by providing answers to pre-application questions posed about badging procedures allows tenant-employers to be are able to assist airports in their required procedures.
Airport Staff Service. Staff must visually inspect documents for authenticity and compare photos to the identity document and the applicant. Attention to detail is important. Checking and re-checking for document duplication is advisable.
Work with state highway patrol or federal Customs and Border Protection, or Citizenship and Immigration Services employees to conduct briefings for staff.
Assistance and Training. As a steering committee member of the ACI-NA Public Safety and Security group and an interested participant in the recent ID Badging Taskforce, I’ve heard of the many challenges airports face, which include ensuring having enough staff and being sufficiently trained on changing procedures and regulations.
* * *
Lorena Rodriguez is president of AviaEd/SSi; www.aviaed.net.
Since 2002, less than 1 percent of the uniforms and 1.5 percent of TSA ID cards have been lost. "The TSA does not see any threats or trends associated with lost ID cards or uniforms."