TSA Targets Cargo

Government, industry meet to assess the agency's Air Cargo Strategic Plan


Other Concerns, Reactions
Meanwhile, Richard Duncan, director of security for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, raises the concern expressed by others in New Orleans that putting cargo sort operations within the airport operations area (AOA), when it comes to security oversight, is a "major problem" with the NRPM.

Says Duncan, "Name-based checks do little to ensure security." He says a fingerprint-based system needs to be part of the program, one that cross-references known terrorist lists.

Duncan also questions why TSA is considering putting the inside of cargo and sort facilities within the SIDA. "I don't see where it's necessary to put a SIDA inside a building," he says. "Place the SIDA at the rear of the building. I think the TSA got it wrong." He also cautions that TSA should consider allowing more than 90 days to implement this change.

Jack Boisen, vice president of cargo for Continental Airlines, calls the NPRM a "thorough, well-reasoned" proposal. "We do support a fully integrated approach," he says.

Boisen agrees with those who express a concern that TSA is underestimating the overall cost of the proposed cargo security program. "We certainly believe that at least some of the cost estimates by TSA are underestimated," he says.

TSA's Perspective
Pamela Hamilton, who formerly headed up the general aviation security division for TSA, is now the director of aviation initiatives and has been given the air cargo NPRM to oversee. Speaking at New Orleans, Hamilton comments that the NPRM essentially "institutionalizes" programs and practices that have been put in place already. She says that the tone of the comments received regarding the NPRM have been fairly positive. "It's fair to say," she says, "industry believes TSA got it fairly right."
Hamilton says the target date for the final rule is June 30, 2005; however, she cautions that TSA doesn't control its own destiny. Industry, Congress, and other governmental agencies can have an impact on the exact timeline.

"We are well on our way to presenting a layered approach to air cargo security," says Hamilton. "Our objective has to be to eliminate a single point of failure."

Overall, she explains, the goal of the NPRM is two-fold: to prevent the destruction of aircraft; and, to stop stowaways on air cargo aircraft. At the same time, the initiative seeks to encourage the use of new technologies that can enhance and streamline air cargo security, she says.

Among her responsibilities, says Hamilton:

-enhancing the air cargo Known Shipper program;

-creating a program that helps identify elevated risk cargo; and

-identifying technologies that can be used in air cargo inspections.

The Known Shipper program, she says, needs updating and a soon-to-come automated database.

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